Understanding and recognizing query intent is one of the most challenging aspects of search. For many marketers the ability to gain a greater understanding also means an increase in the total number of feature snippets and rich answers across Google.
Featured Snippets and Rich Answers are increasingly serving up across Google. Rich Answers rose to about 1,100,000 in 2019, up from 450,000 last year. Today, Google shows about 40% more Rich Answers on mobile than on desktop.
Featured Snippets -- which are more common on desktop than on mobile by a margin of about 11% -- rose this year to nearly 400,000 overall, up from about 350,000 in 2018, but down from 400,500 in 2017.
Perficient Digital analysts set out to determine what drives growth for Featured Snippets and Rich Answers, and why it's important for publishers to consider these strategies.
The goal was to analyze 1.4 million search queries to measure the state of featured snippets and analyze a large number of queries that have potential to generate a featured snippet. Analysts then looked at the number of the results, as well as how these results have changed in time. This is the fifth straight year of the study.
The fluctuations are important to watch, according to Eric Enge, general manager of digital marketing at Perficient, mainly because they provide an indication that Google will continue to invest in the technology that makes them work.
The rise in Rich Answers means fewer opportunities for websites to rank in these results unless marketers adapt strategies, Enge wrote in an email to Search Insider.
“One of the big keys to continuing to get significant traffic from Google is to adopt strategies that enable content to rank within Google’s search features,” he wrote.
For example, Enge explains, it's important to create content that earns featured snippets from Google. Marketers can also create images that serve-up in image search. This year’s study shows dramatic growth, compared with last year, in image carousels.
Enge also suggests creating videos that serve up in the Google search engine page results, which are also prominent in their results.
Finally, he believes it’s necessary to address other search features, such as the local results, news results, when appropriate, and create more content that addresses the long tail of search, queries with four or more words. These queries with four or more words in them comprise about 70% of all searches.