Featured Snippets: Not Gone, Just on Holiday (Apparently)

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Posted by Dr-Pete On February 19, 2021, we measured a dramatic drop in Featured Snippets on Google SERPs in the US. Like any responsible data scientist, I waited to make sure it wasn't a fluke, did my homework, and published when I was sure I was onto something. Then, this happened (30-day view): C'MON, GOOGLE! I did all these beautiful analyses, found a lovely connection between Featured Snippet losses, YMYL queries, and head terms, and then you go and make me look like a chump?! Is there anything we can learn from this strange turn of events? Do I really need this stress? Should I just go pour myself a cocktail? Stay tuned for none of these answers and more! You want more data? Okay, fine, I guess... Could this recovery be a fluke of the 10,000-keyword MozCast data set? It's unlikely, but let's dot our i's and cross our t's. Here's the Featured Snippet data from the same time period across roughly 2.2M US/desktop keywords in the STAT data set: So, this gets a lot messier. We saw a significant drop on February 19, followed by a partial recovery, followed by an even larger drop, finally landing (for now) on a total recovery. Our original study of the drop showed dramatic differences by query length. Here's a breakdown by four word-count buckets for the before and after Featured Snippet prevalence (the data points are February 18, February 19, and March 12): You can plainly see that the bulk of the losses were in one-word queries, with longer queries showing minor but far less dramatic drops. All query lengths recovered by March 12. Who really came back from holiday? If you take two kids on vacation and come back with two kids, it's all good, right? What if the kids who came back weren't the same? What if they were robots? Or clones? Or robot clones? Is it possible that the pages that were awarded Featured Snippets after the recovery were different from the ones from before the drop? A simple count doesn't tell us the whole story, even if we slice-and-dice it. This turns out to be a complicated problem. First of all, we have to consider that — in addition to the URL of the Featured Snippet changing — a keyword could gain or lose a Featured Snippet entirely. Consider this comparison of pre-drop and post-recovery: Looking at …

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Featured Snippets Drop to Historic Lows

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Posted by Dr-Pete On February 19, MozCast measured a dramatic drop (40% day-over-day) in SERPs with Featured Snippets, with no immediate signs of recovery. Here's a two-week view (February 10-23): Here's a 60-day view, highlighting this historic low-point in our 10K-keyword data set: I could take the graph back further, but let's cut to the chase — this is the lowest prevalence rate of Featured Snippets in our data set since we started collecting reliable data in the summer of 2015. Are we losing our minds? After the year we've all had, it's always good to check our sanity. In this case, other data sets showed a drop on the same date, but the severity of the drop varied dramatically. So, I checked our STAT data across desktop queries (en-US only) — over two million daily SERPs — and saw the following: STAT recorded an 11% day-over-day drop. Interestingly, there's …

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Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero

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Posted by Dr-Pete In 2014, Google introduced the featured snippet, a promoted organic ranking that we affectionately (some days were more affectionate than others) referred to as "position zero" or "ranking #0." One of the benefits to being in position zero was that you got to double-dip, with your organic listing appearing in both the featured snippet and page-1 results (usually in the top 3–4). On January 23, Google announced a significant change (which rolled out globally on January 22) ... "Declutters" sounds innocuous, but the impact to how we think about featured snippets and organic rankings is significant. So, let's dig deep into some examples and the implications for SEO. What does this mean for Moz? First, a product announcement. In the past, we treated Featured Snippets as stand-alone SERP features — they were identified in our "SERP Features" report but were not treated as organic due to the …

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How Low Can #1 Go? (2020 Edition)

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Posted by Dr-Pete Being #1 on Google isn't what it used to be. Back in 2013, we analyzed 10,000 searches and found out that the average #1 ranking began at 375 pixels (px) down the page. The worst case scenario, a search for "Disney stock," pushed #1 all the way down to 976px. A lot has changed in seven years, including an explosion of rich SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features, like Featured Snippets, local packs, and video carousels. It feels like the plight of #1 is only getting worse. So, we decided to run the numbers again (over the same searches) and see if the data matches our perceptions. Is the #1 listing on Google being pushed even farther down the page? I try to let the numbers speak for themselves, but before we dig into a lot of stats, here's one that legitimately shocked me. In 2020, over …

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Identifying Advanced GSC Search Performance Patterns (and What to Do About Them)

