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SEO: Answer Boxes vs. Featured Snippets

November 10, 2022

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.

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