Featured Snippets in Google: what has changed and how to be

According to the article by Peter Meyers (Dr. Peter J. Meyers), a famous Western SEO-experts and academics Moz.

In 2014, Google introduced "selected description» (featured snippets snippets or elected) - promoted by organic units, which are called "zero position" in the SEO-sector or "position number 0".

Initially, one of the advantages of getting into these blocks were duplicate links to the site on the first page of the main issue (usually in the top 3-4).

January 23, 2020 Google announced a significant change in the work of selected snippets, which the company called "deduplication". It consisted in the exclusion of those links that show up in the blocks with the answers from the main issue, in order to avoid duplication. The update was launched worldwide.

Although the word "de-duplication" seems pretty harmless, in fact it was a major change in the featured snippets. In this article we look at some examples and we shall understand, what consequences this entails updating for SEO.

As Google considers to 10?

Let's look deeper at what it was before and after the change in delivery.

In the screenshot below - search results on the desktop (only the left-hand column) at the request of [LCD vs LED] on January 21:

In the screenshot, we can clearly see that the URL favorite snippet is duplicated on the first position in the organic issue (note: we added the green blocks and remove the unit from a related search).

These sites are not always occupied the first position in the issue, but in most cases the URL of the units with responses ranged 1-3 position.

Below - a screenshot of the same SERP on January 23:

You can see the URL of favorite snippet is not only absent in the 1st position, but does not appear on the first page.

Let's take another look at the SERP of 21 January, but now numbered:

Note that even with the chosen snippet on the page is displayed only 10 organic results.

Now look at the numbered SERP on January 23:

Dubbed the URL was not moved, he was sent off. Therefore, on the page there are only 10 results, including elected snippet.

If we started counting from # 0, we would obtain a first page SERP positions from # 0 to # 9.

How about double snippets?

In rare cases, Google may show just two favorite snippet. Below - an example of such request by issuing [Irish baby names] dated January 21:

In the screenshot, we have identified URL-s in the main issue, to show that to the URL-s renovation of the two selected snippets to appear on the first page.

Quick calculation also shows that in this case was 10 SERP conventional organic results and the results of all 12 (including the two selected snippet).

Below - the same SERP on January 23, but numbered:

In this case, both the URL of your favorite snippets were removed from the primary issue and on the page with only 10 results in total.

We see the same pattern with the other functions of the SERP, such as "Breaking News" and carousel videos that take up organic position.

Regardless of the combination chosen snippet is now considered as one of the 10 per page dispensing.

What about right-blocks?

Recently, Google introduced a hybrid format of search results in the issuance of a desktop that looks like a bar of knowledge, but also includes information from the organic results - as a favorite snippet.

Below - an example of 21 January (only panel):

The main issue URL Wordstream company ranked on position number 3:

After 22 January this URL is already regarded as a duplicate and missing the main issue.

In the case of right-sided block deduplication has caused a wide resonance in the SEO-community. Unlike selected snippets that are placed in the top dispensing right panels differently perceived by users and may reduce the CTR.

In response to criticism of Google has decided to "roll back" the change and canceled the deduplication blocks for right answers.

Our data set shows the beginning of a turn 29 January (a week after the initial change). At the moment, the chosen snippet, which are displayed on the right of the search results (about 30% of all featured snippets from a sample of 10 000 words, tracked MozCast), URL again duplicated in the main issue.

In the near future, Google plans to move the blocks in the left column, but how it will look and whether they will become a tradition featured snippets or evolve into a new element, is unclear.

How to block the creation of selected snippets from the content site

Almost at the same time, when Google announced a change in the featured snippets, optimizers talking about blocking selected snippets, and some people started asking about "deoptimization" content.

Although "deoptimization" sounds too innocuous at first glance, in fact it means making your content is worse, that it ranked lower. And it threatens to decline in CTR.

It is important to know that there are safer options. The oldest of the currently available options - a directive meta-nosnippet. But we would recommend to consider it as a last resort. For example, a recent experiment showed that meta-nosnippets blocks all snippets / description, including organic snippet.

In 2019 it became available two more options for work. Thus directive meta-max-snippet limits the number of characters in the search snippets (both isolated and organic). It looks something like this:

 <Meta name = "robots" content = "max- snippet: 50"> 

Setting the value of max-snippet to zero should, in fact, work as well as nosnippet directive. However, playing with intermediate values, you can save your organic snippet, while controlling or blocking the selected description.

Another relatively new option - it is HTML-attribute data-nosnippet. This attribute allows you to select the content that should be blocked in the snippet. For instance:

 <span
data-nosnippet> I will take this content to the grave! </ span> 

Attribute data-nosnippet useful in cases where the information is displayed in the part of the page in the snippet or snippet does not answer the question properly. It is important to remember that Google can choose any other part of the page to create a dedicated description.

It is also important to remember that in some cases, the content of the selected snippet is announced as a voice answers. Therefore, if you block snippets using one of the methods described above, you also block the use of this content for voice responses.

Creating a dedicated description does not guarantee the use of this content in voice search, but if you are interested in the rankings in this vertical, then we must act cautiously. Also remember that there is no voice search position number 2.

Do I need to worry?

We expect that these changes will continue - at least not for a while. However, we know very little about the impact of selected snippets on the search results and websites after January 22.

At the beginning of 2018 Moz had a major internal study, in which we found that the effect of selected snippets virtually impossible to determine, because the available information (clickstream-data, and Google Search Console data) made it impossible to understand what gets clicks: Selected snippets or duplicated in organic issuing URL.

Probably, there are two realities. In one case, elected snippets unequivocally answer the question and adversely affect the CTR. If possible brief, exhaustive answer, then users do not need to go to the site. You have already given them what they need.

In another case, the chosen snippet works as a part-teaser that naturally encourages clicks (if the information is worthy of attention).

For example, in the case of the search results for [science fair ideas]:

Link «More items» is a clear indication that the list is not exhaustive, and going to the site, the user will find more information.

Lists, and instructions - these are the types of content that are particularly well suited for the formation of selected snippets in teaser format.

Considering all the above, we would not recommend to give up favorite snippets. Providing answers to questions from users, you improve their experience and gain greater visibility in search.

As soon as we learn more about the impact of selected snippets on CTR, it will be possible to talk about a more strategic approach. While only one well known: featured snippets - are organic opportunities that will not disappear in the foreseeable future.

Source: Moz.com
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