Google's Featured Snippet Update and Its Impact on Organic Traffic

 Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Google's Featured Snippet Update and Its Impact on Organic Traffic

By now, we all know about featured snippets and their utility in driving higher clicks from the organic search results. 

A featured snippet is an instant, mostly to-the-point, and concise result to a user query. It is placed in a box above all other search results, thus flaunting a “position 0” and attracting higher hits from the relevant audience. Here’s how a featured snippet looks like -

However, the concept and era of position 0 have now come to an end. 

A recent and retroactively-announced update from Google has blurred the existence of position 0. Now, if a URL has been listed as a featured snippet, Google prevents showing it in the core search results. 

The change was rolled out on Wednesday, 22nd January 2020. The effect of the update was noticed by the users on the very day and they actively communicated their new-found discovery on Twitter. Danny Sullivan was quick to confirm the update and he further shared more insights about deduplication of featured snippets. 

To put it simple, featured snippets are now nothing but a part of organic search results. 

If a URL has been elevated to featured snippet position, Google won’t show it twice in the search results, as it will now count it as position 1. Hereon, there will be no 11 listings on the first page of Google but only 10 - snippet URL topping the search results + 9 other unique organic listings. 

Here’s more that you need to know - 

  • An image in the featured snippet won't be deduplicated if its URL is different from the text version of the featured snippet
  • Local listings, top stories, People Also Ask (PAA), bubbles, image carousels, and other vertical search integrations are not deduplicated, as they are not featured snippets
  • When you lose your featured snippet position, you will simply roll down to a normal organic listing, appearing in Google’s top SERP results. 

Impact of Deduplication Update on Organic Search Results

SEO webmasters and website owners can keep their calm, as the deduplication change leads to no alarming change in organic search results. 

Mark Traphagen, VP of Product Marketing and Training for seoClarity, said to Search Engine Journal:

“There was no statistically significant difference in organic Google traffic sent to these pages after they lost the duplicate listing on page one, based on an analysis of real traffic data for featured snippet listings across multiple industries.”

Do note that post update, some minor traffic fluctuations were detected in specific sectors like the auto and finance industry, but these were very similar to everyday fluctuation observed in the prior weeks. 

We hope this was an insightful read. Stay in the loop with Walibu for more trending news and industry updates. We are a dedicated team of SEO strategists, tech enthusiasts, and web designers - we work to generate higher business and brand awareness for our clients. 

Connect with us here to discuss your web, marketing, or custom software needs.