WMX Labs logo: Google Chrome Now Highlights Featured Snippet Answers on Pages

Google Featured Snippets—the box of preview text and images in search results—give you an immediate answer to your search queries. Often, people who click through to a page are interested in reading the snippet in the article itself, but it’s sometimes buried in the article, making it difficult to find.

In this WebMechanix Labs, we’ll look at a recent update that addresses this issue and discuss its implications for marketers.

What Happened?

You may have already seen this update in the wild, but let’s go over it anyway. If you click through an answer box, Google will now take you straight to the snippet within the page and highlight the text in yellow.

Example of featured snippet

This update doesn’t seem to have rolled out on other browsers yet. People report not seeing it in Edge or Safari (but it does show on Safari mobile).

Google now highlights text

Why?

Google is trying to make it easier for users so they don’t have to spend time scanning through an article’s content to find the answer mentioned in a featured snippet. This update highlights a featured snippet answer within an article, allowing users to better understand how it contextually relates to other information on the page.

WebMechanix’s Take on This SEO Update

From now on, SEO marketers should pay more attention to enhancing their user experience and matching search intent, especially when writing content that includes quick answers to questions.

Now, users searching for short answers to their issues will likely have a more satisfying experience from this update. (I know I have.) You may see your average time on page drop, but in this case, it’s a good thing because users are finding what they want faster than before.

Marketers will benefit from providing answers to specific questions in their articles. Specifically, keep an eye out for opportunities to answer the classic who/what/where/why questions, which are more likely to get pulled out and appear as featured snippets.

You may also want to place the answer in its own section in the text so that Google’s crawlers have an easier time finding it. If you do these things, you may see some organic traffic gains from claiming more featured snippets in search results than your competitors.

This update is still recent and will probably need some time to improve the accuracy of finding the right text to highlight. Another area of improvement is the choice of the color yellow for highlighting, which may clash with certain websites’ brand colors. We’ll keep you posted on any important future updates.

You may also notice a spaghetti string of text that Google appends to URLs to create this highlight. An example would be:

https://www.nme.com/blogs/tv-blogs/stranger-things-season-4-netflix-trailers-cast-release-date-fan-theories-2525785#:~:text=And%20wait%20%E2%80%93%20there's%20more.
,Chernobyl%20in%20the%20next%20season.

We’re planning on testing this by using the URL markup in anchor text to see if we can help Google find relevant information and rank it in featured snippets. For example:

<a href=“https://webmechanix.com/b2b-sales-marketing-alignment/#:~:text=this”>B2B Sales Marketing Alignment</a>

What Do You Think It Means for Marketers? 

What are your thoughts on this update? Leave a comment, and let’s get a discussion going. You can also tweet us @WebMechanix for a response.

SEO / UX & Design / Web News

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