Google is always working hard to find new ways of enhancing the user experience on their search results pages (SERP). They change up where ads show on the page or how different types of content shows for different searches and even display videos or allow you to track your flight. Now They are answering your questions with Featured Snippets before you even click on a search result.
There is no question that the SERPs of today look nothing like those from 10 years ago. By now you’ve probably noticed how intuitive Google is getting and how you’re able to get quick answers to your questions faster than ever. This – in big part – is due to what Google now calls Featured Snippets.
Featured Snippets come in a variety of forms but basically it is content Google displays along with normal search results in order to provide you, the searcher, with answers as fast as possible.
Featured Snippets Aren’t New
Featured Snippets have been around since 2013 but back then they were called Answer Box or Knowledge Boxes. To be honest, these were scary and if left as they were, could have done real long-lasting damage to the businesses who depend on organic search results to drive business.
These old Answer Boxes didn’t display a source for the information that was being provided nor did Google give any insight to those of us in the industry as to how we could help provide the data they used. SEO professionals world-wide were collectively squeezing their stress balls hoping something would change. Thankfully it did.
In 2016 Google changed things up quite a bit and introduced what is now called “Featured Snippets”. These are amazing enhancements to the SERP and something associations should be taking full advantage of whenever possible.
Don’t Believe The Naysayers
There are those who have painted these changes in a doom and gloom “OMG I’m going to lose all my search traffic” way, but I’m here to tell you that is absolutely not the case. In fact, you are being given a chance to solidify your position as an authority in your association’s vertical more than ever.
Yes, Google is showing more content on their SERP but there are two major differences that I’d like to point out.
- They are referencing where they are getting the information now so when someone is reading a Featured Snippet they also see your URL if that is where the data originates.
- They are providing us insights into how we can get content into the Featured Snippets.
- BONUS POINT – They are becoming more and more consistent with how and where they pull that data from which gives us a bit of a target to shoot for. Albeit a target that does move from time to time, but still, a target.
So with these changes we can start to see that Google isn’t limiting your ability to gain traffic to your site in an attempt to thwart the success of businesses previously relying on them. Google isn’t looking to go ninja and steal away your money. That’s crazy and their shareholders know doing would be shooting themselves in the foot.
Focus on What is Really Important
As an association it is important to maintain your relevance as an authority in your vertical. Members and prospective members should be looking to you for answers, resources and networking. The way your content is used needs to transcend digital and be taken offline. That means your brand as the “go-to” source of information for your vertical is a must.
What better way to project that authority than a silent endorsement from Google by displaying your content as a Featured Snippet when it counts most? Sure, your traffic may vary now that some of your content is being projected onto the SERP but at the end of the day your audience is accepting your content and statement as a valued statement they can trust.
And that is where we need to focus. Traffic doesn’t mean anything, being the valued resource where users of Google can go to get what they need, that means everything.