Google has become something of an online encyclopedia — ask Google anything, and it will most likely give you a satisfactory answer. Receiving at least 3.5 billion searches per day, Google is constantly working hard to give its users the best information based on search intent. And it has gotten better at answering questions and queries since first launching ‘featured snippets’ to users and publishers alike.
A featured snippets is a descriptive box at the top of a Google SERP. When a user asks a question, Google takes a snippet of information from a page and features it at the top of the results, quickly and efficiently providing answers and information.
Google’s featured snippets have certainly evolved a lot over the years, and will continue to do so, affecting search engine optimisation for webpages and publishers worldwide. And recently, Google published a blog post that reintroduced its featured snippets.
Without further ado, here’s what’s new with Google’s featured snippets:
In the age of mobile search and virtual personal assistants, featured snippets make a marked difference for providing users fast and relevant answers.
If you’ve tried asking your smartphone’s Google Assistant, it normally replies with a featured snippet and then quotes its source. The same thing happens when asking a Google Home speaker. The “10 blue links” format doesn’t work for these types of searches since they don’t provide direct answers.
Google recently launched video snippets, featuring a suggested video clip for things like ‘how to braid your own hair.’ This means snippets aren’t just for written content. As long as the content matches user intent – in this case users wanting to learn how to braid their own hair – they will provide the most appropriate type of content. A video content type answers this search intent through visual demonstration, which is admittedly more useful than a written step-by-step guide.
Other content types for Google’s featured snippets include lists and numbered how-to guides.
Google isn’t perfect, as demonstrated by some controversial blunders in the past. To remedy this, Google also launched updates to their Search Quality Rater Guidelines to ‘provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories.’
This update enables Google to weed out low-quality content according to user feedback. Additionally, Google is considering telling searchers when they provide “near-match” search results.
In case you’ve missed it, Google also launched a feature that allows you to select a location-based featured snippet. Other exciting features that are coming soon include showing an extra featured snippet related to the original search query as well as answering questions correctly through different perspectives.
These updates are all about helping the user by understanding their search intent and providing the best and most relevant answers.
Google is certainly working hard to provide a better search engine for users out there. And if you want to rank on the top of Google’s search results page, read our quick guide on how to rank in Google’s featured snippets!
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