Should you be aiming for the Featured Snippet spot on Google?

Featured Snippets are selected search results that are featured on top of Google Search Result Page (SERP), with the aim to answer the user’s question right away. There’s three major types: paragraph, table and list.

Here’s an example of paragraph snippet with images:

An example of a post from xomisse.com as the Featured Snippet on Google
Google Featured Snippet Example

As you can see the Featured Snippet take up more space than normal links, but do they drive more clicks? Let’s see what the experts say…

Q. Why would I want my content to appear as a Featured Snippet on Google? Doesn’t that mean less click-throughs?

A study done by Ahrefs found that Featured Snippets reduce the overall number of clicks. Which makes sense as the goal of these Featured Snippets is to give the user an instant answer to their question.

When there’s a Featured Snippet at the #1 position, it only gets 8.6% of clicks (on average), while the page that ranks right below it will get 19.6% of clicks (on average). How does it compare to a regular #1 ranking page with no Featured Snippet above it? That page will get 26% of all clicks.​​

– Ahrefs​
Results from the Ahrefs study

In January 2020 Google announced that they would no longer repeat the listing in the search results if the URL had made it to a Featured Snippet. Did this change things?

Moz was next to do an experiment and found that by opting out of Featured Snippets they noticed a 12% drop in their traffic despite them being right below it in the #2 position.

In this example, Moz lost the Featured Snippet almost immediately. The snippet was instead awarded to ContentKing and Moz returned to the top “natural” position. In this experiment, owning the featured snippet and not ranking in the top results provides more value to these pages in terms of clicks than not owning the featured snippet and ranking in the top results.​​

– Moz

They concluded that winning the Featured Snippet spot was likely a smart strategy and typically in your best interest.

Sistrix also did a study where they analyzed over 80 million keywords and billions of search results to understand clickrates and how users engage with SERPs.

As you can see in the image below, they found that 28.5% of Google users click the #1 organic result. The average click-through rate (CTR) falls to 15.7% for the #2 position and 11% for the #3 position. With the #10 position only having a 2.5% click-through rate.

When a SERP had a Featured Snippet, they found that the Featured Snippet site got 23.3% of the traffic.

While the site at position #2 got 20.5% and position #3 got 13.3% of the traffic, which are both higher than the average CTR.

They concluded that users search intention determines the SERP layout, and the SERP layout determines how many potential clicks an organic result can get for that keyword.

Conclusion

We are all aiming for the #1 spot on Google right? And yes, it’s better to rank #1 and get the most traffic. But in my opinion the Featured Snippet spot is still a goal.

Here’s why – it’s easier to get a Featured Snippet spot by optimising your content, than it is to rank #1.

And if you’re already ranking between #4 and #10, then based on the data above you will likely see an increase in traffic from getting that Featured Snippet spot.

So how do you aim for a Featured Snippet? Look for posts that you already rank in the top 10 for. You can then optimise the content and answer any related questions your audience might have about the topic.

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