Search engine optimizers often use the terms “answer box” and “featured snippet” interchangeably. Both are quick answers or summaries at the top of Google’s organic search results.
And yet there’s a big difference.
- Featured snippets are short answers pulled from what would otherwise appear in the top 10 organic results. Google moves the page to the top of search results with a link underneath.
- Answer boxes are brief factual replies that Google extracts from its own knowledge base, a decade-long project. Answer boxes usually address known entities — names, brands, places.
For example, search Google for “how tall is the Eiffel tower.” The top result is an answer box — a factual response — with no source citation as it’s a known fact.