Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.
Michael Martinez: You do not own the spot and cannot guarantee that yours will be the only site that is shown there.
Glenn Cooper: No shit... but like other aspects of SEO, there`s an algorithm that`s put it there. I`m just wondering what the key factors are for this
Michael Martinez: No one outside the search engines knows what the key factors are. Anyone who claims to know is either lying or delusional. The fact you`re seeing your site appear in the featured snippets suggests you`re already doing whatever is necessary to be included. The search engines decide whether to display content from only one site or multiple sites. It`s not worth your time to try to "own" it all the time. Even if you could bump someone else`s site from their occasional slots, future changes to the selection algorithms will probably undo your success.
Glenn Cooper: Well, I know that a shit load of links and good content and 50 other factors assisted a top 3 position as well as capturing the featured snippet. This is the whole point of SEO to try and break it down, and not just to answer vaguely like "the search engine decides whether to display content from one site..." Nothing at all delusional about it. It`s also worth a lot of money, and hence my time
Michael Martinez: FYI, Featured Snippets are not directly influenced by links. Links may play a role in elevating a page to the range where it could be chosen for a Featured Snippet (they are sometimes awarded to 2nd page listings) but beyond that point it`s based on what they find on the page.
Benj Arriola: Just my opinion on this, of course it is not backed by actually knowing what Google is doing.
But whenever I see a constant switching of results, even if it isn’t just the snippet but also organic results constant switching between you and a competitor, I feel (note I said feel, so it is more of a hunch)... google is doing some sort of testing themselves. If 2 sites seem to deserve the top position, or seem to deserve to have the snippet, the main answer box result, it will switch it out often, and see how both perform from a CTR perspective to take into account who really deserves the position, then the site that not only gets more clicks but also gets less bounces and more good links in the long run then has a stronger likelihood of winning over the other.
Glenn Cooper: That makes sense. This is the second time I`ve got it in around six months.
I had optimised my page for the keyword and won it a few weeks later, kept the snippet for around 3 months then lost it to a competitor over the YMYL algo update.
I`ve since thrown a load of home page links, social shares and bought a few FB / Google reviews for trust. It all seems to have worked so far.
For the record, I am 90% sure that my page will answer the query better than my competitors. The searcher actually gets the quickest answer from my page, unlike my competitors who pass off the query
Michael Martinez: They`ll also adjust the search results on the basis of the searcher`s prior queries. Few queries happen in isolation. Website owners cannot control the context of a search session.
Srinath Rangaswamy: Check the results that appear as featured snippets. Only 11% of results appear on there. You will get some clues.
Glenn Cooper: OK, following on from this question. I can see that I`ve got the featured snippet on mobile, but not on desktop search. This is getting weird...