Google Removes Duplicate Organic Listings for Featured Snippet Results

On Wednesday, Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed that web pages with featured snippets would no longer be repeated under the organic listings on page one, and would affect all searches worldwide that include featured snippets.

Let’s explore what this means for you, and what you can do if your website’s performance is affected by this update.

What is a Featured Snippet?

Featured snippets appear at the top of Google’s search results as special boxes with a short selection of text, aimed to answer a searcher’s query. Featured snippets can include definitions, tables, and lists. Google determines whether a page’s content makes a good featured snippet for a search result, which counts towards one of the ten listings shown on a page.

Since it appears at “position 0”, i.e. above the traditional organic number one search, it gets approximately 8% of all clicks – massively boosting your click-through rate.

What does Google’s Featured Snippets Update mean?

Previously, 99% of all featured snippets came from pages that ranked on page one. However, with the arrival of this new update, it means that while a featured snippet may still be first on the list of results, the web page it comes from may have its organic results pushed back to page two, or even further.

Featured Results on Google after the Update

Featured Snippet Web page displayed on page two

Although, according to Danny Sullivan, if a web page were to lose its featured snippet, it would most likely return to the first page as an organic result.

Furthermore, if there were two featured snippets, the results would be deduplicated, i.e. removed, and could possibly go beyond the second page.

Twitter conversation between Alan Bleiweiss and Danny Sullivan on deduplication
Twitter conversation between Danny Goodwin and Danny Sullivan on deduplication

What can you do?

Since the update is still relatively new, the next move would be to collect data to see how organic traffic to your web page is affected before deciding if you want to block Google from using your source for a Featured Snippet.

It can be extremely frustrating for businesses who have spent countless hours trying to get a Featured Snippet, but understand that adding a “nosnippets” meta tag may not necessarily mean your web page will rank number one organically on the search pages. The best thing to do at this point would be to monitor the situation and not make any rash decisions.  

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