SEO News: Google Featured Snippets Are Now Anchoring and Highlighting Text
If you want your website to gain organic traffic online, there is no better way than to gain a Featured Snippet on Google.
Sometimes known as ‘Position Zero’, a Featured Snippet is a search result that Google features on top of the organic results (below the ads) in a box.
According to Ahrefs, if you have a featured snippet you can up to gain 31% more traffic to your site, compared to a first position ranking without the featured snippet.
Today, Google shows featured snippets results for over 12% of search queries. And now, Google is making things even more useful for the users who click on snippet results.
Direct To The Source
Recent changes to the Google search results have seen some highlighting and anchoring of content a site based on the specific search result clicked.
While it may sound new, Google actually started anchoring text on mobile pages through the AMP cache back in December.
It may seem that Google changing the way users enter your site is scary, yet it fits with their search mission. The search engine giant has always had the goal of developing novel ways for users to find answers in the shortest possible amount of time.
If fully rolled out on desktop, this update could impact every facet of digital marketing in a profound way. It’s important to prepare your Design and SEO efforts for the upcoming shift in the way users visit and see your site.
What’s Going On?
The feature was first noticed by a twitter user named Glenn Gabe, who then posted a series of examples through a thread of tweets.
While searching on a desktop browser he found that clicking into snippets brought him to the exact point on the page where the copy of the snippet pulled from. Furthermore, he found that the same copy would show up highlighted in an obnoxiously hard to miss bright yellow.
Google Chromium Engineer, David Bokan, confirmed on Twitter that the platform is testing the feature on about 5% of users.
This update first caught our eye, when I found myself as one of the test-subjects for anchoring text from snippets. Taking this as being a member of the random chosen few, we tried to comprehend what impact this could have on everything we do as digital marketers.
How Does it Work?
When you search for something like “what is the difference between white hat and black hat SEO?” a rich snippet will shop up at the top of the SERP (search engine results page).
When you click through to the webpage directly from the snippet, it will anchor you to the exact part of the page where the snippet was pulled from. As you can see, it also highlights the information in a bright yellow.
There’s still a lot of unknown when it comes to Google’s test of this feature and whether or not they’ll roll it out on desktop and expand it from only working when clicked through on snippets.
The test seems to only be running on Google’s Chrome browser of which they utilize the targetText Chrome function, which has been in the works for a year now.
What Does This Mean for Web Design?
Once again, this feature has been live on mobile (for AMP pages) dating back to December. That means if your web traffic comes mostly through mobile searches you probably won’t notice much of a difference as the change transitions over to desktop browsers.
With that being said, if this anchor text feature is rolled out across desktop channels, it could potentially change the way designers go about laying out web pages.
Current web design best practices assume users will enter the site from the top of the page. If Google sends a visitor to the middle of the page, this means the visitors could miss valuable CTAs, ads, logos, and other important aspects of the site.
Unfortunately, with the test only occurring for clicks from featured snippets. Judging the impact of the test is difficult at the moment.
If you happen to get a Featured Snippet for your site, it is worth reviewing the content and if there is anchor text on the page.
It may even be worth reworking the design of the page a little to make sure the person wants to stay on the page once done reading the highlighted text. Ensure you have interesting images and readable pages so people continue to click around the website.
What Does This Mean for SEO?
To ensure you are in alignment with Google’s goal, you must help users spend the least amount of time to get the best answers possible. This means being relevant, up-to-date and most of all, answering the questions that your visitors have.
Make sure the information is useful and answering questions around your area of expertise.
Also, it’s important to make all the information on your site easy to crawl and easy to index. These might seem like basic SEO tenets, but they work.
SEO is always evolving, and we continue to keep an eye on how it impacts your business in 2019. As with any new emerging trend in SEO, we will aim to find ways to keep ranking higher and growing more traffic to your site.