The featured snippet, or the “Position Zero” was introduced by Google in 2014, which helped websites get a double dip by ranking in both the featured snippet and organic listing on page 1 results. However, on 23rd January this year, Google announced a significant change. The search engine confirmed that from now on, if a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, its listing will no longer be repeated in the search results. This step has been taken to de-clutter the SERPs and help users to locate relevant information more easily. In short, featured snippets will now count as one of the ten web page listings shown. So, featured snippets are now more “organic”. They should now be considered more as the top position to rank for.
What has this change brought about?
When we compare the differences on the first page of SERPs for any particular query before and after the 23rd, there are two significant changes seen
- Before the change, the featured snippet URL would be duplicated as an organic result on the first page of SERPs, generally between positions 1-3, and even if not, it was made sure that the featured snippets came from only page-one results. But, after the change, the featured snippet URL is entirely missing from the page.
- Before the change, the first page of SERPs contained a full list of 10 organic results, along with a special featured snippet box at the top. The 10 organically listed URLs were numbered as ranks 1-10, which is why the featured snippet was referred to as “Position 0”. But, after the change, the featured snippet URL is entirely removed, and not replaced. This means that the organic listings on the first page of SERPs rank only from position 0 to 9.
Are these changes here to stay?
It is expected that these changes are here to stay, at least for a while, but what impact they bring is yet to be seen. There could be two realities –
- First, featured snippets can definitively answer a question and negatively impact CTR, as a concise self-contained answer is already given in the box which does not have people clicking on the URL for further answers.
- Second, featured snippets can act as an incomplete teaser, naturally encouraging clicks. For example, a complete list of items, out of which only a few (4-5) items are shown in the box, and then a “More Items” indicator is given below to compel visitors to click on the URL to get access to the entire list of items.
Concisely, if a featured snippet provides relevant and useful information about a query that the user searches for, it may gain click throughs into the actual link. Lists and answers to questions are two best ways to attract attention and drive search visibility. Thus, one needs to be more strategic with the content on a page and make the most of the featured snippet organic opportunity that Google offers now, as the change is here to stay for a while. You can take help from professional digital marketing services in India who can offer you an all-in-one experience with services of content writing, website designing, website development, and marketing. Such service providers are always constantly aware of the upcoming changes in the SEO world, and can adapt to the changes quicker and better.