Sometimes Google provides a short, simple answer to the user’s search query right at the top of the results. These are called featured snippets. They are most prevalent for queries that are explicitly in the form of a question, however, they also appear when Google feels they can usefully provide an answer to a question that is implicit in the query.
The role of a featured snippet is to answer the user’s question directly on the SERP, thus avoiding the need to visit a website, (and keeping the user on Google search).
As the name implies, a featured snippet is simply one of the blue link results (core web results) that is featured right at the top of the results page.
The content can be presented in the form of a paragraph, a list, a series of steps, or an HTML table.
Featured snippets are also known as “answer boxes”.
A dedicated algorithm decides whether a featured snippet is appropriate for a specific result, whether any of the blue link results can provide a satisfactory answer and chooses which result will make the best snippet to feature.
Learn how the featured snippet algorithm works at Bing (article on Search Engine Journal). Go >>