Google Tests Double Featured Snippets

Several people have recently reported seeing double featured snippets in Google search results. A double featured snippet is a featured snippet with a second featured snippet beneath it. This arrangement effectively shows information from two websites and advertising in the space normally showing ten websites.

Here is a screenshot of the tweet:

Google Tests Double Featured Snippets

Many others on Twitter responded that they too have spotted the double featured snippet.

Here is an example of another Double Snippet:

Screenshot of a twitter tweet of a screenshot showing double snippets in Google's search resultsA Twitter user posted a screenshot of a double featured snippet in Google’s search results.

A double snippet with advertising on top results in just two organic listings and ads. Some people on Twitter complained about how it’s crowding out eight potential search listings.

I asked Tony Wright, CEO of WrightIMC about this. Tony observed that double snippets represent an opportunity for search marketers.

“From an optimization standpoint I love the fact that there is more than one chance for my site to appear as the answer in a double snippet.”

This makes a lot of sense. The top search listing grabs the most search results. The second listing the next biggest share. From positions three and lower the click through rate decreases exponentially. It’s almost not worth ranking in those positions.

Another way to look at this is that Google is likely showing these kinds of double featured snippets for results for which the user intent is clear and unambiguous. Otherwise, these the double featured snippets would crowd out the alternative user intents.

Triple Panel Search Results

Bill Hunt of Back Azimuth Consulting (@billhunt) observed that Google is showing triple panels. Triple panels consist of  an advertising panel on top, followed by a featured snippet panl, followed by a People Also Ask (PAA) panel.

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As you can see below, this effectively shows just one organic result from a single web page. That’s it.

So if you liked the double featured snippets, you’re going to love the triple panels.

Screenshot showing a triple panel search resultThis search result features just a single organic link, sandwiched between sponsored links above and a People Also Ask panel beneath it.

Bill Hunt’s example search query that triggered a triple panel result is vague ((Best Smart TV’s).  Google in increasingly encouraging users to drill down to more specific queries with features such as the People Also Ask panels. This results in a closer match to what users are really looking for.

Does a user want a 70 inch 4k TV?  Or does a user want a 40 inch smart TV? What is a “best” smart TV is an incredibly vague search query.

Bill Hunt sees the opportunity and observes:

“Google added secondary queries like “Under 50 and 42 inch” smart TVs. Second tier sites capitalized on it and got the drill down.

My take is not enough people monitor this and think about it – while not scaleable it is great for precision matching in the drill down which will get you traffic and most importly sales. Further, you may have only 1 chance at a listing so why not work to get one of these.”

What that means is that the value of that vague query  is in the drill down opportunities that Google presents to users. The real opportunity lies in scoring in the more precise search results (SERPs), for queries such as “Which brand is best for Smart TV, etc.

Look for the Opportunity

When Google makes a change, a common response is to kick a rock and lament that life’s unfair. I think it’s notable that two of the industries most respected search marketers viewed these changes as opportunities.

I tend to agree. There’s no percentage is doing nothing. But there’s a lot of upside in understanding what the changes mean and the opportunities that are waiting to be discovered.