Featured snippets are a hot topic in the world of SEO at the moment. Google’s recent announcement that they may no longer be showing certain types of rich results in the SERPs unless you’re a health or government website, alongside the rollout of yet another core algorithm update, is enough to make anyone sprout a few more grey hairs.
However, it’s nothing our team of SEO and content experts don’t tackle on a regular basis here at Embryo. Sure, Google likes to keep us all on our toes with their regular updates, but our many years of combined experience mean we know just how to deal with it. If you need help navigating your way through the mysteries of Google and organic search, get in touch with our team today. Either give us a call at 0161 327 2635 or email [email protected].
What is a Featured Snippet?
Before we dive into those all-important stats, it’s important to explain what we mean by a ‘featured snippet’, as unless you work in the industry and study search results regularly, you might not be familiar with the term.
A featured snippet is a search result deemed important or relevant enough for Google to highlight at the top of page 1, usually classed as position 0. This could be a definition, a video or steps showing instructions, a list of answers, images or even a table. The ‘answer’ to the search (or descriptive ‘snippet’) is shown above the URL and page title in order to provide the searcher with their answer more quickly.
In the example below, Google has pulled out what we call a double-featured snippet; it’s showing both a text response and images from other search results to give the searcher a more thorough answer to their query.
6 Standout Featured Snippet Stats
Before we head into our main statistics section where you’ll find further details about each one, you might be surprised by some of these topline stats!
- 50% of a mobile phone screen is covered by a featured snippet
- Opting out of featured snippets led to 12% less traffic
- 24% of people believe featured snippets are ads
- Only 19% chance of a click from a featured snippet
- 29% of queries with featured snippets start with a question-based word
- Only 0.4% of featured snippets link to homepages
General Featured Snippet Statistics
Research by Semrush and Brado found that 19% of SERPs (search engine results pages) have featured snippets, with 7.3% having double-featured snippets.
They also found that 91% of the keywords in their dataset had featured snippets on both mobile and desktop.
The industries with the largest number of featured snippets in the same study were found to be:
- Travel – 62%
- Computers & Electronics – 62%
- Arts & Entertainment – 59%
- Science – 54%
The most popular domain for featured snippets in their dataset was Wikipedia, with 2.77% of the featured snippets.
A 2022 study by EngineScout found that almost 30% of the people surveyed clicked on featured snippets because they found them informative.
Why Featured Snippets Matter
The same research from EngineScout studied the behaviour of around 3,500 regular users of Google. They discovered that featured snippets receive more than 35% of the total clicks.
Following the SERP deduplication in 2020, whereby Google stopped showing your URL in both the featured snippet position and the organic search results, Cyrus Shepard experimented with opting out of featured snippets and found it led to a 12% traffic loss.
Research from Semrush found that 50% of a mobile screen is covered with a featured snippet, meaning you’re literally pushing your competitors off the screen by optimising your content to achieve the snippet.
During their study, they also found that 99.2357% of featured snippets are found in position 1 in the search results.
EngineScout’s study found that double-featured snippets with a featured snippet and a knowledge panel picked up 42% of the total clicks, outperforming regular search listings. Whereas with other featured snippet tests, the standard organic search listings received more of the total clicks than featured snippets.
They also asked users why they clicked on a featured snippet result, with some obvious and some not-so-obvious responses! Around 15% said they clicked as it was the most noticeable search result, with just over 13% clicking as the result was in the top spot. 14.3% clicked the featured snippet result as it seemed the most trustworthy, with 14.7% clicking because they liked the images displayed in the search result.
However, 9.3% of Google users clicked the featured snippet because they liked the title of the post, showing how important it is to spend time on something as seemingly simple as your page titles across your site.
Why Featured Snippets Might Also Be Costing You Traffic
Recent information from ahrefs suggests that there’s only a 19% chance of a user clicking through to your site from a featured snippet if the answer is shown in the search result.
Findings from research by EngineScout showed that 24% of users mistake featured snippets for paid ads. They also found that, even when the featured snippet was from Wikipedia, more than 20% of respondents still thought it was an ad. Where the search results had the highest commercial intent, 31% of users thought the featured snippet was an ad.
They also asked their respondents why they tended to avoid clicking on a featured snippet result, with 37% simply preferring regular search results and 12.7% not trusting the featured snippet result. Almost 7% of respondents didn’t think the result was clickable!
When EngineScout asked why their respondents preferred regular organic results over featured snippets, 44% said they seemed more trustworthy. Interestingly, others preferred the page title (22.9%), meta description (16.7%) and website name (6.2%) compared to the featured snippet, again showing how important brand and metadata are when it comes to click-through rate (CTR).
They also discovered some interesting insights around ‘people also ask’ (PAA) results during their study. On average, only 6% of their respondents clicked on PAA boxes, with the click-through rate ranging from 5.4% and 7.4% across each SERP.
Helpful Stats to Grab a Snippet
Web marketing insights from My Codeless Website claim that 66% of articles appearing in featured snippets have structured data.
They also claim that 40.7% of voice searches include featured snippet results, and 67.5% of click-throughs come from the first five results in the SERP.
In a recent study by Semrush, they found that 70% of featured snippets are paragraphs, with just over 19% being lists, 6.3% being tables, whilst 4.6% are video results.
They also discovered that 29% of queries that trigger a featured snippet start with question-based words, including ‘why’, ‘can’ and ‘do’, with ‘why’ triggering the most. 77.6% of ‘why’ queries studied had a featured snippet, with 72.4% of ‘can’ queries being answered with a featured snippet.
The research from Semrush also flagged that 70% of articles in featured snippets were published in the last 2-3 years, so it appears Google is rewarding recently written content in these areas.
Of all the featured snippets included in their study, just over 37% featured a URL with two subfolders, with almost 22% featuring one subfolder. Only 0.4% of featured snippets link to a domain with no subfolders, so it’s very unlikely Google will give a homepage a featured snippet.
The optimum number of words in a query for a featured snippet is 10, according to Semrush’s research. 55.5% of 10-word queries have a featured snippet, with only 4.3% of single word searches having one. As the number of words in the query increases, the percentage of featured snippets also increases gradually up to 10 words, and then starts to drop off.
In a separate study by Semrush in 2018, they found that the average ‘definition’ featured snippet was between 40 and 60 words long.
Research from Backlinko shows that 54% of featured snippets come from long-tail searches with less than 50 searches a month, so there’s still value in providing helpful content for those keywords with lower search volumes.
So, What Have We Learned?
From these recent studies, it would seem that featured snippets can have both positive and negative impacts on your ability to draw in organic traffic, with many variables such as your industry and the type of content you create being a deciding factor for Google. Something as simple as a page title or meta description can be enough for a user to click through to your website, or ignore it completely, so it’s important to think about every small aspect of SEO when publishing new content.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to acquiring featured snippets for your content, get in touch with the team at Embryo today and we’ll be happy to help.