If you’re looking from the perspective of SEO, featured snippets are better than other rich search results for one reason:
Featured snippets are among the last externally linking rich search results in Google SERPs.
There are still some Google search results that require a clickthrough to get all the information you want (for example, news articles have rich listings in Google, but you can’t get a full article without clicking through). However, Google has started to provide most information through its extraordinarily-sized database.
Many of today’s rich search results link internally back to other Google pages, and even more still provide an answer to a query almost immediately – which means that the user no longer needs to click through to your website to receive his or her answer.
But featured snippets strike a balance: they often answer a question, but leave the remaining content that explains the answer on the page to which the link provided leads. That way, users looking for a quick answer have no need to click through, but those who want a full explanation (and perhaps your product or service) must visit your website.
Why Are Featured Snippets Better (for Businesses & Websites)?
Google’s featured snippets are better for businesses and websites than other rich search results because they bring happy and informed customers to your site. Customers who have their initial questions answered but want to know more are often ideal customers, and the featured snippet does a lot of the filtering for you.
But when comparing featured snippets directly to rich search results, there are additional reasons:
Because Google Still Dominates Most Rich Search Results
Google collects lots of data (anonymously) on its users and their behaviors. But they also collect information, reviewed and tested against other information, and provide it to searchers through their rich search results. For example:
People Also Ask
Drop-down question-and-answer menus provide quick answers from website content to common queries that follow an initial query. Like featured snippets, they do link externally, but also feature an additional link to a further Google search and provide quick answers to questions.
Here, we searched for how to invest, and the provided information is plentiful.
No need to click through – I already know what to invest in and can find out how to get started right here.
Celebrity & Movie Profiles
Google a decently well-known celebrity and odds are good that Google has a host of information on him or her readily available on the right side of your search result. Here, we’ve Googled comedy actor Nasim Pedrad:
Her images lead to a Google Images search result, her provided profile information links to Google searches, and so do her well-known movies and TV shows links. Her social media links (below the frame of the picture provided) link outward, but everything else is an internal Google link.
Carousels (Movies, Sports, Music)
Google carousels are handy since they pack in a lot of easily accessible information, but they also predominantly feature internal Google links. This search for 80s pop brings up a dense carousel through which you can scroll:
And, you guessed it, every link is a Google search result. Vevo, a YouTube partner, gets top priority on the video search results at the top of the music pages.
Since Google now owns YouTube, they also own all the data that comes with it. That means that you can get all the info on beloved songs and artists just below a video pulled straight from YouTube or a YouTube partner.
But all links contained in the rich video result are internal links – nothing from anywhere but Google.
Other Information-Seeking Queries
The same goes for definitions and medical panels – each result is highly customized to prioritize already existing data from Google or to pull the most important information from Google’s web index.
Featured snippets are superior to these types of rich media for businesses and websites because they pull info straight from your website and quickly link directly to it. But those snippets are also better than the few outwardly linking search results that are still around.
Because There Are Only a Few Rich Results that Still Link out
The bit of information provided by featured snippets is superior to most of the existing outward-linking rich results. Shopping and news results link out to retailers and news outlets, respectively, but don’t provide the small bit of information that helps filter potential customers.
While certain shopping results still provide Google-dominated panels that look much like a celebrity or movie result, the shopping carousel is still the most common rich result.
It continues to provide pricing information straight from manufacturer and retailer websites, and transactions still occur straight through those sites.
As they were most likely originally designed to do, news results on Google entice potential readers with headlines and featured images.
Clicking on any part of the rich result takes you to the news outlet’s website, where you can experience the entire story.
But featured snippets still have more pulling power, especially since most people already have preferred news outlets through which they search for and consume news.
Because They Establish Serious Authority for Your Website
It’s not necessarily measurable through Google’s wealth of user data, but the featured snippet builds a certain level of trust with your audience. Google has done well to create trust in their users, and that trickles down to the search results that Google’s advanced algorithm deems worthy.
We returned to our how to invest search query for its featured snippet:
Investopedia is already trusted by countless customers, and they rewarded those customers with quality content that now sits at the top of the SERP. Should you achieve a featured snippet, you’ll be in good company; extremely well-trusted websites such as wikihow.com and the United States Census Bureau claim featured snippets across Google SERPs.
You’ll earn extreme trust points from your customers if you continuously provide featured-snippet-worthy content to Google and put it in front of your customers’ eyes. There’s absolutely no harm in reaching for other rich search results, as well, but remember that the featured snippet is, in this SEO climate, your best externally-linking friend in Google SERPs.
Learn about structured data and how you can take advantage of it by using Google’s guidelines.
We’ve got blogs in featured snippets, and we’d love to put yours up there, too. Talk to us about getting some help with your SEO or content marketing today!