Google is the most effective vehicle for driving targeted clicks to your content. But a tricky thing about Google is it’s always changing. You need to adapt to the tweaks and updates to earn and retain high rankings.

One big change is the introduction of featured snippets. The best way to be the featured content is a huge topic that confuses content marketers more and more, so I decided to address some of the most frequent questions people ask me about featured snippets.

1. Are they featured snippets or answer boxes?

It’s a good question. Not all featured boxes drive exposure to publishing sites, so let’s make things clear from the start.

Featured snippets appear in the Google “answer box,” but the answer box doesn’t always pull its data from featured snippets.

Simple questions like “What is the population of Las Vegas?” (see below) can be answered via Google’s own data files. Because there’s no need to go elsewhere for the answer, only Google gets the mention and the link.


More specific questions require Google to pull from another source, and therein lies the featured snippet opportunity (see below).


The terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same. The snippet gets placed in the box, but the content in the box isn’t always a featured snippet possibility you can grab. For this article, I’ll stop referring to the Google “answer box” and focus on “featured snippet.”

2. Do those “featured rankings” increase traffic?


When ConfluentForms.com held the featured snippet for a query, it saw a 20% to 30% increase in traffic, as Eric Enge highlights.

And it’s not just about traffic. Ben Goodsell reports that the click-through rate (CTR) on a featured page increased from 2% to 8% once it was placed in an answer box, with revenue from organic traffic increasing by 677%.

3. Are featured snippets triggered only by question-type queries?


Per Ahref’s study, most featured snippets appear for non-question queries and often for informational long-tail queries. In fact, the more words a searcher types, the higher the chances are that they’ll see a featured snippet.

Furthermore, Jennifer Slegg offers a great explanation on how lots of queries imply question while not explicitly asking one:

For example, someone searching for ‘Daniel Radcliffe’s height’ are really wanting to know ‘how tall is Daniel Radcliffe?’ even though the first query doesn’t explicitly state the question, but rather implies it … And Google does the same for choosing featured snippets.

While researching questions is a great way to understand your customers’ struggles, it’s not the only way to optimize for featured snippets. Make sure to turn to good old keyword research to find more queries you can potentially get featured for.

4. Is there a way to identify queries that trigger featured snippets?


While keyword research is a must, you can find queries that trigger featured results (and can try to snap that featured treatment from your competitors).

Serpstat is one of the tools that has a handy filter allowing you to focus on keywords typed into a search box that result in featured results. To identify those opportunities:

  • Type the main term into Serpstat’s search box
  • Click to “Organic keywords”
  • Click “Filter” and scroll down to “Special elements in SERP”
  • Keep “Includes” and select “Featured snippets”
  • Click “Apply filter” and scroll through keywords that trigger featured results: