Google Makes Big Changes to Featured Snippet Search Results

02 Feb, 2020 Google Features

Google announced last week that it will be making changes to the way we see snippets on the search engine results page (SERP). Prior to the update, it was possible for web pages in the featured snippet position to appear twice on the first page. This will no longer be the case, however. Web pages in a featured snippet position now will no longer be repeated in regular organic listings.

A featured snippet is a block of information that may appear on the top of a search engine results page when a keyword or phrase is searched. Snippets contain a special excerpt of information pertaining to the search. The goal of a featured snippet is to immediately answer a user’s query.

This update is significant in the world of SEO, and it may change the way we think about the featured snippet position. In the past, winning the featured snippet position was a celebrated achievement. In many cases, websites were able to hold the #1 spot on the results page while simultaneously appearing on a featured snippet, allowing for maximum exposure and traffic to the website. One study from seoClarity suggested that 28% of duplicate listings also appeared at the top of the page for organic search rankings.

After the new update, the jury is still out as to whether or not holding a featured snippet spot remains a positive. Many Google users have become accustomed to ignoring featured listings, such as ads, “People Also Ask”, and snippets. For this reason, holding the top organic position is extremely valuable to a website’s clicks. Now that websites will only be able to hold either the featured snippet or the top organic position, companies are unsure as to which spot is more desirable.

Google is referring to the changes as “Deduplication”, and here’s what we know so far according to their SearchLiaison:

  1. Deduplication is global
  2. Video featured snippets, top stories, and interesting finds are not affected
  3. There will be no changes in Google Search Console performance reports

As of now, Google has stopped deduplicating right-sidebar featured snippets, but this may not last long.

Although Google plans to deduplicate right-sidebar featured snippets in the future, sites are currently able to hold the right-sidebar position and appear simultaneously on the search page. Additionally, Google has mentioned that right-sided featured snippets will eventually make the move to the top-left of the page. We recommended that site owners pay close attention to their traffic in the immediate future in order to monitor how any upcoming changes may affect their site’s performance.

This is just one of many changes that Google has made to the SERP within the past year, with more likely coming in the near future.