As you may have noticed, more and more featured snippets have been starting to appear at the top of search results. SEO’s have been calling this ranking zero, as it appears at the top of the listing, ahead of the first organic spot. If your web page was lucky enough to be a featured snippet, your web page was also listed in the organic search results, but that seems to be changing according to Jennifer Slegg of The SEM Post.
Jennifer and SEOs have noticed that Google is removing the organic listing of a web page that is featured in the featured snippet at the top of a SERP. Web pages used to be able to double-dip and still appear in organic, as well as the featured snippet.
What does this mean for web owners? Well, it means there becomes an extra slot on the results of the first page and could increase the click-through-rate for some web pages that appear on page one if a featured snippet is of poor quality. For websites that were able to double-dip, they should see a decrease in their click-throughs going forward.
Jennifer also mentioned that not everyone seems to be seeing this update, so it could be a large test.
I can see why Google removed their organic listing as it was a little bit confusing. In case you didn’t know, web pages CAN get a featured snippet and not be ranked first in the SERP – a lot of times the third and fourth ranked web page got the featured snippet. Whenever I came across a SERP with a result like that, I was confused as to how the top result wasn’t the snippet. I know it has to do with the format of the page (and other factors) to get the featured snippet, but according to Google’s algorithm, the best answer to the query is the first result, not the featured snippet.
But here is my main concern.
If this does roll out and become permanent, then I think the “rank zero” or “position zero” becomes non-existent and becomes the new #1 result. It becomes even more important goal for SEOs as it takes us so much real estate in the SERP. But what we know is that web pages can become the featured snippet even if they aren’t the true #1 organic search result (like page 2?). So, then doesn’t it just lower the quality of the SERP if everyone competes for the featured snippet, rather than just the best content?
Could this open up a bunch of new opportunities if the featured snippet becomes the new #1 listing on a SERP? Does page formatting become more important for SEO? If the top result of a query gets pulled a page two SERP, is that devaluing the top spot in Google’s search results?
Let us know on Twitter @EdgeWebRadio.
Glenn Gabe had an interesting tweet showing why he doesn’t think this will happen:
Why I'm ultra-skeptical Google will remove double listings for featured snippets. Some sites have *sitelinks* + FS. Google will remove that? pic.twitter.com/gNzwkSF2kJ
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) May 15, 2017