Google today announced it is beginning to roll out “multifaceted featured snippets” to Search with a view to providing more accurate results to questions that are asked. Specifically, Google is looking to add context to its search results as it understands that even questions that seem initially detailed, might not be adequately answered by the current featured snippets implementation which itself was greatly improved in December, 2017.
Featured snippets are best understood as the richer and more prominently placed answers that show up when a question is asked or answer searched for. During the previous upgrade, featured snippets gained more details and in some cases, a greater use of imagery. The idea being they are now more richer than they were before. However, that is only useful if the featured snippet actually answers the question asked in the content that is sought. For example, in the Google-provided image below the question asked is “garden needs full sun?” Here, the user could be asking what garden plants need full sun? or what does full sun actually mean? Herein is the issue Google is looking to solve with multifaceted featured snippets. As instead of receiving one featured snippet which may or may not be relevant to the actual question asked, Search will now start to show multiple featured snippets with each one looking to answer different variations of the question. As shown in the image below with both examples of the ‘full sun’ question generating their own featured snippet results with richer information.
This is actually something Google hinted at back in January when it released a blog posting providing some insight on how featured snippets work in general, and some of the issues that the technology still encounters. As part of that announcement Google stated it was exploring different solutions to ensure featured snippets are as accurate, relevant, and consistent as possible. One of those explorations was the use of multiple responses. Which, now based on today’s announcement, seems to have moved from a considered feature to one that is rolling out. Though, as this is a new feature and one that is in a constant state of refinement, it might take some time to show up on all Search platforms, or for that matter, in response to all questions that may have more than one meaning.