Featured snippets are a type of enhanced SERP feature showing additional items within Google’s search results pages that display content from a website that is deemed relevant for the search query in a prominent position within the results. There are several different types of content that can appear within featured snippets, which are covered within our SEO Office Hours notes and round-up of key takeaways below, along with best practice recommendations from Google for achieving them.
To learn more about search engines, read our introductory guide: How Do Search Engines Work?
FAQ schema can be used on select questions
It’s possible to pick and choose which elements on a page to markup with structured data / schema. For example, not every question on an FAQ page needs to be marked up with schema if you see no value in doing so. (John does mention later on that for FAQ schema to be valid, the question must be visible on the page.)
FAQ Content Should be Specific to Each Page
Content you provide in an FAQs section should be specific to each individual page and not copied across multiple pages.
There is No Change to the Position Shown For URLs in Featured Snippets within GSC
GSC uses the top-most position of a URL to show as the average in the Performance reports. This hasn’t changed despite the update to how featured snippets are displayed, so if your page is shown in a featured snippet, the position shown will remain the same. However, if you no longer have the featured snippet then the position of the traditional search result will be used instead.
New Snippet Robots Meta Tags Aren’t Essential
You don’t have to implement the new snippet meta tags to appear in search results and in rich results. They are optional, and can be used to set things like maximum character counts, the size of image previews, and the length of video previews. John recommends using these tags only if you want to change the way your snippets are currently shown in search.
Using The Data No Snippet Tag Will Not Affect Rankings for Content
The data no snippet tag lets you specify which parts of the content you don’t want to have shown in a search results description and applies to all places results will be shown. This will not affect the ranking for the content, just what is shown within search result previews.
Make Sure You Are Not Blocking Featured Snippet Results with the Meta Max Snippet Tag
If you want your page to appear as a featured snippet, but you set your max snippet length to one character, it is likely this will not be shown as a featured snippet.
Meta Robots Max Snippet Also Applies to Featured Snippet Length
The meta robots max snippet tag is used to tell Google how many characters a normal text snippet should be and applies regardless of where it is shown i.e in a featured snippet or a typical link result. One exception John mentioned is that if you are using structured data to trigger a specific rich result type then it would not apply.
Featured Snippets Can be Switched Quickly After Migration if Site Structure is Consistent
If Google is able to clearly see that a site has moved, all the associated signals and features such as featured snippets and knowledge panels will be moved across to the new domain as long as the site structure and internal linking remains consistent.
Featured Snippets & SERP Results Drive Higher Value, Lower Funnel Traffic to Businesses
John explained that the reduction of organic traffic from SERPs over time is a natural progression as search engines work to better match intent on the SERPs. This can help drive leads straight to your business (e.g. via contact details) rather than going through your website in a more generic sense. Learn more about enhanced SERP features.
Check Videos Can Be Shown in Featured Snippets by Checking Video SERPs
If Google can index and show the right details and thumbnail for your video in the video search results, then this means it is able to show your videos in featured snippets too. (Learn more about enhanced SERP features here.)