Should a brand name automatically own the featured snippet for any Google search query that includes their brand name? And what about if there isn’t a relevant page on the brand’s site to show in relation to the query, but there is on another website? Should it just go to the best and most relevant result, since that is what is best for users?
There was an interesting discussion about this in the recent Google Webmaster Office Hours, about issues with featured snippets where the query is related to a brand, yet the brand owner isn’t the one with the featured snippet, but someone else is.
This is actually something that is pretty common when you do product searches. Very often it is not the brand site ranking for these featured snippets – although it can be.
One thing that we sometimes see is that someone else is ranking for a product that they’re selling and sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
Sometimes people write about a product people are selling, especially if you are looking at kind of like a product name and then some alternatives or product name and some other words together, then sometimes that’s something other people would rank for.
Or like a product name plus coupons for example, that is kind of normal that you would see these coupon sites ranking there instead of your page where maybe you don’t even have any coupons.
For example, if someone is searching for “How much sugar is in Pepsi”, chances are good that Pepsi doesn’t have a page dedicated to their sugar content, but that another site probably does. Same with the coupons example – if someone is searching for “<brand> coupons” and Google returns a featured snippet for the brand but it has no coupons content or actual coupons on the page, then searchers would think that is a bad search result, since Google isn’t giving them what they are looking for.
It would also become more complicated if this was something Google would have to enforce. Should the manufacturing company get the featured snippet, the distributor or the retailer? What about when there are multiple retailers? What if it varies per country? What if a brand prefers a different page to rank as the featured snippet – such as their buy page – and not the information page about the product. It would get very complicated very fast, and not neccessarily serve the searchers with the best results.
That said, there is nothing stopping a brand from owning a featured snippet, and often it is much easier for a brand to earn it than a non-brand. But the key is they need to be serving up useful content for the actual query that spawns the featured snippet in order to do so.
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