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Google’s featured snippets are powerful weapons in the arsenal of anyone who’s trying to be discovered online. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of featured snippets, here’s the information you need to start optimizing your online content.

What Are Google’s Featured Snippets?

Simply put — featured snippets are quick answers to questions that users type into the Google search box. These snippets appear at the top of the page during search to give users the quickest, most convenient answer to the question at hand. Nobody really knows how Google decides which content to feature in their snippets, other than that it’s typically spot-on. Snippets are excerpts from websites, and they’re fully clickable so users can click through to get more information if they need it.

This is good news for web masters who end up featured in Google’s snippet because it has the potential of driving traffic to the site every time it appears at the top of search.

Convenient But Not Infallible

In the past, information that Google returned via snippet could be outdated or even questionable. Featured information answered the inquiry, but it wasn’t necessarily drawn from the freshest, most reliable sources. This was a problem that Google understood but was somewhat helpless to fix due to the vastness of search. That’s why they added a feedback toggle at the bottom of each snippet and asked that users report any old or questionable information that came back via snippet.

Vastly Improved

Today, the Google featured snippet has vastly improved. Recent algorithm changes make it easier for Google to ascertain which queries rely on fresh information to be answered properly. For instance, a search term such as “Who was Jayne Mansfield?” might be best answered using older, archived information. However, a search for “meteor shower dates” alerts Google that the latest information available is the best answer. Such a query features a snippet that lists the dates of this year’s meteor showers.

But the improvements are not all about timeliness. Google now strives not to return results from sites that are hate-based, violent, sexually explicit, harmful or dangerous or that lack consensus among public-issue topics. This means users shouldn’t see featured snippet results from websites that are strongly biased or that feature content that’s against the popular consensus. Users can still access this type of content, but it won’t be included in Google featured snippets.

Infinitely Powerful

There’s no question that Google featured snippets drive traffic to the websites they highlight, though Google keeps exact statistics close. There are tactics that web masters can use, however, to increase their chances of being included in these powerhouses of exposure:

  1. Produce quality content.
  2. Research and use the right keywords for your niche.
  3. Consider using short paragraphs, bulleted lists, tables and images in your posts.

Increased traffic is the ultimate goal for anyone who wants to build their online business, because without traffic, there’s no opportunity for conversion. Learn more about Google feature snippets to bring your online presence to the forefront of search results.