Google tests multifaceted featured snippets in desktop sear…


Earlier this year Google began rolling out multifaceted featured snippets in the mobile search results. Now Google has begun testing showing multifaceted featured snippets in the desktop search results as well.

What are multifaceted featured snippets? As we described when they launched on mobile, Multifaceted featured snippets will be surfaced for queries that are sufficiently broad enough to allow for more than one interpretation of what was submitted. In these instances, the search results returned will include more than one featured snippet, with the original query rewritten as the questions the algorithm assumes the user may have intended, and the results displayed in the multifaceted snippet will reflect those new questions.

Why does Google show them? Not all queries entered by searchers are so clear. So giving a searcher a single answer to an unclear query that can have one or more answers is dangerous. Google can give searchers two answers by giving different ways to understand the query. Here is a screen shot from when it launched on mobile:

Google is testing these on desktop. Now Google is testing showing these multifaceted featured snippets on desktop search results as well. Here are some tweets showcasing the test:

It appears this test is no longer active and has yet to roll out in search to all searchers.

Why does it matter? Showing up in the featured snippet section can be a huge win for a website. Featured snippets, also referred to as position zero, can drive a significant amount of traffic to a site from Google Search. But if Google begins showing multiple featured snippets in a single search result, that can impact how much traffic you would get from Google. So keeping an eye on how featured snippets change on both desktop and mobile is important.


About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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