January 23rd 2020 Featured Snippet Update
Coming off the heels of the Google Core Update, is the update to the featured snippets. The featured snippets themselves haven’t really changed but what is below them has. Traditionally, there would be a second link for the same page somewhere in the top ten results (the featured snippet being thought of as position 0). Following the update, the website shown in the featured snippet above the search results will no longer appear in the top ten search results as well. This change has now been rolled out globally.
How many results are now being shown?
The number of results on the page will largely depend upon your search query and your search settings but at the moment there are up to nine search results plus the featured snippet being shown (assuming your settings are to show ten results – if they are to show 100, you’ll get a lot more). This means that the featured snippet is now taking the title of position 1.
Is this featured snippet update good or bad?
This move towards a less-cluttered search results page has some marketers and internet users happy but there are some who are not feeling so friendly towards this change. People took to Twitter to express their opinions after a Tweet posted by Danny Sullivan.
If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat the listing in the search results. This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) 22 January 2020
How will this update to the featured snippets affect my website?
The CTR of featured snippets are lower than those of the page that appears in position one. The featured snippet will receive roughly 8.6% of the clicks and the first position result getting 19.6%. With the removal of the second (duplicate) link on the page, there are worries that people will continue to skip over the featured snippet and instead click on one of the other links that can still be seen in the top ten positions.
Can you opt out of featured snippets?
Yes, you can. It’s not easy, as you may end up having to out out of all snippets but it is possible. Whether or not this is recommended will depend on what happens to your traffic after the update. If you are still having a steady stream of traffic to your website through the snippet then there is no need to opt out of them, as you could end up losing out on traffic. If your traffic takes a serious dive, you should speak to your SEO agency to see what they would recommend and if there is another way to boost the traffic before resorting to this step.
Should you still optimise for featured snippets?
Optimising for featured snippets specifically isn’t that easy but generally they are chosen for being the most relevant and informative pages, with the content laid out in an easy-to-digest way. As this is the type of content you will want for your website anyway, you may end up in a featured snippet anyway. Pay attention to your traffic levels to know how important the changes to featured snippets are for you but remember that there is no code to force a page to show up in a featured snippet.