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Posted by izzismith Google Search Console is by far the most used device in the SEO’s toolkit. Not only does it provide us with the closest understanding we can have of Googlebot’s behavior and perception of our domain properties (in terms of indexability, site usability, and more), but it also allows us to assess the search KPIs that we work so rigorously to improve. GSC is free, secure, easy to implement, and it’s home to the purest form of your search performance KPI data. Sounds perfect, right? However, the lack of capability for analyzing those KPIs on larger scales means we can often miss crucial points that indicate our pages’ true performance. Being limited to 1,000 rows of data per request and restricted filtering makes data refinement and growth discovery tedious (or close to impossible). SEOs love Google Search Console — it has the perfect data — but sadly, it’s …

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Spot Zero is Gone — Here's What We Know After 30 Days

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Posted by PJ_Howland As you are probably aware by now, recent updates have changed the world of search optimization. On January 22nd Google, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the URL that has earned the featured snippet in a SERP would not have the additional spot in that SERP. This also means that from now on the featured snippet will be the true spot-one position. 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 Rather than rehash what’s been so eloquently discussed already, I’ll direct you to Dr. Pete’s post if you need a refresher on what this means for you and for Moz. 30 …

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The Power of "Is": A Featured Snippet Case Study

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Posted by EricSerdar I’m not a literary scholar, but I believe it was Hamlet that said “to have a featured snippet or not to have a featured snippet?” Ever since featured snippets came onto the scene, sites have been trying to secure them. My team and I wanted in on this craze. Throughout our journey of research, testing, failure, and success, we found some interesting pieces of information that we wanted to share with the community. I’ll walk you through what we did and show you some of our results (though can’t share traffic numbers). It was Britney Muller’s webinar on Feature Snippet Essentials and the release of the featured snippets cheat sheet that inspired me to capture what we've learned. What are featured snippets? A featured snippet is the box that appears at the top of the search result page that provides information to succinctly and accurately answer your …

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21 Smart Google SEO Tips for 2021

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard Happy new year, readers! We're back with a brand new season of Whiteboard Friday episodes for your viewing pleasure. First up: Moz SEO expert Cyrus Shepard shares his top 21 tips for successful Google SEO in 2021, including what to prioritize and what to look out for in the year ahead. He's also included a bunch of helpful resources for your reference in the transcription below! Watch and enjoy, and as always, leave your questions and your own suggestions in the comment section.       Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Howdy, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. I'm Cyrus Shepard. Today, so glad that you can join us. We are talking about 21 smart Google SEO tips for 2021. We're getting ready for a new year, a …

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Opting-Out of Google Featured Snippets Led to 12% Traffic Loss [SEO Experiment]

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard Note: This post was co-authored by Cyrus Shepard and Rida Abidi . Everyone wants to win Google featured snippets. Right? At least, it used to be that way. Winning the featured snippet typically meant extra traffic, in part because Google showed your URL twice: once in the featured snippet and again in regular search results. For publishers, this was known as " double-dipping ." All that changed in January when Google announced they would de-duplicate search results to show the featured snippet URL only once on the first page of results. No more double-dips. Publishers worried because older studies suggested winning featured snippets drove less actual traffic than the "natural" top ranking result. With the new change, winning the featured snippet might actually now lead to less traffic, not more. This led many SEOs to speculate: should you opt-out of featured snippets altogether? Are featured snippets causing …

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Fast & Featured: How Entities Can Help You Conquer Snippets in Less Than 4 Minutes

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Posted by larissa-lacerda From the moment I started working with SEO, I was faced with countless optimization tactics. After heading down numerous rabbit holes, I came to see how important it is to identify your low hanging fruit: the opportunities to generate great results with less effort. The first time I saw notable results in my work was in the optimizations I put into practice to reach featured snippets. The thrill of jumping to the top of the page was so great that it soon became my passion. But not everything in SEO is so simple (or stable). Soon, methods that had previously brought results were no longer working. With the competition growing increasingly competent and challenging, great results were becoming less frequent. If, like me, you’ve reached that point — don't worry! I’ll show you how I overcame this with a method that I lovingly refer to as “Fast …

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Using STAT to Identify Featured Snippet Opportunities

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Posted by Zoe.Pegler Winning the featured snippet for a target keyword means increased traffic to that page , and you can use STAT to achieve those wins. In this week's episode of Whiteboard Friday, Moz Learning and Development Specialist Zoe Pegler walks you through how you can do so in five easy steps. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hi. I'm Zoe from Moz's Learning Team. Today I'm going to be showing you how to use STAT to identify featured snippet opportunities. If you're not familiar with STAT, it's a ranking tool which is very good at pulling big data. What's a featured snippet?   For those of you that might not know what a featured snippet is, it's one of those answer boxes that appear at the top of a search results page. It's the result …

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