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What We Learned From Analyzing 1.4 Million Featured Snippets

What you must learn about featured snippets

Not too long ago my company Ghergich & Co. teamed up with SEMrush to conduct an in-depth research on featured snippets. SEMrush generously compiled and shared 1,four hundred,000 featured snippets from their database for us to research.

What makes this examine totally different?

Our examine targeted on 30 questions, prepositions, and comparability search phrases as an alternative of a random set of key phrases.

Anecdotally, many different SEOs and I noticed that pages that reply questions — comparable to who, what, when, the place, and the way — are typically nice at incomes featured snippets.

Our objective was to see if our “intestine emotions” have been backed by information. Typically they had been, however with a number of shocking caveats. Let’s dive into the findings.

Featured snippet questions

Featured snippet questions: who, what, where, when, are, will, etc.

Group findings

  • The questions group as an entire is improbable at incomes featured snippets, particularly paragraph snippets.
  • “How” (forty six.ninety one%) and “Have” (17.seventy one%) considerably outperformed the opposite questions when it got here to incomes lists.
  • “Which” (sixteen.20%) was the highest performer by a large margin for incomes tables.

Breakdown of featured snippet questions:

Breakdown of featured snippet questions: what percentage earned paragraph, table, or list snippets?

Featured snippet prepositions

Featured snippet prepositions: For, like, to, with, without

Group findings

  • The prepositions group, as an entire, earned lists on the highest charge of any group.
  • “For” (eleven.38%) was greatest at incomes desk snippets.
  • “Like” (ninety four.09%) was the perfect at incomes paragraph snippets.

Breakdown of featured snippet prepositions

Breakdown of featured snippet prepositions: what percentage earned tables, lists, or paragraphs?

Featured snippet comparisons

Featured snippet comparisons: compare, comparison, compared, comparing, price, pricing, priced, versus, vs

Group findings

  • The comparability group as a complete excelled at incomes tables.
  • “Worth” (38.fifty six%) key phrases earned tables at greater than double the speed every other key phrase within the group.
  • Our “search engine marketing intestine” advised us “vs” and “versus” key phrases would rock at incomes tables. Our intestine was incorrect. As a substitute, they had been unbelievable at incomes paragraph snippets (ninety nine%).

Breakdown of featured snippet comparisons

Breakdown of featured snippet comparisons: what earned the highest percentage of tables, lists, and paragraphs?

Featured snippets general breakdown

Featured snippets overall breakdown: did questions, prepositions, or comparisons earn the most lists, tables, or paragraphs?

I discover it fascinating that every group of key phrases had a really telling total sample.

The comparability group incomes eleven.seventy two% tables looks as if a low quantity. Keep in mind, although, that the content material has to exist within the high 10 search outcomes and be in a correct desk format.

For my part, there are numerous circumstances the place Google merely doesn’t have desk to point out, so it defaults to a neater format, like paragraphs.

Optimum featured snippet lengths

Optimal featured snippet lengths

Key findings: Featured snippet paragraph lengths

The optimum size of a featured snippet paragraph is roughly forty to 50 phrases, or round 300 characters. An earlier study by SEMrush additionally confirmed forty to 50 phrases to be candy spot for paragraphs, so I really feel assured on this quantity.

Optimal featured snippet lengths chart

Key findings: Featured snippet checklist lengths

The typical variety of objects in an inventory was 4, however that quantity shouldn’t be what we must always give attention to. As a substitute, concentrate on the utmost variety of gadgets within the listing. Right here’s why that issues:

Screenshot: SERP & snippet for "benefits of link building"

When creating an inventory, it’s a good suggestion to make it longer than the eight-merchandise most (when doable). This prompts Google to show the “Extra Objects…” textual content, which may result in higher engagement.

For that very same motive, make every bulleted merchandise have sufficient phrases in it so Google truncates every merchandise. This can be useful in case your listing is shorter than eight gadgets.

Key findings: Featured snippet desk lengths

Like with lists, deal with the truth that Google goes to indicate a most of three columns and as much as 9 rows per desk.

Screenshot: SERP & snippet for denny's menu prices

Just a few issues are occurring right here:

  • You’ll be able to see Google is displaying “143 extra rows,” similar to it does with lists.
  • Nonetheless, the web site Restaurant Meal Costs is definitely outranking the perfect supply for this data: Denny’s themselves.
  • The issue is that Denny’s doesn’t have their knowledge formatted the best way Google desires to show it — in a desk.
  • Google used to indicate “extra columns,” however appears to have dropped that assist and now simply picks probably the most related three rows.
  • Clearly my new low-carb food regimen shouldn’t be affecting my search conduct.

