Google has treated us to what is quite possibly the most comprehensive and detailed explanation of their featured snippets, in a post on the search blog. If you’re unaware, featured snippets are the quick and direct answers that appear at the very top of the Google SERPs, which show up in response to some search queries.
In their extensive blog, Google explains exactly what featured snippets are, the various associated user interfaces and how these featured snippets interact with desktop, mobile devices and voice search. Google have advised that the snippets are important for both mobile searches and voice-activated digital assistants, such as Google Home or Alexa. They have also stated that “in these cases, the traditional ’10 blue links’ format doesn’t work as well, making featured snippets an especially useful format.”
Google have also added that they will “continue to show regular listings in response to searches along with featured snippets.” That is “because featured snippets aren’t meant as a sole source of information…. …they’re part of an overall set of results we provide, giving people information from a wide range of sources,”
Here is an example screenshot of how regular featured snippets may appear to some searchers on desktop or mobile devices:
In addition to these regular featured snippets, there are also suggested video clips that are served as a form of snippet. Whilst Google have said that they only “recently launched” this feature, it has in fact been live for the past several months.
Google has acknowledged that the featured snippets are not yet perfect and have admitted that there is still work to do in order to improve this experience, particularly when it comes to voice activated assistants such as Google Assistant or Google Home devices.
“There are often legitimate diverse perspectives offered by publishers, and we want to provide users visibility and access into those perspectives from multiple sources,” said Matthew Gray, a Google software engineer.
Google has requested that you submit your feedback using the “feedback” link within featured snippets in order to assist with the improvements moving forward.