Is there a decline in featured snippets and will it affect you?

In July this year, we wrote an article about featured snippets – more especially, the apparent relationship between the increase in these and the reduction in ‘pure’ organic clicks.

The summer and autumn have passed, and nearly 6 months is a long time in any industry. Things have changed and we seem to be noticing a shift away from featured snippets.

Read our previous article to find out why featured snippets (sometimes called answer boxes) are / were so important.

Over the last few weeks there have many reports of changes happening. People who claimed to have had ‘possession’ of feature snippets boxes have had them just simply disappear without any warning. Looking further into this, research and evidence does seem to back this up. One report shows a drop of a few percentage points in terms of featured snippet inclusion in just a few days when the trend previously had at least been steady or rising.

A few percentage points might not sound drastic but let’s be clear, any fall has consequences and in this example, it would be enough to see a fall in traffic which is not good if it is a continuing theme.

Further research has also shown that whilst a decline in the above has been noticed, and increase in so called ‘knowledge boxes’ has taken place. Knowledge boxes are those which appear at the right hand side of search engine results, as shown by our example below.

Picture showing a knowledge box

The correlation between the rise of one and fall of the other can’t be any coincidence and must be related.

Does this mean you should now ignore the concept of featured snippets?

The answer to this is no, because we don’t fully know what is going on and whether this is a permanent change or just a test of some sort. Google is often experimenting with different strategies, and this could be an example of that. It could also be a test of how well featured snippets are received by seeing how people ‘manage’ with their decline.

Should I be worried or will anything majorly change?

Taking into account the above, the short answer is definitely no for now. With changes in the past, Google have made announcements and it would seem odd if this was not done in this case.

The conclusion

As we noted in our previous article, featured snippets can have a very positive affect on your traffic. Since we all should be aiming high, then featured snippets must still be your ultimate goal. In doing this though however, you should also make sure your website metrics are sound, allowing you to also have a good organic presence.

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