How To Leverage “Featured Snippets” for SEO and Digital Marketing

By now you’ve probably seen the “featured snippets” in your Google search results. As a San Francisco digital marketing agency, we’ve seen plenty. Featured snippets are the cards that appear with a self-contained excerpt from a page that will, ideally, answer your search query. One of the first things you’ll notice is that the snippet rarely comes from the number one search result. Here’s a quick example:

Your One-Stop Shop

Google is pushing for “Mobile-First”, and most mobile users are in a hurry or looking for a quick answer without a lot of depth. One of the best ways to cater to that demographic, from Google’s perspective, is to provide a satisfactory answer in the shortest possible number of steps. In the case of featured snippets, Google is cutting out the middle-man, so to speak, so that a mobile user won’t need to go to the trouble of loading a new webpage. It saves a step by providing the answer directly. This approach brings Google right in line with the new generation of digital assistants, which I’ve written about before.


Now that we’ve seen them in action, let’s get into the technical details. Snippets come in three main formats, heavily reliant on the structured data templates from, which Google is beginning to push for more heavily.

The Moz Study

This study crunched the numbers on a number of different types of search phrases, trying to tease out data about the trends in snippet formats. The report helps in two major ways (and a score of minor ones).

How Does a Digital Marketing Agency Capitalize on This?

By tracking what format of question, or long-tail keyphrase, brought up which kind of snippet, we get a better idea of how to format our content. Consider the following examples:

Where Do We Go from Here?

As digital marketers, when we plan our content, our very first question is “what question are we answering?” The new opportunities provided to us by featured snippets add a secondary question: “how will we format our answer?” Even if our site doesn’t make it to the front page, or the top of the SERPs, if we can deliver the best answer in (what Google sees as) the best format, we may be able to move our content into the featured snippet vacancy and claim pride of place all the same.

Colibri Digital Marketing

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I work to make the web a more beautiful, accessible, and functional place. I use dreams as a form of planning. And I play because it’s fun.