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Best Practices for Google’s Featured Snippets

By Andy Mullins on March 8, 2017 in SEO
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Google’s Featured Snippets were created to help users answer questions more quickly. We’ve already written about what Snippets are and why you should acquire them , but SEO company Ghergich & Co.’s recent investigation into Featured Snippets caught our attention due to the fact that Ghergich wasn’t just studying Featured Snippets based on random keyword searches, but actual Google inquiries, 1.4 million them!

Partnering with SEMrush, founder A.J. Ghergich and his team tried to find out which practices would be best for acquiring and keeping featured snippets. Their investigation found the data behind the best snippet formats and lengths for table, list, and paragraphs looking to become #0 on SERPs.

And the Optimal Lengths for Featured Snippets Are…

There are 3 types of answer formats that become featured snippets: paragraphs, lists, and tables. Ghergich sought to find not only the optimum lengths for each format, but also which type of inquiry they work with best.


“The optimal length of a featured snippet paragraph,” Ghergich says, “is roughly 40 to 50 words, or around 300 character.” Ghergich went on to cite another study conducted independently by SEMrush that supported the same conclusion. Ghergich found that 92% of the time, a paragraph answer is used to answer a specific question typed into Google.


Tables are found most often when a user wants to research a comparison through Google. This takes place roughly 12% of the time. As for optimum length, Ghergich found that Google shows up to 3 columns and 9 rows before linking to your site for more information. Exceeding these limits is encouraged to improve your CTR.


The limit exceeding trick is also encouraged when it comes to lists. The minimum number of items in a list you should have in order to exceed Google’s limit is 8 bulleted items. Another helpful trick that is specific to lists is to make sure each bulleted item is too long to fit in the featured snippet itself. This way, Google cuts it short, and your CTR’s see the growth. 29% of the time, bulleted lists are used to answer search inquiries with keywords containing prepositions.

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Craft New Content with Featured Snippets In Mind

Featured Snippets shouldn’t be an afterthought for the content you’ve already created. You’re more likely to acquire featured snippets when you take them into account as you create content.

The best way to do that, according to Ghergich, is to build a list of keywords within your niche for which you’re not ranking in the top 20 and begin building content that is formatted correctly based on the information in this article.

Key Takeaways

  1. Featured Snippet paragraphs should fall between 40 and 50 words, tables should be 3 columns and 9 rows, and lists should be 8 items or more.
  2. Paragraphs are best for answering specific questions while tables are best for comparisons and lists are best for inquiries using prepositions in the keywords.
  3. Earn Featured Snippets by building content into paragraphs, lists, and tables.


About the Author

Andy MullinsView all posts by Andy Mullins >