What to do after Google’s Featured Snippets Update – #CrawlingMondays 24th Episode

In this edition of Crawling Mondays I go through the steps to take to identify the impact of Google’s Featured Snippets on your site and the steps to take:

  • 0:05 What’s the Featured Snippet Update About?
  • 2:11 For which queries are you’re shown as a Featured Snippet
  • 3:41 How your pages were shown before vs. now
  • 8:00 Compare the clicks coming from Features Snippets now vs. before
  • 10:23 How can you exclude your pages from Featured Snippets
  • 11:34 How to easily monitor your Featured Snippets changes

Watch it here:

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Video Transcription

Yesterday, woke up with the announcement from Google about how if a page is included in a feature snippet, it won’t be shown again in the first page results. So for example, if we were working on achieving this, on being featured here, to maximize [inaudible 00:00:20], to highlight in a much more prominent way our pages, and we were structuring our content or to be easily picked up for these results, this means that this page won’t be shown again here. So, potentially, the attractiveness to achieve this type of results is not as high. Right?

So in today’s episode of Crawling Mondays, I want to show you a little bit of what we can do to assess if it is positive for us to eliminate our pages to be featured here, it will be better to be shown only in organic search results or not? It will depend a bit on which result we were featured or we will be featuring. So, for example, here you can see, and it is important also to clarify my, for example, best international travel insurance plan, is right now, being feature as a featured snippet. So it won’t be shown again here in the SERPs.

However, I have another very similar article that is about international health insurance. Not travel insurance, but health insurance. However, of course, in this case, for me, thankfully, it’s a win-win, because I keep the featured snippet in this case, and I have another article featured as the first organic search position, right? However, indeed, it might not be the case with these other articles here. I am still included here as a featured snippet, but I am nowhere to be seen in organic search results.

So, here is what you can do to assess if it is worth it to keep the featured snippet result or if it will be better to be eliminated from here in order to go back to the first, second, third position at the end of this. It will depend on where you will go if you are not highlighted here, and also to check a little bit how you can monitor the evolution of the click share rate of these results of the behavior of this, even if you haven’t been tracking, in advance, many of these queries. Let’s take a look.

So what do we want to do? We want to understand for which keywords, for which queries, we are triggering, are being shown, included in those featured snippets. Where we are included now, for which terms, which pages? And what is the difference with what we had in the past?

And there’s actually a few ways to do this. Even if you don’t actively track the rankings for these terms, we can use tools like [inaudible 00:02:37], [Citrix 00:02:37] or Ahrefs, that will massively track any keywords for which your website is being triggered in search results. And for example, in this case I’m checking for the remoters website, and I am including here an advanced filter to show me only those that are being included in featured snippets. All of these tools will have this type of filter, so you can filter and see which keywords for which queries your page has been shown as a featured snippet.

And this is the thing, there is a little bit of delay here for the stools to show you the position, and they actually tell you here when was the last time that it was updated in the database. So you can see here that in this particular case, we can still see a lot of the old data for them, where they were ranking before this update. So if you go ahead right away and check, you will likely be able to see where you were ranking before and see the previous behavior of being included as a feature, and also in the organic search result for a particular keyword. Right?

So for example, I went and checked, in this case, for best laptop for remote work or any of this. I can do the same for any of the keywords. We can see that there is a feature snippet linking to remoters. I can see the page. If I click here, I will see the SERP information, which is the one that I had open before. I can see the month, the country for which is being shown the device. And I can see here that this page is included as a feature snippet, and I can see here the organic search position that it used to have. If I search for this same term right now, which I did here, we can see how I am included. I am still included here as a feature, but I am nowhere to be seen here. Yeah, not good.

So what we need to understand, of course first, for which keywords we are included, where we were before, organically, too. So for example, in this case, I can see that I was in the first position. It might not necessarily be the same. So for example, for this keyword I was, but there were other keywords. “Best laptops from working from home,” right? So I was here highlighted as a search feature, but my organic position was in seven, right? So this is the thing, in some cases I may want to test, I’m might want to check out what is the click behavior before and after. In some scenarios I might see how it could even be positive to be included here only as an organic search result in the first position, if I am in this first position or in the second one, as I will be here if I hopefully think that I will maintain this previous ranking that I used to have right before the update.

But in other cases, for example, if I am only showing here, I can definitely think that my clicks and traffic from being featured here, will be more positive than being only shown here as position seven, right? In this organic search result. So this is something that you should definitely access.

There is this very neat trick from Kevin Richard that can help you even to do this without having to use any tool, but just by checking in your own search result pages, by adding this parameter to the URL of the results to see where is your actual organic search position if you were not going to be included as a featured snippet. So, for example, I tested it. “Best laptop for working from home.” When I search for it right now, you can see that I include here, nowhere to be seen as a search result.

So by following the recommendation from Kevin here, this little trick, what I did, I search here for “best laptop for working from home”. You can see I added here the parameter at the end, and it did. When I do this, I directly disabled my page to be included here, and it is showing the actual position. So you may want to not only check with the tools but also give it another look, additional validation by adding this parameter to the URL, to check out, if indeed, you will be able to go back to that position first and position second and how your SERP will look without that feature snippet.

