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Google Featured Snippets Update

Google announced an update to featured snippets. For some featured snippets results, Google will take the users to the relevant text on the web page.

Google Featured Snippets Update

Google SearchLiaison announced via Twitter that Google had updated Featured Snippets. Clicking on many featured snippets will take a user directly to the text that is relevant to the search query.

This change isn’t happening to all featured snippets. It’s only happening where Google has a high confidence of being able to direct users straight to the content.

Here’s the tweet:

It was also announced that there is no special markup needed, nothing to add, in order for Google to send users directly to the content.

Something that wasn’t announced is that Google is highlighting the text.

Clicking a featured snippet that has the new feature leads to a page with the relevant text highlighted.

Here’s a screenshot of a section of a page that was in a featured snippet:

Google featured snippets leads to highlighted text

What’s interesting is that Google changes the URL and adds extra parameters to it:

Google adds URL parameters to featured snippets that lead to relevant text when clicked.

The added URL parameters in the example above are longer. I enlarged the URL to show how there are new URL parameters that relate to highlighted text.

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I don’t know if it’s possible but this might open up a way to track user visits to a site from featured snippets when the featured snippets use the new URL parameters.

It appears that this bit of code is what’s triggering the highlighting effect:

#:~:text=

Here’s a close up of the URL parameter

Screenshot close up of URL parameter

You can recreate the highlighting effect on your own web page. The way to do it is to add the above URL parameter to your own web page, then after the equal sign (=), add words from that web page. Those words will turn into highlighted text.

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Here’s an example of where I added the URL parameters and recreated the highlighted text:

URL parameters create highlighted text

If it’s indeed possible to do that then a publisher may be able to track Google referrals more accurately.

This feature was previously exclusive to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is an HTML framework that displays content to mobile users in a way that downloads quickly.

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Now this feature that directs users straight to the relevant content is available for HTML pages, too.

This change will be good for users as well as publishers, making for happy campers all around.

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience. He provides site audits, phone consultations and content and link ... [Read full bio]

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