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Featured Snippets, also known as rank zero, is one of the coveted spots in the search engine results pages. It allows your content to directly reach the users even without them clicking on your URL listing. Of course, featured snippets have been controversial to the zero-click issue with Google, but it’s undeniable that they pose a sense of usefulness for the users. However, Google recently updated the way they display a featured snippet’s URL listing. Is it good or bad?
Featured Snippet DeDuplication Update
Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, announced on Twitter that once a URL is displayed as the featured snippet for a query, the URL listing for that page is automatically removed from the first page for decluttering and efficiency purposes.
What happens to the URL listing is that it gets transferred to the succeeding page. However, our listings that reached rank zero were mostly moved to rank 11 (rank 1, page 2). An important thing to note is that this does not apply when your page’s image is used for the featured snippet. Here’s an example:
In the example above, SEO Hacker’s image is used for the featured snippet. However, when we check the list of URLs in the search results, our page is still ranking number 1. So, we can safely assume that only the page where the snippet’s content is lifted from is the one that gets removed from the first page.
The primary reason for this is because the images do not have a search listing. This means that they’re not “clutter” on the first page. This update is strictly for featured only; other features like the people also ask box are not included.
Another feature of the update that’s important to note is that before the update, there were 11 net listings and 10 unique when there was a featured snippet for the query. However, now that the update has been rolled out, even if there is a featured snippet for a query, there will only be 10 unique and net listings.
Recent Update for Right Side Featured Snippets
Google is currently on-the-move to transfer right-side featured snippets to be inline with the other search results. This is why, a few days ago, they stopped deduplicated the results for queries that have a right-side featured snippet. The screenshot above had the URL listing removed from the first page after the deduplication update, but a few days ago, the URL listing came back even if the page had the featured snippet position.
Losing the Featured Snippet
Most of the reactions I saw regarding the featured snippet deduplication update involved people asking the negative implications of losing their URL listing on the first page of the search results. Since there will always be times where a user prefers to click on a URL listing instead of the featured snippet – especially if the featured snippet was unable to answer the user’s query.
So, webmasters and SEOs asked what happens if they lose the featured snippet spot. Danny Sullivan confirmed that when the URL loses featured snippet, the deduplication ends and the page goes back to its original position since it was originally on the first page, to begin with.
This means that it’s up to you, as the webmaster/SEO, to adjust your current strategy if you still want the rank zero spot or not. I suggest you experiment with what works and what doesn’t since not all featured snippets lead to success. I’ve experienced having reached rank zero but we still did not experience any increase in traffic whatsoever, so I suggest you try it out for yourself.
To reiterate, here are the important features for the deduplication update:
- URL Listing for featured snippet will be removed from the first page
- The Featured Snippet Update is applied globally
- The page where the image used in the featured snippet will not be deduplicated
- Being moved to rank 11 (rank 1, page 2) isn’t guaranteed
- Other search results features are not affected
- Right-side featured snippets will be moved to be in line with the URL listings
Again, test out things so you can have a firmer grasp on this update for you to adapt accordingly. What do you think about this update? Comment it down below!