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Mar 28, 2018
by Saurabh Kumar
While searching on Google, you must have noticed a descriptive box answering your query at the top of all the search results. The highlighted content appearing as the top Google search result is a featured snippet which always appears above the organic search results right under the sponsored results in SERP’s. This article unfolds the mysteries of featured snippets for SEO nerds who are striving hard to generate organic traffic with their rigorous strategies to highlight content.
When does the featured snippet appear? How does it appear? What do you need to do to get your web page appear as a featured snippet? These are the queries I will be addressing in this post.
Google reduced the organic search results from 10 to 7 in SERP and made the generation of organic traffic on websites slightly difficult. But Google also introduced featured snippets which gradually gained popularity. If you are wondering about how and when Google returns a featured snippet, then you must understand that there is no rule. It is a type of query based on which the search giant decides. Google returns more featured snippets based on the web content which is why it is important to optimise your content accordingly.
Google says, “When we recognize that a query asks a question, we are programmed to detect pages that answer the user's question and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results”.
The most relevant content that answers the user’s search query is picked up by Google. Google looks for the best match to the query and reflects them in search results. It looks for the searched query term on the page and the websites ranking on the first page are always given preference.
Facts About Featured Snippets:
SEO nerds also use Answerbox Terminology interchangeably, but featured snippets are different from answer box though closely related. The featured snippet is not part of Knowledge graph. To avoid confusion, let's stick to the "featured snippet" term whenever there's a URL featured in the box because they present an extra exposure to the linked site (hence they're important for content publishers)
There are three major types of featured snippets:
1. Paragraph: Google returns an answer in a paragraph form, plain text, or plain text with an image, content is present in the paragraph tag.
2. List: Answer is returned in a list form (content is present within list tags).
3. Table: Answer is returned in table format.
Here’s are snapshots of paragraph snippet, list image and table.
This image shows percentage share of snippet types in SERP
Do you know the optimal featured snippet length shown in Google SERP? Refer to this figure.
Will the Featured Snippet die soon and be ruled by a new Google strategy? Google is working on improving its featured snippet results. A closely matched featured snippet will start appearing in SERP when Google does not find any answer to users’ queries. In ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Featured Snippets’ by Google, you will find the mention that Google is working on displaying ‘near match results’ where the search results are closely matched with the user queries. In this case Google might show more than one featured search results.
Google might show more than one featured snippet in the search results to improve the search results and user experience, pushing the organic results down. Displaying the strongly aligned content as well as the one that provides contradictory information for better user experience is the motive.
One result displays reciprocal link building as, both, good and bad. So, a user can find contradictory response, both, in favour and not in favour.
Google says “On a typical day, 15 percent of the queries we process have never been asked before. That’s just one of the many challenges along with sifting through trillions of pages of information across the web to try and help people make sense of the world.”
Google welcomes users to share their feedback directly from the search result page about the featured snippets in search results for your query. Click on the "Give Feedback" link at the bottom of the box.
Today, mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches, and voice search is gaining popularity at a steep rate. Very soon we might see Google showing 5-3 organic search results.
The future lies in voice search and spoken featured snippets. Google is working on ways to show the source page in spoken search results.
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