Google’s New SERP Feature: Carousel Snippet (not yet seen in the UK)

3 min read

Avatar Sophie Rizan

11th February, 2019

Advanced SEO Techniques,Online marketing,SEO

What is a featured snippet on Google?

A featured snippet is Google’s attempt of instantly answering a user’s search query by presenting a summary answer in the search engine results page (SERP). This is usually displayed at the top of Googles search results. This displays below the PPC adverts and above the organic results.

This answer is extracted from a web page and includes the page’s title and URL. The words used in the search query are often highlighted in bold in the snippet.

What’s so great about featured snippets?

What are the different types of featured snippets?

Google currently display six different types of featured snippets in SERP.

  1. Paragraph
  2. Lists
  3. Tables
  4. Youtube
  5. Text from Video
  6. Carousel

Their newest feature being the ‘carousel snippet’, this has initially been launched in the US and has not yet reached any other market.  It looks something like the below, IQ-bubbles of suggested keywords. Moz studied this new carousel feature in the US, finding the lowest amount of bubbles on a carousel was 3 and the highest being 10.

These major updates in the snippet feature are Googles attempt to answer our questions quicker, keeping people on the search engine, rather than interacting with a site. This poses obvious challenges for SEO’s!

What is a carousel snippet and how does it work?

This feature really does what it says on the tin. Google displays a carousel of keywords displayed in little bubbles. The longer the carousel, the more long-tail the terms become in attempt to provide you with more information around your search query. Similar to the below:

When you click on one of these suggested bubbles, JavaScript takes over and replaces the initial ‘master’ snippet with one that answers a brand new query. This new query is now a combination of your original search term and the bubble text.

For example. If you searched “savings account rates” and clicked the ‘capital one’ carousel bubble, you’d now be looking at a snippet for “savings account rates capital one”. This intelligent algorithm is constantly learning about those most clicked on bubbles and how it solved the search query.

Now, once you have clicked on the bubble, the carousel appears at the top of the results page. This makes room for the “search for” link at the bottom, when clicked it becomes a whole new SERP for that query.

Google actually call these carousel bubbles “IQ-Bubbles”, silly we know! We have also seen them referred to a ‘refinement bubbles’ or ‘related search bubbles’

What feeds the carousel?

With most featured snippets, the information is mostly already available in the organic results – not the carousel. We found that only 10.6% of carousel bubbles are on the 100-result SERP. This means that over 89% of the bubbles source if unaccounted for – that’s a lot of content pulled into new results!

We wanted to be able to work with Google to understand this carousel feature and how we can help our customers.

Turns out, 63% of bubble snippets came from sites that were already competing on the SERP, Google is just serving more varied content. This mean that there is more competition for new content to be shown in the SERP, which is good news really!

As a user, it is important to remember that some of these bubbles aren’t there to answer your questions directly, but to expand your knowledge around the initial search query.

Normally, over 97% of featured snippets are sourced from the first page and 29% of those are typically from position 3 and above. Carrousel bubble snippets are only from the top 10 ranks 36% of the time, in fact under 5% of the bubble snippets are taken from the first three positions.

I want all the featured snippets!

Next we asked ourselves, can you own more than one answer on a carousel snippet? And the answer was a resounding: you most definitely can.

First we discovered that you can own both the parent snippet and a bubble snippet. We saw this occur on 16.71 percent of our carousel snippets.

Just over half of the carousel snippets had two or more bubbles that came from the same domain. And as many as 2.62% had a domain that owned every bubble present!

When is it coming the UK?

Google are currently testing this feature in the USA and hasn’t yet been seen in the UK or other markets. Once they have gathered enough data to deploy this featured snippet, we will be able to dive a lot deeper into the UK market for this featured snippet.

If you want to appear on the first page of Google for your desired keywords, then you need some organic search support. Our experienced team of SEO’s are on hand to help and deliver a local SEO, national or international SEO campaign. Get in touch today and discuss your project’s needs!

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