They appear as an inverted content snippet, with the answer first, followed by the page title, and finally the url, sometimes with an accompanying image or video, but always with a keyline around it.
This coveted, prominent position – usually below the paid results – attracts a large proportion of clicks on the page – but not as many as the first position, according to a recent study by ahrefs. Featured snippets – aka position zero – tend to appear for queries that are questions (in fact they appear for 12.29% of all queries according to the same study cited earlier), and take three formats; paragraphs (above), lists and tables (below).
They have become even more desirable since they are the only result provided for a voice search.
So how do you go about ranking for featured snippets? First you need to have a piece of content that ranks on the first page, as that’s where 99.58% of all featured snippets are pulled from (thanks again ahrefs!). Then you simply have to answer the question better than the content that already ranks does. As well as providing the best answer, it has to be formatted in such a way that the search engine – it’s not just Google that have this feature – can pull the answer easily into the snippet.
Google have published some information about featured snippets on their blog – but they don’t provide guidelines to publishers about how best to format their content to earn a featured snippet.
Digital Davidson, as part of their monthly SEO retainers, and through their gold maintenance package, provide their clients with regular updates on the featured snippets positions they occupy, highlight opportunities available to them and advise how to earn them.