On January 22, 2020, Google announced a change to the search results as it relates to featured snippets – and site publishers are worried about it means for their traffic. Watch and listen as Eric Enge, Principal at Perficient Digital, talks about the change and why it’s a good thing for users.
Hi, everybody. Eric Enge here with a Perficient Quick Take on the latest news from Google. In this case, it’s on featured snippets and changes they’re making there. On January 22nd, Danny Sullivan let people know that when a URL is shown in a featured snippet in their search results, that URL will no longer show up in the regular search results down below, at least on the first page.
That’s a pretty big change. Now, it turns out that currently, a lot of people are seeing that URL show up in position 11, if you will, or the first result on the second page. But when people started pointing that out, Danny Sullivan further clarified that there was no guarantee that you would even show up on the second page of the results.
So, why are people concerned about this? Well, first of all, there was already a lot of industry concern that featured snippets would take clicks away from the publishers of the content being used by Google in the featured snippet. So, yes, you show up above all the other search results, but maybe the user gets all the answers they want from that search result and then don’t bother to click through to your website. And, of course, if they click through to your website, it gives you a chance to build more of a relationship with that particular user.
There’s already concern about that. In fact, data from research that we’ve done in a study with AuthorityLabs shows that when a featured snippet is present in a search result, on average, there’s approximately a 3% decline in total clicks in the organic results. This suggests that a significant percentage of users are, in fact, getting all the information they need from the featured snippet. So, this is an area that is going to cause a lot of concern for publishers. It’s easy to understand why, because now I’m not even showing in the regular search results, I’m only in the featured snippet. So, not only might I get fewer clicks, but I’m going to get even fewer clicks because I don’t have that second bite of the apple, as it were.
Let’s take a little bit of a broader perspective on this. The reality is while publishers won’t like this change, it’s probably good for users because if the user got the results shown in the featured snippet, they really didn’t need it showing up again on the first page of the results. So, it’s not entirely surprising that Google would do this because, after all, users rule in situations like this. Also, from a publisher’s perspective, I’m still going to want to try to earn the featured snippet because Google wants to give that featured snippet to someone who has a really good answer to that particular user search query. So, for us as publishers, we should still try to pursue and get those featured snippets. At the end of the day, it’s a good net result for us and our best play. So, that’s it for this particular Proficient Quick Take. Eric Enge here, over and out.
Eric Enge leads the Digital Marketing practice for Perficient Digital. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO. Learn More About Eric Enge