Why Google’s featured snippets update needn’t spell an end to lucrative SERP double-dipping | Quill

Why Google’s featured snippets update needn’t spell an end to lucrative SERP double-dipping

Google’s recent “featured snippet” update has certainly set the cat amongst the SEO world’s proverbial pigeons. A notable source of industry consternation to arise from the update has been the unexpected revelation that web pages appearing in featured snippets will no longer appear organically on Google’s results page.

Adding to the generalised umbrage, Google will also be removing featured snippets from the right-hand rail on desktops and shunting the feature across into main listings.

Featured snippets in brief

Featured snippets currently occupy the coveted “Position 0” spot, at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). They will appear above Google’s organic results, but below the Paid Ads block. SERP-watchers have regularly cited a notable increase in traffic when a site owns a featured snippet. For websites, brands, e-commerce companies and businesses in general, they can offer a tantalising opportunity for a queue jump of sorts, maximising online visibility and boosting overall click through rates.

So, what is the featured snippet update?

Previously, web pages appearing in a featured snippet would frequently appear twice on page 1 of SERPs, as seen in the screenshot below

However, in the wake of the featured snippet update rolled out last month, web pages will only have one chance to appear on Page 1: either as a featured snippet, or as an organic listing. This significantly curtails a website’s visibility on results pages and scuppers the prospect of higher clicks.

Impact of featured snippet update

The full impact of this update remains unclear, and SEO experts have been scrambling to establish the key implications and keep website owners informed. One certainty, is that the update will globally affect Page 1 organic rankings, having an impact on online visibility and CTR.

Appearing as a featured snippet meant Google identified your content as supplying the best answer to a question, or as providing a solution to a problem. The featured snippet often diverts the user’s attention – before they scroll down the results page. With web pages no longer able to be present on a featured snippet as well as an organic listing, chances of click throughs could be greatly reduced.

So, can I mitigate the impact of the featured snippet update on my site?

To paraphrase Obama: yes, you can! Much of the value of retaining a ‘featured snippet’ remains. Further, by creating additional content on secondary pages, you can pave the way for a simultaneous re-entry onto page 1 of search results.

How? In some cases, URL A may be ranked in Position 1 for a featured snippet and URL B (from the same domain) ranked in Position 2 but in organic listings. So, two different URLs from the same domain can simultaneously rank on page 1 for the same search query.

We recently offered tips on how you can use FAQs to up the ‘featured snippets’ CTR by including links in your answers and not giving everything away. By doubling your content on secondary pages, this SERP double-dipping can continue unabated.

Get in touch with us to find out more about the impact of this change on your site, or to request a Quill Quality Score Search Optimisation audit.

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