Sensible utility #1: Snatch featured snippets from opponents

Right here’s how:

  1. Evaluate your high 10 rankings for key phrases that present featured snippets, however that another person is rating for.
  2. Verify to see in case your content material matches the format of the featured snippet.
  3. If in case you have a format subject, repair it. If the format is appropriate, tweak your reply to raised match search intent.
  4. When you add your new content material, use Search Console to power Google to rapidly re-crawl that web page.
  5. Chances are you’ll earn the snippet inside half-hour, however it would probably take just a few days.
  6. If greater than every week goes by, repeat steps three and 4.


I ran steps one and two on Moz’s The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, which is a good instance of what foundational website positioning content material ought to appear to be. Let’s take a look at some low-hanging fruit.

Key phrase: “How engines like google work”

Screenshot: SERP & snippet for "how do search engines work"

Moz ranks #1, however Google believes that Makeuseof.com is doing a greater job of answering the search’s intent.

Key phrase: “What’s hyperlink constructing”

Screenshot: SERP & snippet for "what is link building"

Once more, Moz’s information is rating #1, but it surely isn’t incomes the featured snippet. These are simply two examples out of many I used to be in a position to shortly discover for The Inexperienced persons Information to search engine marketing.

I consider Moz may snatch featured snippets like these with easy textual content or format tweaks. The identical alternatives are seemingly there on your website as effectively.

Bonus: As soon as you’re in a superb place with this course of, broaden it to featured snippet key phrases you rank eleventh via twentieth on. Usually, with a content material refresh and a few inner linking or promotion, you’ll be able to transfer these to a minimum of the tenth place in Google. When you do this, you’ll be able to earn the snippet.

Sensible software #2: Earn featured snippets throughout content material manufacturing

It’s simpler to grab snippets than to earn them from scratch, so begin there. Nonetheless, you are continuously creating new content material, proper? …Proper?

Whenever you craft new content material, tailor it to earn featured snippets proper out of the gate.

Right here’s how:

  1. Compile a listing of key phrases in your area of interest that present snippets you don’t rank within the prime 20 for.
  2. Create new content material optimized for the format Google makes use of to show the snippet.
  3. Begin with content material that reaches folks within the backside of the funnel, like comparisons.. The amount is low, however the conversions will be excessive.
  4. Rinse and repeat.

Utilizing this system will give your editorial crew a break. I’ve had the pleasure of presenting with Chris Bennett a number of occasions. To paraphrase one in all his key factors about content material creation: While you use information to gas subject ideation, content material creation turns into extra about assets and fewer about brainstorming.

Bonus: When you’re in a groove with new content material manufacturing, you may department out to key phrases you assume Google would present a featured snippet for if the optimized content material existed.

Key phrase: “How to decide on key phrases”

Screenshot: SERP & snippet for "how to choose keywords"

Moz ranks second. To earn a featured snippet, it might incorporate a listing format on this web page or encourage a contributor to create a brand new publish formatted particularly for this matter.

Bear in mind, you don’t must create an ordered checklist. For instance, contemplate the next:

Fantastic, however not obligatory:

  1. Gather Underpants
  2. ???
  3. Revenue!

This format works, too:

  1. Acquire Underpants: The accumulating of underpants is a confirmed option to 10x…
  2. ???: This second step has been shrouded in thriller. Nevertheless, should you RT this put up, give me your e mail and 5 of your richest and most gullible pals’ emails, I’ll present you precisely …
  3. Revenue!: I do know what you’re considering: Wow! That is too good to be true! Nevertheless it’s not! Merely enter your bank card quantity to unlock my automated underpants-assortment and revenue-making system. Consider me!

Closing ideas

Do your website a favor. Conduct a featured snippet audit and begin snatching, incomes, and creating information-pushed content material focused towards featured snippets.

Do your self a favor. Comply with individuals like Dr. Pete, Rob Bucci, Eric Enge, Cyrus Shepard, and Glenn Gabe on Twitter. All of them share research, insights, and shows on featured snippets (amongst different issues). I plan to share much more snippets as nicely, so be at liberty to observe me, too: @SEO (shameless plug).

About Tanjil Abedin

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