How Google Featured Snippets Affects Your Website

Would you like your website to be featured as the top answer in Google search results?

In a recent blog announcement Google reintroduced their “featured snippets,” which are displayed as a descriptive box in search. These have a prominent place on the first page results, and stand out from the rest of the standard text and links from other websites. Not all queries are shown — only commonly asked questions are featured like this example, “How much is website hosting?

Google’s aim is to provide users with immediate answers to their most pressing questions. It’s especially formatted for mobile viewing and those who are using voice search on devices like Google Home, Alexa, and Siri.

Featured snippets not only produce results for written content, but for videos as well:

How is this important for your business website? Google explains that with the steady decline of computer users and increase of mobile and voice search, their new format for search results are far more useful than seeing only “10 blue links.” These of course are still important to include, however; users will now be being getting a much more visual rendition of the information they are looking for.

Back in 2014 when snippets were first launched there was a concern that websites would experience a decline in traffic. Google points out; however, that publishers who provide helpful tips have a better chance of becoming featured in search results. A recent study by Stone Temple shows that featured snippets have a 97.4 accuracy rate. There have been a few snafus as the Knowledge Graph was in the process of being tweaked to measure the authority and quality of a website.

More Than One Result Now Shown

Another recent update has been the addition of other websites in featured snippet results. This might occur when there are multiple companies offering the same solution. Here’s Google’s example on this for the question, “How to setup call forwarding:”

Not only will original search results remain, but Google will also be providing pros and cons scenarios such as “Best Dog Breeds for an Apartment,” and “Worst Dog Breeds for an Apartment.”

After several tests at Stone Temple there are four steps suggested in a recent article featured on Search Engine Land:

  1. Identify a common, simple question related to your market area.
  2. Provide a clear and direct answer to the question.
  3. Offer value added info beyond the direct answer.
  4. Make it easy for users (and Google) to find on your page.

Ann Smarty writes on Content Marketing Institute that you do not necessarily need to optimize your content. She points out that Google updates its algorithm and features on a daily basis — this is especially true if a user is not getting the answer that they need from a particular source. Instead, you should focus on the context of your social media posts and learn more about your audience through personal interactions with them.

There is no “major formula” or shortcut to getting your business featured in the top results on Google. In fact, one day your company may have the prominent position and the next another one will have taken your place. The best way to improve your chances is to offer quality content that your readers are looking for, and answers their most important questions. Depending on your niche there are certain keywords that gain more results according to an Ahrefs study featured on Neil Patel:

It’s important to research what the competition is using, and as Neil Patel points out, could include three different formats:

  • Paragraph – an answer in one paragraph instead of a list
  • List – an answer broken into several numbered points
  • Table – an answer that shows a table with percentages

Once you discover what your audience is asking online it will be easier to format your website and content accordingly. Use question and answer resources like Yahoo Answers and Quora to learn the most common queries. Other place are social media groups, content suggestions from sites like Answer the Public, and on various forums.

This information can be formulated into an FAQ or Help section of your website, which provides a list of the most commonly asked questions and linked answers. Adding such a Page can greatly increase your chances of Google choosing your website and content and featuring your unique solutions.

It’s important to stay up to date with the latest technology and the way consumers are reading or watching content whether this be on a computer, mobile device or smart device. Expect more updates from Google in the near future as these new formats evolve and start to take precedent over tradition text search.