Google Announces Update on Featured Snippet Algorithm

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Google is the most popular search engine used. Search engines gives the desired information as per the query asked. When a user submits a query a no of algorithms works at a time in the backend to bring back the most relevant and accurate information. Google keeps on working on such algorithms to reduce the time and to increase the accuracy.

Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) are the pages which are displayed by search engines as a result of a query by a searcher. It consists of the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query, the pages along with relevant information may also contain other results such as advertisements. The SEO specialist using a lot of techniques keep on working on getting better ranking for their websites to come up on the first page of results.

The first noticeable thing in SERP is featured snippets: It is striking because its position is first, which gives maximum visibility and the area occupied by featured snippets is considerably more significant than the organic results. The location of featured snippet is known to the SEO industry, as the “zero position.”

A featured snippet which are also known as “answer boxes” aims at answering the user’s question in a right away. It is a summary of an answer to a user’s query, extracted from a webpage which comes on top of Google search results and includes the page’s title and URL. Featured snippets are results “rich in data” that are generated by Google from the content of pages available in specific search results.

Featured snippets are an essential element of economic growth today, with numerous aspiring entrepreneurs and businesses relying upon them to get their message to the expected clients.

Benefits of a Featured Snippet

  • Increase in Website Traffic is the most obvious benefit of getting a featured snippet.
  • Increase in Conversions.
  • Increase in Brand Awareness.
  • Increases Website Authority.
  • Increase in Keyword Rankings.

Google always aspires to improve on its timing and accuracy of information of its search query, and along these lines, Google announced an update to its Featured Snippets algorithm. The update is aimed to make Featured Snippets more useful by understanding which information needs fresh content.

Let’s see which Queries Deserve Freshness?

Three examples which Google gave of the search queries that need fresh content.

  1. Regularly updated information
  2. Information that changes with passing time
  3. Current events

The goal of this update is to remove featured snippets content that is out of date and no longer useful.

Google explains this update in this way:

“…a new algorithm update improves our systems” by understanding what information remains useful over time and what becomes out-of-date more quickly.

This update is particularly helpful for featured snippets, a feature in Search that gives a summary of an answer to a user’s query and highlights the pages that our systems determine are most likely to have the relevant information you’re looking for.

For queries where fresh information is essential, this new algorithm will try to find the most useful and up-to-date featured snippets.

In short, this update is to determine what content remains useful over time and what kinds of content loses its usefulness over time and needs fresh information.

Regularly Updated Information

Regularly updated information is that changes, it can be calendar based or a change that is coming and expected shortly.

Some examples where fresh featured snippets are helpful are like the winner of an election, upcoming holidays or dates of festivals in a year.

Information that Change with Time

In this category, information might change with time and hence deserves freshness. This change in information depends on a time based event that’s in the future as compared to the past information of an event that has already occurred.

For example, as this is times based, so when an event approaches, we learn more specific details. A premier page about an upcoming movie will have more accurate information and other useful content, like the release date of movie, trailers, that you can click through to view.

Current Events

Current event information keeps changing, even on an hourly basis, so it has to be the most updated one.

For example, if the election is going in the country and counting of the vote is in the process, the information keeps changing minute by minute that who will be the ruling party.

Fresh Results Not Necessary for Evergreen Content

There are many queries for which the information need not to change or updated frequently. These are fact based queries where the face does not change over a period of time. So at the beginning of the announcement itself, Google said that the evergreen content does not need to be updated frequently.

For example, if you ask “Why rainbow has seven colors” the explanation of this question is a fact based and won’t change over time, and the most precise description is often found on an older page. The Myth that Google prefers to rank fresh content does not help here as prioritizing fresh content wouldn’t necessarily yield better results.

Takeaway

Featured Snippet update is an important update because it forces content publishers to take into account and distinguish between, what content is evergreen and what kinds of content requires a fresh update. This update will now better reward content publishers that provide content that is accurate, specific, and useful at the moment.

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