HomeDIGITAL MARKETINGSEO: The First Conclusions Of The Featured Snippets Update

SEO: The First Conclusions Of The Featured Snippets Update

Very shortly after the deployment of the update concerning the American search engine’s featured snippets, the seoClarity platform decided to conduct a study to see if the changes were fundamental and what the challenges would be. Your SEO agency reveals the conclusions of this study.

A Return To The Update

This is a subject we were already talking about ten days ago: the display of featured snippets now has “fewer advantages” after the update by Danny Sullivan and his team. As a reminder, a featured snippet is displayed in position zero of a search engine and comes from one of the results on the first page.

The latter provides a clear and concise answer, usually to a question, without the user having to visit the page. This update started on January 22. Once your content appears in position zero, it can no longer appear in organic results on the first page of the SERP. 

However, this was true for over 85% of featured snippets.  It is a means of offering a greater variety of relevant information to the user. Thus, in most cases, the organic result of the featured snippet in question now slips into the second page of the search engine. Danny Sullivan nevertheless insisted that this would not be a general truth. Some results will be displayed on the third page of the SERP, as may be the case of one of our contents, which appears in position zero.

A Zero Position To Avoid?

It is, indeed, a reflection that one could have, at least at first sight; is a place in a featured snippet still more advantageous than two possible organic results on the first page of the SERP? Yes, it seems strange, but removing yourself from the list to appear in the featured snippets is possible. The maneuver is carried out using an HTML tag named “nosnippet.” 

Danny Sullivan explains it more in-depth on the Google webmaster blog, with the technical points to adjust for your site. We can consider this option as a “tactical” choice in your organic SEO strategy. And this is the reflection that some specialists have. Nevertheless, this idea is very quickly diffused; indeed, intentionally withdrawing from featured snippets would have a detrimental impact for two significant reasons:

  1. The performance generated, succeeding in placing on a zero position (especially a featured snippet in this case), testifies to good referencing. But this represents above all the impact: you will have an obvious advantage over your competition. Also, you’ll boost your conversions, and according to HubSpot, you’ll be able to increase your CTR by 114% on extensive searches. And this is even about the first result of this zero position (now considered the number one position out of the ten results on a page).
  2. Voice search, announced as a leading SEO trend for the year 2020, it would indeed be miserable to want to withdraw from featured snippets. The impact of voice search on organic SEO is significant; 90% of responses from the Google voice assistant come from featured snippets according to seoClarity. Although this is an area where you have to be the best because even second place loses, choosing the option to remove yourself from featured snippets intentionally does not make sense; the use of voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, is increasing and will allow you to reach a wider audience.

A Well-Deployed Update

These lines of thought are helpful and inspiring. However, they will not replace practice and the results displayed “in the field.” The first stage of the study, carried out by seoClarity, was to analyze two million searches on keywords, on January 22 and 23, just before and after the Google update. The goal was to see if the deletion of duplicate domain names on the first page of the SERP had been done.

Considering position zero as one of the ten results of the SERP, there were almost 90% of the 250,000 keywords analyzed by seoClarity, displayed a duplicate in the first ten results, including 28% of featured snippets, also expressed in the second position. Following the update, featured snippets that display another domain name in the top 10 results are almost no longer present on Google’s SERP, with 0.8% announced by seoClarity, as of January 23.

What Changes?

The second step of the seoClarity study consisted of comparing the organic traffic between January 15 and 16 and then between January 22 and 23. That is, a few days before the update and the day following this same update. The objective was to see if there were any fluctuations to be noted, following the reservations that sure SEOs had, to maintain a similar click-through rate. seoClarity divided its research into several areas, and the results are as follows:

  1. Two analyzed sectors remained the same due to the study: the travel and electronics industries. For the first, seoClarity processed different formats of featured snippets through other informational search queries. For the second, the American platform has remained the same for all featured snippets.
  2. For the automotive industry, informational intent queries on featured snippets in paragraph format saw no significant changes. While on featured snippets in numbered list format, seoClarity noted a slight increase in observed traffic but nothing very impactful.
  3. Considered a little more unstable by the American platform, the financial industry, which had experienced a drop in traffic between the 15th and the 16th, did not experience any noticeable change after the update.

What To Remember?

This seoClarity study reveals that Google’s update is (almost) ideally deployed, with less than 1% of pages displaying domain names in the top 10 organic results. Regarding specialists’ reservations about a drop in the click rate, it is still too early to make a definitive statement.

But there are no notable changes, except for slight fluctuations in specific sectors. Therefore, we will have to be attentive over the next few months to see if these changes remain insignificant and do not affect digital players in the long term. Anyway, continue to use your SEO agency to optimize your natural referencing! Its organic SEO specialists will help you ideally in your projects with a strategy adapted to your needs and realistic objectives. 

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