Featured Snippets vs. Rich Snippets on Google: What’s the Difference?
Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) consist of more than just basic organic listings with the titles, descriptions, and URLs of indexed web pages. In recent years, the company has tweaked its SERPs to include other forms of unpaid listings, including featured snippets and rich snippets. Unless you’re familiar with these alternative listing formats, though, you might be wondering how they differ and whether they are worth pursuing in your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
What Are Featured Snippets?
Featured snippets are special listings found on the top of Google’s search results above all basic organic listings, but below the uppermost paid listings that include an answer to a question related to the user’s search query. Like other organic listings, they feature a web page’s title, description, and URL. But featured snippets are larger than basic organic listings, and many of them feature an added thumbnail image. The purpose of featured snippets is to quickly provide Google users with the information for which they are searching.
Rather than clicking the basic organic listings, users can scan the content displayed in a featured snippet. And if a user wants to learn more about the associated topic, he or she can still click the featured snippet and visit the web page.For any given search query on mobile or desktop devices, Google’s SERPs will display no more than one featured snippet. With that said, not all search queries will trigger a featured snippet. If Google believes the intent behind a user’s search query is to find an answer to a question, it will typically display a featured snippet. For other search queries, Google may omit featured snippets from its SERPs.You can distinguish featured snippets from basic organic listings by looking for the “About this result” tag in the bottom-right corner. Clicking this tag will direct you to Google’s Search Console help page where you can learn more about this featured snippets.
Benefits of Featured Snippets
If Google presents your website in a featured snippet for one or more search queries, you’ll probably notice an increase in the amount of traffic your site generates. Since they are located at the top of the SERPs, featured snippets tend to have higher click-through rates (CTRs) than basic organic listings.Featured snippets are also becoming more common. According to Moz, over 15 percent of Google search queries now includes a featured snippet. With search trends shifting toward conversational queries, Google will likely add featured snippets to more of its SERPs in the years and months to come.Furthermore, your website can appear as both a basic organic listing as well as a featured snippet. If your website’s organic listing ranks first for its target keyword, you can use a featured snippet to double its visibility in Google’s SERPs.
How to Optimize Your Website for Featured Snippets
To optimize your website for featured snippets, you must publish questions and answers related to the search queries for which you want to rank. Google’s algorithm automatically places the web page with the most relevant question to a search query in the featured snippet box. If Google believes a page on your website offers the best answer, it will display the page as a featured snippet. Create a list of the top 10 or 20 questions for which you’d like to rank and turn them into content for your website’s pages.
What Are Rich Snippets?
lso known as rich results, rich snippets consist of additional information in the form of structured data displayed in an organic listing in Google’s SERPs. When crawling your website, search engines will search for structured data in the HTML. If Google or Bing discovers a supported markup, they may add it to your website’s organic listing in their SERPs.They are called rich snippets because they contain more information than basic organic listings, which are also known simply as snippets. There are hundreds of different types of structured data, each of which provides search engines with additional information about your website. For example, you can use schema markup to provide search engines with customer reviews or ratings submitted by your website’s customers. Search engines may then update your website’s organic listing to include the customer’s review or rating.
In addition to customer reviews and ratings, other commonly used types of structured data include:â€‹â€¢ Recipesâ€¢ Eventsâ€¢ Breadcrumbsâ€¢ Productsâ€¢ Articles â€¢ Videosâ€¢ Authorsâ€¢ Softwareâ€¢ Moviesâ€¢ TV showsâ€¢ Restaurantsâ€¢ People
Benefits of Rich Snippets
Rich snippets can drive more traffic to your website by making your organic listings stand out in the SERPs. Statistics show fewer than one in three websites contain structured data markup. And without structured data, search engines use the basic, default template for their organic listings. By integrating structured data into your website, search engines will reward you with rich snippets, allowing your site’s organic listings to stand out from its competitors in the SERPs.While featured snippets are only available on Google, rich snippets are supported by other search engines, including Bing. As a result, your website may perform better on multiple search engines if it uses rich snippets.
How to Optimize Your Website for Rich Snippets?
To optimize your website for rich snippets, you must add structured data to its HTML. Google supports three different formats for structured data: JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa. Of those supported formats, however, Google recommends using JSON-LD. Check out Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper tool at google.com/webmasters/markup-helper to easily create JSON-LD markups for your website.
Which Google Snippet Should I Target?
Rather than targeting only featured snippets or structured snippets in your SEO strategy, optimize your website for both listing styles. Using both allows you to capitalize on each of their unique benefits and, ultimately, drive more traffic to your website. Although they are both styles of organic listings, featured snippets and rich snippets aren’t the same. Featured snippets consist of an answer related to a user’s search query, whereas rich snippets consist of extra information that’s placed within your website’s organic listing.