Google Introduces New Featured Expandable Snippets with Dropdown Subtopic Tabs

As the next move in a series of changes to update the way in which people interact with search results, Google has rolled out a brand new type of featured snippet that gives searchers the opportunity to easily explore in-depth information on the topic they’ve searched, with dropdown tabs that further expand on sub-topics.

In a blog post last Thursday, Google announced the new snippet type, and mentioned they are designed to display answers to people’s most common questions when searching on a topic, and help them sift through the most relevant information as fast as possible. The dropdown panels that appear are automatically generated, based on the availability of quality information for any topic and the most popular sub-questions that people have.

Google gave the following example of the expandable snippet for the search term “Quartz vs Granite” with the image below.

When will these expandable snippets appear?

As with the example of ‘quartz vs granite’ provided above by Google, currently these expandable snippets will only be triggered by searches asking for comparisons between two things, with the subtopics focussing on the factors which can be used to compare each selection. According to Google’s blog post, these have already started to roll out, and will become more prevalent over the next few days, eventually moving beyond comparisons and providing expandable subtopics for any variation of searches.

However, if you’re planning on heading straight to Google to search for comparisons like ‘diesel vs petrol’ or ‘electric guitar vs acoustic guitar’, you might want to think twice: according to the search engine giant, this new type of snippet will be automatically generated based on the data that they have about search preferences, so there’s no specific keywords or searches that will trigger the fancy new features you’re looking for.

What does this new feature mean for SEO?

Without doubt, websites looking to place themselves well on search engines such as Google should look at the new featured snippet types as a fantastic opportunity to cement their website as a knowledge base and leader in their area. Each different subtopic Google will need to pull a quote from a website that’s credible and contains enough information to answer question.

What other changes and features might Google have on the way for Search?

Earlier in the year, Google announced multifaceted featured snippets, where answers will be given for different questions in cases where searches aren’t clearly related to just one topic. Based on this, along with last week’s announcement, there are sure to be more changes to featured snippets on the way – if we go by the news attendees heard at a Google event in Singapore back in July, this is certainly the case.

At this event, Google previewed new featured snippet types – including How-to, Q&A, and FAQ – all of which contained the dropdown menus that we see in the snippet type announced last week. Based on this, you’ll be able to see that Google has big plans for featured snippets in the year to come, and is likely set to become one of the cornerstones of search.

To read more of our blog posts about SEO and content strategies, take a look at our Pure SEO blog. For a quick chat with one of our Digital Marketing Consultants, give us a call or complete our contact form.

Rachel Matela

Rachel is a Filipino Kiwi with a passion for the arts. Having graduated with an Arts Degree in English from UoA, she found writing work at PureSEO as a Junior Copywriter and quickly moved on to the role of Editor. In her spare time, she reads Austen and teaches dance classes in the weekend.

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