Earlier this month, Google announced an algorithm update aimed at generating more timely and helpful information through featured snippet results. This algorithm update is designed to focus on search queries that require timely information even if the keywords entered into the search engine don’t necessarily spell out that requirement.
An example that Google provided was when a user is searching for something like “income brackets.” In that instance, it’s most likely that you’re hoping to find a result that highlights tax information for the current year as opposed to last year—even though you didn’t specifically search for “2019 income brackets.”
“As part of our ongoing efforts to make Search work better for you, a new algorithm update improves our systems’ understanding of what information remains useful over time and what becomes out-of-date more quickly,” Pandu Nayak of Google wrote earlier this month. “This is particularly helpful for featured snippets, a feature in Search that highlights pages that our systems determine are most likely to have the information you’re looking for. For queries where fresh information is important, our systems will try to find the most useful and up-to-date featured snippets.”
Other examples of search results referenced in the release that would be impacted by the Google featured snippet algorithm update included “the next full moon,” “the winner of a reality TV show,” “upcoming holidays,” “TV premiere dates” or the latest “food recall.”
Some additional examples for businesses in the HR space would be the latest requirement for overtime rules or updated safety regulations. For healthcare organizations, those updated featured snippet results could also relate to the latest breakthroughs in the treatment of diseases or updates on the release of new medications.
By using a tool like SEMrush or other similar SEO platforms, you can quickly identify which pages on your site are ranking for a featured snippet. You can also identify which featured snippets are available in your space that a competitor currently ranks for. From there, you can conduct an audit of those featured snippet results and identify any that fit into this timely results category.
By adding the latest and freshest content related to those featured snippet queries, you will put yourself in a position to maintain featured snippet results as well as capture new ones moving forward.
If you had a blog post detailing the latest overtime rules and regulations from 2019 that was currently earning a featured snippet, for example, adding a section to that page about the 2020 regulations and how they differ from the prior year could help maintain that snippet within the constraints of this new algorithm update. Similarly, if another site is ranking for the 2019 regulations, creating a blog that focus solely on 2020 could be a way to capture a new snippet result away from that competitor with the less timely content.
Have more questions about how you can rank better in the search engines? Get our free SEO checklist today.