As of around February 18, data suggests that featured snippets appear to be showing less frequently in Google’s search results.
Featured snippets appear at the top of search results when a user makes a search query. The snippet itself is pulled from a web page Google has indexed and deems to be the most relevant answer to the query. For example, here’s a featured snippet for the search query ‘what is a featured snippet’:
Data sets from Moz, RankRanger, SEMRush and SEOClarity are all showing a decline in featured snippets – as high as 25% in SEOClarity’s case. The fact that all of these tools are seeing a reduction is significant, as they all track different featured snippets and keywords, which indicates that the decline is across the board of all snippets.
This change holds significance for websites that receive high traffic from featured snippets, as getting rid of them could result in a dramatic decrease in people vising those sites. To combat this, site owners would be wise to invest in search engine optimisation (SEO) to make sure their sites rank highly without a reliance on featured snippets.
On the other hand, some may argue that getting rid of featured snippets is a good move from Google, as it encourages people to actually click through to your site, and not just get the answer they need from your snippet in Google Search.
At present, it’s unclear whether Google is taking steps to remove this feature or whether it’s just a bug. On February 25, Search Engine Land reported* that RankRanger did see a return of featured snippets to a “normal” level, but the other tools hadn’t seen the same rise, so a verdict can’t be given just yet.
At Engage Web, we wouldn’t dismiss featured snippets, as they are worth having and do result in exposure to websites. However, your site shouldn’t solely rely on these snippets to gain website traffic. If you’d like to implement a well-rounded SEO strategy for your site, speak to our team.