As of January 22, 2020, Google has deduplicated the search results appearing on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). When the news was announced, it was mentioned that this would affect 100% of search results on Google worldwide. Danny Sullivan of Google made the announcement. In this guide, we will be looking at how this affects search results and SEO.
How the Update Affects Search Results
Initially, pages would have two positions on SERPs, one on a featured snippet and search results. However, since the deduplication pages will only have one position. This means that the featured snippet will no longer be on position 0 on top but number one. It will now take the position of number one. The URL that is appearing on the featured snippet will not appear in the search results removing the duplication.
Here are the facts that were shared by Google’s SearchLiason about the deduplication:
- Duplicate URL change will be referred to as deduplication
- Deduplication will be worldwide
- The video featured snippets will not be affected
- Deduplication will not affect:
- Top Stories
- Interesting Finds
- Duplicated URLs on page two of SERPs will be a bug of deduplication. It is not a feature because of the update.
- If your page features on a snippet and is ranking on page two of SERPs, it may be removed.
- Google Search Console (GSC) performance reports will not be affected.
Has the Organic Traffic Been Affected by the Update?
The organic traffic will not be affected by the update. However, since the update, there have been industries that had a drop in traffic. The decline was very similar to day-over-day fluctuation from the previous week.
What Happens if You Lose the Featured Snippet?
Previously, when you lost the featured snippet, you will still appear on search results. According to Danny Sullivan, with the featured snippet update, you will return to the search results. However, the way he responded to the question did not sound like it is 100% guaranteed.
How Does the Featured Snippet Affect SEO?
For SEO, this depends on the strategy you have in place. If you were targeting the same keywords for search results and featured snippets, then the update will affect things.
Your option will be to identify keywords that you don’t rank on page one for and edit your content to match one of the different featured snippets. However, if your keywords are ranking on page 1, it is better not to do anything with them because they might drop in rankings.
According to Ahrefs, featured snippets do not drive traffic compared to appearing in the search results. They did a study where they tested 2 million featured snippets. The research was done before the google featured snippet update.
These were the results below:
- Pages with featured snippet – 8.6% CTR on the featured snippet
- No featured snippet pages – 26% CRT for the number one spot
- Pages with featured snippet – 19.6% CTR on search results