Featured Snippets in Google have been on an upward trend during the past few years, with more websites looking to attain “position 0”, which puts you on top of the search engine results pages. This allows websites to attract more users to gain more traffic, and gain more leads. This also allows users to get the best results to their search terms, and give them the best information available.
Despite the rising trend, the end of October and early November 2017 saw a drop. This means that search terms that have featured snippets are now gone, which would definitely affect a lot of websites and their traffic. The period of October 27 to November 14 alone saw a 10% drop in searched that has featured snippets. This is a kind of drop rate that would have people in SEO concerned. During that drop, there has been an increase in knowledge panels, which is also another SEO concern that needs to be checked. Let’s get to the bottom of things and find out.
An increase in knowledge panels
While featured snippets have seen a decline, knowledge panels, meanwhile, have seen a gradual increase. During the period in which the featured snippet rates were dropping, the number of search terms with knowledge panels have increased by 14%. Knowledge panels, like the one on the image below, provide some reliable information with regards to your search terms. This can be in the form of contact details, Wikipedia links, and the like. In fact, some of the pages that have lost featured snippets gained knowledge panels, some of which provide helpful information, while some just provide generic and simple information.
With the rise in knowledge panels, it seems like Google has been testing around, which results to have them being featured more prominently, and attempt to improve the quality of information that is received by the users. So far, most of the knowledge has been too simplistic in some search results, giving people what they already know and not giving more substantial details. This is something that definitely needs to be addressed in the upcoming months, as information quality is always a crucial detail that must be ironed out.
A long-term concern?
With the constant rise in featured snippets in the past few years, this development is indeed concerning. While a change in strategy is one of the best ways to keep yourself on top of search pages, this short-period drop still needs to be looked into , as it may only be temporary, and Google might be simply optimizing their search results and algorithms again, which is something that happens often.
Despite some inconsistencies, Google’s featured snippets were helpful to a lot of websites, as they are able to gain organic reach, and compete with other websites to rise to “position 0”. With the increase in knowledge panels, some websites would have more difficulties gaining that organic reach, which would mean information would come from fewer sources.
While this may be an issue for the time being, all we can simply do is to wait it out and do some daily monitoring to see if this will be an issue that will cause a change in SEO strategies and practices. This can also simply be a simple case of Google trying to change things up temporarily to see what is working or not, which means things may get reverted to how it used to be, and we’ll all be fine.
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