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Google Featured Snippet Updates 2018: what we are seeing right now and the changes we can expect

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Charlie Brown
March 06, 2018

Charlie Brown
Charlie Brown has written 17 articles for CGIDir.
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When you search a straightforward "how," "why" or "what" question, you will notice that some SRLs bear an answer box on top. This is Google's Featured Snippet. Unlike the web listings where the meta description comes first, the featured snippet contains only the relevant information (the answer to your question). Google uses a reversed format to generate the featured snippets. This helps more users discover the facts and information they are looking for within a shorter span of time. People can double-check facts without even clicking a link. It helps Google users access reliable information from trusted sources in a much easier manner. Right now, Google is also supporting the use of video and image as a featured snippet. 

How does feature snippet increase organic traffic?

To the website owners worried about dispensing relevant information throughout snippets and discouraging people from clicking on the links, do not worry. Google says that users who find these snippets useful and interesting visit the website displaying this information. This debunks the myth that optimizing content for Google Answer Box or Featured Snippet can reduce the CTR or deviate organic traffic. Quite contrary to the persistent fear, this feature of Google search can drive traffic to websites. According to the leading online marketing services,your business will garner more online views if you optimize your website content for common questions, use long-tailed keywords and trending phrases. Also you can get free SEO site audit here.

This new feature of Google search results helps the mobile users. It is also in line with the evolution of voice searches. Increasing number of Google users are switching to voice assistance every day. Whether it is for finding the location of the nearest Italian restaurant or to verify certain facts while driving to the restaurant, people turn to voice assistants like Cortana and Alexa to access Google search. The introduction of voice search has rendered the “10 blue links” format antiquated. People need a format that is easily accessed by their voice assistants, like the websites that optimize their content for the featured snippet. For those concerned about the source and quality of information – Google does not bind the users to just one source of info. There are ten other results (including the source of the snippet) for you to browse. 

What’s about to change about featured snippets?

The people with Google Assistant or Google Home devices can access the full SRL later when they get back on their mobile phones. Nonetheless, as of January 2018, Google admits to the less than perfect nature of their Google Snippet updates. They can be irrelevant to insensitive at times. In fact, Google teams are currently working on the voice quality rater guidelines for aiding the improvement of the process. Very soon new updates can bring multiple featured snippets or multiple answer boxes, the introduction of tags on the featured snippets for filtering out irrelevant results and the inclusion of a “More Results” option at the bottom of the current style of the featured snippet. 

Increasing instances of "near matches."

This may reduce the chances you come across the “near matches” you see across the SRLs. There are times when even Google does not know the exact answer to some questions. It is mostly due to the use of convoluted language or the lack of specific keywords or key phrases in the search terms. Nonetheless, you might find instances where the content of the Answer Box does not seem like the best fit as the answer to the question you asked. The featured “near match” answer can provide you extra information that can help you ask the right questions, or it can direct you towards websites that bear the answer to the question you are asking. Google uses this format only in limited situations, but they have the plan to introduce more "near match" results with time. 

The expert’s final thoughts

The idea behind the introduction of information miscellany from the different sources of the data is to maintain the diverse nature of the content from different publishers. As per Google representatives, they aim to provide all website owners and webmasters with increased visibility organically. Since January 2014, it has come a long way and right now it is one of the most powerful traffic driving SEO tools for all websites across the world. Keeping in rhythm with the evolving needs of the website owners to remain visible 24x7, Google wants to improve their current algorithm that finds, selects and features sections of texts from web pages as a special part of their SRL. It will take time for featured snippets to become perfect.

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