Google is Rolling Out "Featured Snippets" in Search Results

Google is Rolling Out "Featured Snippets" in Search Results

How do they work?

Google has made live a new search feature which, per SearchEngineLand, will “highlight content on a web page based on clicking on a featured snippet from the Google search results.”

Per the site, the feature was in testing for a couple of years, both desktop and mobile environments.

“We’ve done this regularly with AMP pages since December 2018. We tested with HTML pages last year, as noted. We now do it regularly HTML pages, since last week,” Danny Sullivan, Google’s search liaison, tweeted Wednesday.

“For some searches, Google provides a quick answer or summary with a content snippet from a relevant website,” a Google support website says. “These featured snippets are most likely to show up when your search is in the form of a question… featured snippets are in a special box at the top of your search results with a text description above the link. If you search with the Google Assistant, featured snippets might also be read aloud.”

Another Google support page discusses how site owners can opt-out of regular and featured snippets.

The launch is one of many changes coming to Google search in the near future. The company announced this week that it is planning a big algorithm change, based on its Core Web Vitals —which it calls “a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness and visual stability, to help site owners measure user experience on the web” —although the changes won’t roll out until 2021. Webmasters will also be given six months’ notice before the changes go into effect.

Another change recently announced by Google is that it will no longer require sites to offer AMP, in order to be included in “Top Stories.” Google had previously announced such a change for stories specifically related to coronavirus.

“Optimizing for these factors makes the web more delightful for users across all web browsers and surfaces, and helps sites evolve towards user expectations on mobile,” Google said in a blog post.

Google does not, however, appear that it’s looking to dump AMP (Advanced Mobile Pages) altogether, although the technology remains controversial in web development circles.

Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters