Is the featured snippet bubble bursting?
What's going on with featured snippets? Columnists Brian Patterson and Chris Long share data which suggests that Google may be testing a reduction in SERP answer boxes.
This article was co-authored with my colleague at Go Fish Digital, Chris Long.
We’ve been bullish on answer boxes (also known as featured snippets) for a while now. Six months ago, we wrote about unique strategies we’ve been using to obtain those featured snippets. That coveted “position 0” is just so juicy, for a number of reasons:
- It ranks above all of the organic search results.
- It takes up a lot of SERP real estate.
- It attracts a ton of eyes and drives a lot of organic traffic.
- It is often the answer to questions asked to Google Home/Google Assistant.
In May, Ahrefs ran a study of 2 million featured snippets. Out of the 112 million keywords in their database, they observed that ~14 million (a little over 12 percent) were triggering an answer box in their results. That data point aligned with what we were seeing anecdotally, which is that they were popping up all over the place.
Something happened at the end of October
We recently noticed that some of the answer boxes we worked really hard to get were just gone. No notice, no goodbye. We looked across the industry, as well as our tracked keywords for clients, and there did indeed seem to be something going on.