After years of testing, Google launched a featured snippet update on June 3, 2020. Featured snippets are selected search results that appear at the top of Google’s search results page, also called position zero.
The new featured snippet update leads users to highlighted text on the webpage from which the content is pulled. This feature used to only be available on Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), but is now available on HTML pages; however, the change is not occurring on every featured snippet. Instead, it only impacts featured snippets where Google has high confidence in the results. Google also stated that there is no special markup or other necessary steps required by webmasters or website managers in order to send users directly to the content, which means it will happen automatically.
How the Featured Snippet Update Works
First, search any topic on Google from a mobile or desktop device, and if you see a featured snippet, click on the link.
Once you’ve clicked on the featured snippet link, you’ll be shown the highlighted text that was pulled from that website to populate the featured snippet result on Google.
Here is an example of how the new highlighted text feature looks for our Zero Position featured snippet after you’ve clicked from the featured snippet result to the Northwoods website:
Google Also Added URL Parameters to Featured Snippets
URL parameters give you a better understanding of your website’s traffic. Using URL parameters allows you to track where your traffic is coming from, show which link people clicked to get to your website, and give you a better understanding of your website metrics overall.
Thankfully, webmasters and managers are in luck because Google has also added parameters around the featured snippet URL. Those parameters look like this:
The text that is highlighted on the webpage is the same text in the new URL parameter. This is interesting, as it might give you an opportunity to measure traffic to your site that results from featured snippets.
Learn more about website analytics and reporting by choosing Analytics in the topic filter on our main blog page here.
Benefits of the Highlighted Text Featured Snippet Update
Google’s featured snippets are meant to give users the most relevant answer based on search intent, which is why Google makes updates to its algorithm and SERP features often. (Read more about Google’s May 2020 core update.)
Google’s most recent featured snippet update provides enhanced benefits to users, including:
- Getting a direct answer
- Finding an answer more easily and quickly
- Showing high confidence results, meaning Google sees the featured snippet answer as relevant, trustworthy and authoritative
And for website managers, there are no technical or schema markup tasks. Google simply does it for you. Nice!
How Will this Change Affect My Digital Marketing Strategy?
The June 2020 Google featured snippet update could result in searchers skipping down past ads or calls to action on webpages that featured snippet results are linked to. So it’s important to track your site’s performance and, depending on results, replace any ads or move calls to action to a different location on affected pages.
The way Google is determining what content is included in featured snippets hasn’t changed ... yet.
To land a featured snippet, continue to:
- Update your content
- Use relevant keywords
- Make sure your website is accessible for both bots and humans
- Build relevant links from high-quality websites
For now, the most important thing you can do is to continue to monitor your website closely and make any necessary adjustments based on traffic resulting from featured snippets. If you aren’t sure how to move forward, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our expert digital marketing team is here to help!