Google gives the official line on ‘featured snippets’

Google has published a blog post which gives a good background to the ‘featured snippets’ in its results, which we’d all like to get. Those are the big results at the top of the page which normally answer frequently asked questions.

In A reintroduction to Google’s featured snippets, we’re told that the name comes from the fact that “unlike our regular web listings, the page’s description – what we call a “snippet” – comes first.”

There’s more than a hint that the spread of these snippets is in preparation for an expected explosion in spoken queries to Google through voice-activated devices like the Amazon Echo. If people are going to be shouting: “How do I boil an egg?” to a box in the corner of their kitchen, Google wants to have an answer ready and pre-approved by popular acclaim.

Many of you will have noticed you already feature in such snippets. Here’s an example linking to the website of sensors supplier Applied Measurements. Do they get you additional traffic? Probably. Google says in the article: “When we introduced featured snippets in January 2014, there were some concerns that they might cause publishers to lose traffic. What if someone learns all they need to know from the snippet and doesn’t visit the source site? It quickly became clear that featured snippets do indeed drive traffic.” Some commentators are skeptical. Still, if you’re up there, it’s clear your site is doing a lot of things right.