Featured snippets in Google: My mini “case study”

Today, I want to share my “case study” showing how Google creates featured snippets. Do you think Google is smart? Well, after reading this post, you may get disappointed! 😉

What is a featured snippet?

But first, let’s see what a featured snippet 🖼 is.

According to Google:

Featured snippets are special boxes where the format of regular listings is reversed, showing the descriptive snippet first.

You usually see it at the very top of your Google search. It contains a short answer to your search query with a link to the article where it was pulled from.

It seems that being featured in the snippet increases CTR 👆🏻 and SEO masters fight for getting it for their articles. 

How does Google create it?

Some believe that Google uses an AI that constructs the snippets (along with other rich search features) 🤖

However, it does not seem to be the case.

AuthorityHacker recently posted a great article about featured snippets. Based on their research, they suspected Google uses quite a simple approach when it comes to constructing features snippets 🎨🖌🖼

Google seems to be simply pulling some piece of text from a suitable article. The text piece should look like a short but complete answer to the user’s request and should be easy to identify and grab.

And here’s my recent find that also confirms Google is not very smart about that 😕

My featured snippet “case study”

I was doing research about Tailwind and stumbled upon this featured snippet:

a featured snippet I looked at

I have been recently thinking about how to create featured snippet 🖼 opportunities in my own articles so I was quite curious to see how Google pulled this particular snippet 🖼

I opened the article, searched for the snippet text… and could not find it! 😮

What the heck 🤔

I searched for the first sentence only… and this time, I got a hit! 🎉

Here’s what I found:

2 comments the snippet was created of

I expected to see a nice short paragraph. However, unexpectedly, the snippet was pulled out of the comments and not the article.

Looking further into it, it turns out it Google did a particularly bad job here:

  1. The snippet was created by gluing two different comments together
  2. The “worth the money” part of the comment was talking about a completely different tool!
  3. The part that was pulled from the 2nd comment did not talk about whether Tailwind is worth it at all!

😱

How Google created a featured snippet out of 2 comments

Conclusion

Conclusion: In this case, the featured snippet gives false info based on irrelevant data 🤦🏻‍♀️

As a Google user, I  often skim search results by going through featured snippets and rich snippets. Well, now I know that this can be a bad approach that may give very wrong results 😐

As an SEO webmaster, now know that comments may compete with the article for a featured snippet. I am just not sure what I can do with this knowledge 😂

Come on Google! You can do better than this! 😉

decomposing one particular featured snippet in Google

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