SEO Decline? Google Featured Snippets Are Dramatically Reduced
You may have noticed a decline in your traffic recently, particularly from Google Search. It appears that Google has changed their algorithm to dramatically reduce the amount of featured snippets that are showing on the search engine's results page. If you consistently get traffic from featured snippets, this algo update will most likely have a negative impact on your search traffic.
What Is a Featured Snippet?
Featured snippets are descriptions of the answer to a query that display at the top of the search results page, above the link. Here's an exact description of featured snippets from Google:
Google's search results sometimes show listings where the snippet describing a page comes before a link to a page, not after as with our standard format. Results displayed this way are called "featured snippets."
We display featured snippets when our systems determine this format will help people more easily discover what they're seeking, both from the description about the page and when they click on the link to read the page itself.
Here's an example of what a featured snippet looks like:
Why Did This Happen?
This is the toughest question to answer, as Google is not always forthcoming with their algorithm changes or their rationale for changing. It's possible that this is just something Google decided was in the best interest of their search functionality. Or maybe it's a bug? Until there is an announcement from Google (and there might never be), we'll just have to assume that this is the way of the SERP world now.
What Can I Do About This?
Short answer: There's not much that you can do.
Longer answer: Monitor your statistics very closely for the next few weeks. As mentioned above, it's possible that this was unintentional, or a test that Google is running. Watch your traffic carefully, and hopefully if this update has had a negative impact, your traffic will return to normal levels soon.
Outside of that, the best plan is to stick to your SEO strategy diligently. Remember, we have lots of tools to help optimize SEO. Make sure your content is as high quality as ever, pick your search phrases wisely, and continue building your domain authority.