During April, we saw Google testing several updates to featured snippets. For those who aren’t familiar with featured snippets, these are a different format of search results created by Google to highlight certain information pertaining to a search query. They’re generally displayed in boxes where the result description has been prioritised, appearing above the title and URL (as it occurs in normal search results). Google makes tweaks and adjustments to SERPs very regularly to continually improve user experience. The new additions to featured snippets include results formatted into “from the web” and “other sites say” blocks.
From the Web
In the “from the web” examples, Google are displaying shorter snippets of information from 2-3 websites rather than a single, larger featured snippet. The site URL and favicon are displayed alongside these 2-3 shorter snippets. These shorter versions open up additional opportunities for sites that are competing for a featured snippet placement. The shortened text allocation may also have an effect on no-click searches as there’s less detailed information available to the user.
Other Sites Say
In the “other sites say” variations, Google has included a pack of other sites below the normal featured snippet result. The larger, more detailed featured snippet appears at the top of the results page with three alternatives displayed below with a shortened description, alongside their URL and favicon.
In both examples, Google are offering more variation to the featured snippet result, giving users multiple options in this format as opposed to one. In the past, a featured snippet result would dominate the top of search results – displaying a larger, more detailed result – these newer versions dilute the featured snippet by including 3 or 4 results. For sites that have established featured snippets, this could be a bit of a blow and they may find that traffic levels dip in response to these changes. However, it does open up opportunities for more sites to establish featured snippet placements. If you’re interested in learning more about search results or SEO in general, check out our SEO services page or get in touch.