Featured Snippet Study – September 2018

The Latest Data on Featured Snippets and the Knowledge Graph

We’ve tracked over 1.4M queries since July 2015, charting how many of them return featured snippets, Knowledge Graph-based results, and/or enhanced regular snippets in the search results. There are links to our prior studies at the bottom of this post (you can use the quick links above).

We used the same set of queries for all four of our studies. All of the queries were selected because they were deemed likely to be something that could be addressed either by a Knowledge Graph result or a featured snippet result. In other words, all the queries look for a relatively simple, factual response.

There are a few important terms to understand when looking at this data:

  1. The Knowledge Graph is a Google database containing many billions of public domain facts.
  2. A Knowledge Panel is factual information provided by Google that is sourced from their Knowledge Graph, Wikipedia, or both. On desktop devices, this appears to the right of the search results, but on mobile devices it appears in line with the regular search results. Other than in the case of Wikipedia, no attribution is provided to the source of the information (since it’s public domain, that is not required.
  3. A Knowledge Box is factual information provided by Google that is primarily sourced from the Knowledge Graph. On both desktop and mobile devices, this appears in-line with the regular search results. As with the Knowledge Panel, no attribution is provided.
  4. A Featured Snippet is information that Google sources from third-party websites, that is then provided above the organic search results, along with attribution to the page where Google sourced the info.
  5. An Enhanced Snippet is when a regular search result is enhanced with more information, beyond just that of a tile and a description. One example of this is the Sitelinks feature in the search results.
  6. A Rich Answer is any search result that has one or more of the above features present in the result.

One more important point, and then on to the data! In this year’s study, we searched the 1.4M+ search queries using a mobile user agent. This does cause some differences in the way our data is calculated, but we’ll explain those as we go along.

Total Rich Answers

We continue to see growth in the total incidence of Rich Answers, as shown here:

Graphs Show Growth of Total Number of Rich Answers since 2015

Total Featured Snippets

In contrast, we saw a slight drop in total featured snippets:

Graphs Shows Total Numbers of Featured Snippets since 2015

This represents a drop of about 11% in total featured snippets.

Total Knowledge Graph-Based Results

We also saw a somewhat larger drop in total Knowledge Box + Knowledge Panel results, as shown here:

Graphs Shows Total Number of Knowledge Graph Based Results since 2015

The total drop was about 32%.

Total Featured Snippet Results with Videos

The incidence of featured snippets that contain videos, however, went up significantly:

Graphs Show Total Numbers of Featured Snippets with Video Results Since 2015

Comparing Mobile and Desktop

In addition to examining the 1.4M+ results in mobile, we also took a random sampling of 185,075 additional queries, which we also ran with a desktop user agent to compare the results.

Total Rich Answers: Mobile vs. Desktop

The incidence of rich answers on the desktop is noticeably higher than it is for mobile:

Graphs Show Total Numbers of Rich Answer Results on Desktop and Mobile in 2018

Total Featured Snippets: Mobile vs. Desktop

Desktop has the lead here, though by a smaller margin:

Graphs Show Total Numbers of Featured Snippet Results on Desktop and Mobile in 2018

Total Knowledge Graph-Based Results: Mobile vs. Desktop

Graphs Show Total Numbers of Knowledge Graph Based Results on Desktop and Mobile in 2018

Total Featured Snippets with Videos: Mobile vs. Desktop

This one is pretty close to a dead heat:

Graphs Show Total Numbers of Featured Snippet with Video Results on Desktop and Mobile in 2018

A strong presence of videos in featured snippets in mobile makes sense, as videos work very well in mobile environments.

Summary

  1. Rich Answers continue to rise.  Across all of search, Google continues to increase the number of results that go beyond the traditional “blue link” with a two-line description.
  2. Featured Snippets and Knowledge Graph results dip. For the first time, we saw a slight decline in the number of Featured Snippets and Knowledge-graph reuslts across all of search.
  3. Featured Snippets with videos grow. After a sharp dip last year, Google seems to have re-committed to video-based Featured Snippets
  4. All types of Rich Answers are more common on desktop than mobile, including Featured Snippets. However, video Featured Snippets on mobile occur with about the same frequency as on desktop.

Since more and more search slots are being occupied by Rich Answers, it is imperative that you try to earn a place in them for your brand. The easiest to pursue (though still a challenge!) are Featured Snippets. 

Source: Marketing Blogs
Featured Snippet Study – September 2018