Google is updating its search results again with yet another type of featured snippet, this time focusing on queries that have multiple interpretations. So what does it all mean?

What’s new?

Google has recognised that many queries could have multiple different contexts behind them, and what one user is searching for may be different to what another user is searching for, even if they use the same keyword terms.

For example, if a user searched for “ears popping on a plane”, that user could be looking for information on the cause of that problem, or they may be looking for a way to prevent or remedy it.

The new snippet is designed to address that problem, by offering different responses within a single featured snippet.

I’ve been hearing a lot about featured snippets lately - why?

This probably isn’t the first time that you’ve heard about new developments to featured snippets (our video series Digital Minute has covered the topic three times already this year). Google has been working on a number of developments around featured snippets, and voice search is a big factor behind this.

Featured snippets are the big driving force behind the results provided by Google’s voice-based devices (such as Google Home and Google Assistant). The more Google can develop these featured snippets, the more relevant its voice search results can theoretically become.

The more information that Google can provide within the search result, the more it can reduce the need for the user to click away from Google to get the answer they are looking for. That is a big incentive for Google, even if it does cause brands a headache.

What happens now?

Our advice on this issue is for brands to look at how they are able to cater for those more conversational, voice-orientated queries and how they can achieve those featured snippet positions.

As featured snippets are only going to become more prominent in SERPS, the traditional position one organic result is going to carry even less weight, especially for search queries were by one answer doesn’t fit all. Brands need to adapt their organic search and content strategies accordingly.

We’ve discussed the technicalities of rich snippets and how your brand can achieve those ‘position zero’ slots in our free guide, but the fundamental points that you need to consider are:

  • How you can create conversational content your audience wants and needs.
  • How to answer your customers questions in a well thought out, structured manner.
  • Test & learn. What works for your customers? What doesn’t work? There is no ‘magical’ template. Your pages contents and structured will need to be adaptable and flexible, depending on the content you are producing.
  • Use structured data to better define your content to search engines.
  • Optimise for humans rather than search engines.
  • Identify your target featured snippets and understand how you can provide a better result.

Want to know more? Download our guide on Google rich snippets here.