There is another thing that we cannot assume, again, another variable here. We cannot assume that Google won’t pick up another page as a feature snippet if you disabled yours, so this is something also that you need to take into account when you start testing this. This is why I recommend that if you want to test this you should do it with particular set of pages for which you have seen, for example, that they have definitely gone down in the [inaudible 00:07:15] read behavior from before to today. So you are really willing to risk and give it a go and validate this. But please don’t do this at a massive scale, because you can end up even losing more by not being featured at all as a featured snippet.

In order to assess the impact of this update to your pages, it’s important to verify and revise and compare the clicks and [inaudible 00:07:41] behavior that you have right now from this results, from this page to this page, from this query versus the one that you that used to have a few days ago for the same query, but that were coming not only from here, but also from this, all the organic search result, right?

So for this we can use the Google search console data, but of course the only con of this point is that this just happened January 22nd, so there’s very little data. However, you can already compare here, TBD from the 22nd to the 23rd, that is the latest one, versus the one of the previous day, or the one from the same day from the week before and compare the difference. It is also important that you include the query for which the page is being featured or included as a feature snippet, and was included before of course, too. And the URL, in particular, to make sure that you’re actually checking the results for this particular page, and then also the device, because, potentially, of course, you were not being shown like this also for [inaudible 00:08:46] results. So it’s important that you filter as much as possible, the same word, the country. If you are not being shown or if you want to specify in particular for the results of a given country, and you know that you have been bringing in clicks and activity from other countries, from where you are not being shown as a featured snippet. It’s the same, it’s important to be very granular here, to be able to compare and see in, particular, the results of this particular change and the impact of this particular change.

And again, the problem here is that there’s not enough data, at least for these particular pages, that don’t have a huge amount of volume because of the queries that they are targeting. But again, you can compare here the clicks, your click rate before and after, right? And like this, I can see here, for example, that right now, from the 22nd to the 23rd I am getting a bit of less clicks than before, right? The click through rate that I had before was certainly higher than the one that I have now. So yes, I wouldn’t, for example, take a decision based on these data, but if you see definitely that before, the clicks were much, much, much higher, after a few days, you may want to check and try out what will happen if you remove your result from here, and instead, you are only shown in the first and the second position organically, for example. To see if it is better than only being included here. That can be another option that you may want to test out. And you can do it so like this.

So if based on your analysis, you definitely want to test out how you will perform if you are not included on the featured snippet, but are only left as an organic search position, you can opt out, specifically from the featured snippet, not from all the snippets entirely. So please don’t use the no snippet tag, because that will make you to block all snippets, and you definitely don’t want that. You should only, as specified by Google here in the search console help, use the max snippet tag settings, right?

And, as Google mentions, there’s not a specific length that you should use in general, but keep lowering the value, if pages continue to show for featured snippet. The shorter your max snippets tag setting is, the less likely the page will appear as a featured snippet, since Google should be able to show enough text in order to be included here. So you can identify how much text you are usually showing in your featured snippet, and based on that set, accordingly, the max snippet tag. And test the beta monitor in a proactive way to identify when you are disappearing or not.

So especially if you are going to go ahead and do all these changes and do these testing, I will highly recommend that you do them in a particular set of pages that you are controlling well, that you are monitoring well. For these I would use a [inaudible 00:11:48] tracker. For example, in my case, I use the [SEO 00:11:48] monitor as a run tracker, so sure to include the queries that you want to monitor there. And this rank tracker, for example, in this particular case, SEO monitor did provide this filter that shows me only the keywords that trigger a featured snippet, and I can go and click on any of these queries here to see the evolution over time. And I can specifically see, as you can see here, when they have started to be included as a featured snippet, in particular. And if it has been for desktop or mobile.

So based on that I can see a little bit if the changes that I have implemented are taking effect. I can click here to see, actually, the snapshot of these results, to double verify and see how I am being triggered now after a while, and then go back to the Google search console to verify what is the impact that I am getting there from a clicks perspective, [inaudible 00:12:46] perspective, and with a combination of this, you will have more data and better data, in order to compare the before and after, if it is working for you to be kept as a featured snippet, if it is better to go to only focus on the organic search positions that you used to have and you are now recovering after doing this change, and make the best decision based on the data that you get.

So it’s important that you first analyze, as you can see, that you first assess, that you select a group of queries to work on, and to test with, and to set the appropriate monitoring settings here in order to make sure that you can identify the actual outcome from this change. Hopefully with this recommendations and tips, you are able to test it out by yourself. Please don’t freak out. It’s important to have, first, enough data to validate to see. If even you are seeing less results than before, even like this, it will be worth it to keep the featured snippet instead of losing it completely. If you are going to be featured in a position seven, and then another player, your competitor, is going to get featured as a featured snippet. The best is that you validate for yourself, you make the decision based on data, from your own data, in particular.

So thank you very much and hopefully this Crawling Mondays, a little bit more urgent than before, is helpful for you. Thank you very much. Until the next edition, bye bye.