Google publishes comprehensive guide to featured snippets

Google has published one of the most comprehensive explanations yet of their featured snippets in a post on the search blog. Featured snippets, in short, are the quick direct answers you see at the top of the Google search results page that appear in response to some search queries.
In this blog post, Google explains what featured snippets are, the various user interfaces and treatments you can get from these featured snippets and how they interact with desktop, mobile and voice search results. Google says featured snippets are important for mobile search and with voice-activated digital assistants. Google said “in these cases, the traditional ’10 blue links’ format doesn’t work as well, making featured snippets an especially useful format.”
Google added that they will “continue to show regular listings in response to searches along with featured snippets.” That is “because featured snippets aren’t meant as a sole source of information…. …they’re part of an overall set of results we provide,

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How machine learning levels the SERP playing field

We don’t ordinarily think of Google when we think about competition in the digital marketing world, since it seems to reliably dominate most areas in which it does business. A recent segment discussing corporate monopolies on John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight“ hilariously referenced Bing as the dominant search engine with a graphic that stated, “Bing. The best place to Google something.”
For the most part, however, the digital marketing sphere has been a fairly competitive landscape, though there were exceptions to this maxim. Established brands frequently dominated top SERP positions because of long-standing trust, fresh domains had to wait their turn in line, and black-hat SEO allowed webmasters to game the system and deliver high rankings for thin content. A decade ago, SEO agencies and webmasters could apply simple heuristics and buzzworthy keywords to rank content regardless of its utility to user intent or actual quality.
The Hummingbird update and subsequent rollout of RankBrain changed all of these notions

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Inside the new Google Search Console at SMX East

If you’re an SEO, odds are good that you live and breathe inside the Google Search Console every day. The good news is that Google is about to significantly upgrade the Search Console with an extensive redesign to better serve you.
As reported by Barry Schwartz on Search Engine Land, Google’s new Search Console will:

Provide more actionable insights
Offer better support of your organizational workflow, and
Enable faster feedback loops between you and Google.

Want to learn more about how Google interacts with your site and content or about its algorithms, ranking factors and other components of Google’s “black box?” Attend the AMA With Google Search session at SMX East, where Googlers – including members of the Search Console team – answer your questions about SEO and related issues. This popular panel is always lively and informative, and a great way to get direct answers from Google insiders.
Other deep dives at SMX East related to the rich features of the

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What I learned from the Danny Sullivan/Gary Illyes keynote at SMX Advanced

On June 13, 2017, in Seattle, Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan sat down with Google’s Gary Illyes to talk about all things Google. You can read live blog coverage from the session here. In this post, I’ve organized the content of this session into topical groups and added my own analysis.
Note: The questions and answers appearing herein are not direct quotes. I am paraphrasing Sullivan’s questions and Illyes’ answers, as well as providing my interpretation of what was said (and including additional context where appropriate). I’ve also omitted some content from the session.
The featured snippet discussion
Danny Sullivan asked: Are we going to keep getting more featured snippets?
Illyes has no idea about that, but he notes that featured snippets are very important to Google. They want the quality to be really high, and one consideration people don’t normally think about is that, in some cases (e.g., voice search results), the answers may be read out loud.
This example is one of my

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