Google have recently announced an update to featured snippets that now directs users straight to a highlighted excerpt of content that answers the specific query.
In this blog, we explore what this featured snippet update means and how you can optimise your content to win the featured snippet.
What is a Featured Snippet?
A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a search query displayed at the top of the search engine results pages that has been extracted from the webpage with the page’s URL. There are many different types of featured snippet including paragraphs, images, lists or table depending on the query. They are designed to emphasise specific content on a webpage answering the users search query most appropriately.
Even if you do not rank in position 1, it is still possible to have the featured snippet for a term, if you have structured your content in the right way and it is SEO friendly. Some ways in which you can optimise your content for featured snippets include:
- Rich results: add structured information such as bullet points, numbered lists, paragraphs and headings to your content to allow Google to better understand the page.
- Meta Descriptions: Google can often pull through meta descriptions into a featured snippet if they’re seen to give more of an accurate answer to the query.
- Write in a way that encourages the user to click through from the search engine.
Google’s Featured Snippet Update
Clicking on a Featured Snippet Now Takes Users to the Exact Text on the Page
On many featured snippets, Google will now send the reader directly through to where the text taken from the webpage is located once they’ve clicked through. As previously mentioned, it’s not for all, only where Google believes the text from the page exactly answers the users’ search query.
No mark up is needed to be implemented when publishing your content as Google will make the decision to feature the highlighted text as an automatic enforcement.
Google Is Now Highlighting Featured Snippet Text Within Content
Google didn’t actually announce this in the update however the content from the webpage will also be highlighted on the page to stand out clearly to the user making it efficient to read. Google actually changes the URL and adds extra parameters to it, like this:
You can see clearly from the above example that the parameter that follows after :text= in the URL closely matches the original search query ‘Are cats a good pet?’ Could this be a way to track new users to your site through featured snippets?
It is possible to add the URL parameters to your posts and implement the highlighting feature yourself. Add the following URL parameter ‘/#:~:text’ to your own web page URL, then an ‘=’ and finally add words from that web page. Those words will turn into highlighted text.
So What Does This Update Mean for SEO?
How Does This Affect Search Visibility?
In effect, Google are using this update as an opportunity to declutter search results and guide the user to correct, relevant answers to their query as efficiently as possible. Some may imagine this to be a death to visibility for sites as results appearing in featured snippets will be removed from organic search results. However, your site may be visible for keywords you don't rank for organically so you’ll see a your rank listed as #51+ but your content is shown in the featured snippet.
No one in this moment of time is exactly sure on what this means for search visibility. You may see a minor fluctuation but it’s nothing you should be worrying about. The effect of Google’s decisions on SERPs will be noticeable in the months ahead and only then will we see if this update is good or bad news.
Get in touch with the SEO experts
With so many updates and changes across Google search, it can be difficult to make sure you stay on top of these and deliver successful and effective SEO.
If you would like to improve your organic visibility and traffic and stay ahead of the competition, start a conversation with Innovation Visual (https://www.innovationvisual.com/contact/contact-us) to learn how we could help.
Alternatively, check out our blog for more digital marketing insights.