How Google’s featured snippets work

Google’s search results sometimes show listings where the snippet describing a page comes before a link to a page, not after as with our standard format. Results displayed this way are called "featured snippets."

We display featured snippets when our systems determine this format will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description about the page and when they click on the link to read the page itself. They’re especially helpful for those on mobile or searching by voice.

Featured snippets commonly contain one listing, but more than one may appear.

Where do featured snippets come from?

Featured snippets come from web search listings. Our automated systems look at the web listings and determine if it would be useful to highlight one of them. They are especially likely to appear for searches that are phrased in the form of a question.

Featured snippets policies

Featured snippets are a special feature of Google Search that receive unique formatting, positioning and are often spoken aloud by the Google Assistant. Because of this prominent treatment, featured snippet text, images and the pages they come from should not violate these policies:

Sexually explicit

Featured snippets should not be inappropriately sexually explicit or contain vulgar language out of context with a search topic. We do allow featured snippets that contain medical or scientific terms for human anatomy, such as where the phrasing relates to sex education.

Hateful

Featured snippets should not denigrate, insult nor promote or condone violence against or have the purpose of inciting hatred against an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or characteristics associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.

Violent

Featured snippets should not incite or glorify violence, nor contain or lead to extremely graphic or violent materials published for the sake of disgusting others.

Dangerous and harmful

Featured snippets should not promote dangerous goods, services or activities nor provide information in a way that would lead to serious and immediate harm, including self-harm, such as mutilation, eating disorders or drug abuse.

Lack consensus on public interest topics

Featured snippets about public interest content -- including civic, medical, scientific and historical issues -- should not lack well-established or expert consensus support.

These policies only apply to what can appear as a featured snippet. They do not apply to web search listings nor cause those to be removed.

Does Google remove featured snippets?

Google processes billions of searches per day. Automation is the only way to handle this many searches. This means the best way to improve our results is to improve our automated systems, our search algorithms.

Our systems automatically strive not to show featured snippets that would violate our policies. However, the scale of search is so large that no system can be perfect. This is why we provide a public reporting system.

We use these reports to understand how a problematic featured snippet got past our automated systems, so that we can work to improve our systems generally and better prevent such issues in the future.

We also manually remove any reported featured snippets found to be in violation of our policies, so as to provide fast protection in the sensitive areas these cover. If this review process discovers a web site has other featured snippets that are routinely against our policies -- or the site itself violates our webmaster guidelines -- the site may no longer be eligible for featured snippets.

We do not manually remove featured snippets reported for issues that do not violate our policies. These are dealt with by studying the issues in more depth, then improving our automated systems to do a better job in the future.

How to report a featured snippet

If you have an issue with a featured snippet, click the Feedback link below the featured snippet.

I have questions about how my content appears in featured snippets

If you’re a webmaster, learn how to manage featured snippets in Google Search.

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