The solution was being tested already in November last year and it came into force a few days ago. But what does it actually mean for your search results? What has changed and how does it affect the positions on which phrases are displayed in Google?
Featured snippets meaning positions zero or direct answers have been always evoking strong emotions. We’ve already discussed a few times how to be displayed in featured snippet positions in Google and that these positions take up increasingly more space in the search results.
Until now, if a website was displayed in the position zero, it could again appear in regular search results. However, in November 2019, the SEO world lurched when it turned out that the same listings weren’t appearing twice in the search results. It was all due to the fact that Google was testing a new solution which was finally implemented globally on January 22, 2020.
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) January 22, 2020
There is a lot of discussion going on on Twitter and Danny answers numerous questions and doubts concerning this solution. These are the most relevant findings:
- The solution has been implemented in order to get rid of duplicate search results displayed on the Page 1.
- It concerns only the Page 1 of the search results.
- If the text in the featured snippet position has a different URL than the image accompanying it, then the elimination of duplicate content applies only to the page with the text. Graphics aren’t displayed in the search results for websites anyway.
- The elimination of duplicate content concerns only specific URLs in featured snippets. It’s not applicable to Top Stories or Interesting Finds.
- If a given URL is no longer in the featured snippet position, then it’ll probably be displayed on the Page 1 of regular search results (as it already had to be ranked high in order to appear in FS).
- The change doesn’t influence Search Console reporting.
How does this change affect SEO?
Although the change is fully reasonable, it wasn’t received well by SEO specialists. Well, it’s always better to be displayed on the first page twice rather than once. It’s especially relevant since more and more often users who find answers to their search queries in the position zero don’t even enter landing pages. As it usually happens in life, we need to wait a while to see all the effects of the change. After all, you can always opt out of featured snippets.