Google Tests Contextual Links in Featured Snippets

21 Dec, 2020 Google Features

In late November, Google began testing the addition of contextual links in featured snippets displayed on the search engine results page (SERP). After discovering the contextual links, many digital marketing experts criticized the feature due to its poor user experience and for decreasing the value of featured snippets. Additionally, while Google is currently testing the feature, contextual links may indicate how Google plans to develop its platform.

What is a Featured Snippet Contextual Link?

Contextual links appear within a featured snippet to provide additional information on a keyword or phrase. When a search engine user hovers over the contextual link, a few sentences appear to provide background information along with a listed source page. A person can click on the linked source to be directed to more information. In many cases, contextual links use dictionary or encyclopedia sources.

Criticism of Contextual Links

The discovery of contextual links quickly drew criticism due to the tool’s impact on featured snippets. Contextual links may diminish a featured snippet’s value by potentially directing search engine users to competing websites. This is important, as some companies strive for featured snippets to increase click-through rates to their website. Additionally, contextual links drew criticism of poor user experience by providing potentially confusing information. In some cases, a contextual link provided information that was off topic or irrelevant to the search query or highlighted term. However, Google officials have stated that they plan to refine contextual links as they continue to test the feature.

How Google Results May Change in the Future

Although contextual links have yet to be implemented across Google, the new feature could indicate how the platform may evolve. By adding additional information directly on a Google results page, a search engine user might spend more time on the SERP and be further exposed to advertisements. This extra exposure could lead to an increase in ad traffic and revenue for Google.

As Google continuously updates its platform, it may be important for businesses and organizations to adjust their digital marketing strategy. The knowledgeable digital marketing professionals at BluShark Digital are experienced in monitoring Google updates and modifying tactics to enhance website performance. To see how our team can help, contact us today.