There are lots of searches where no Featured Snippet (aka Answer Box) exists, but the question is asked frequently enough that if someone put together content answering the search query specifically an answer box would instantly appear.
For years, I thought this was common knowledge, but there appears to be some confusion out there on the topic. Many people think that Google has a predetermined amount of featured snippets, and that you must “steal” featured snippets from a competitor to obtain a featured snippet. This isn’t the case at all; I pull featured snippets out of thin air all the time. I guess I have a knack for it as I’ve now created hundreds, if not well over 1,000 featured snippets. Then again I’ve been writing for the web, usually in a Q&A style for 25 years now.. To me it just feels like the search engines are getting better at recognizing good quality content!
The case study
So the case study here is very simple. I picked out a search that had no Featured Snippet. I can usually guess in advance with about a 99% success rate if a new page will eventually created a featured snippet. Anyways, let’s move on to the screenshots.
Here we go. This is a small site I set up just to play with featured snippets. It makes no money and gets very little traffic. It’s just a little project which does indeed provide accurate and updated information. (Pro tip: Featured Snippets are not always the result of a high volume search query).
Here’s a screenshot of search results with NO featured snippet. The screenshot was taken, as you can see, just under 1 minute of me publishing the article which would soon produce a featured snippet:
The site had a featured snippet in about a week. I have screenshots somewhere, but for today’s article I am taking a fresh screenshot right now (November 24, 2017). (Pro tip: Yes, this snippet even survived a 301 Redirect, for those of you with a keen eye).
How can I make my own Featured Snippet?
It’s easier said than done. How and why featured snippets and answer boxes appear in search results vary drastically from niche to niche and query to query. I will attempt to outline this in my upcoming article on the ultimate guide to featured snippets.