On February 19, 2021, we determined a dramatic drop in Featured Bits on Google SERPs in the US. Like any responsible information scientist, I waited to ensure it wasn’t a fluke, did my research, and published when I made certain I was onto something. Then, this took place (30-day view):
C’MON, GOOGLE! I did all these stunning analyses, found a beautiful connection in between Featured Bit losses, YMYL queries, and head terms, and then you go and make me appear like a chump?!
Is there anything we can gain from this strange turn of occasions? Do I really require this stress? Should I just go put myself a mixed drink? Stay tuned for none of these answers and more!You desire more information? Okay, great, I guess …
Could this healing 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 very same time period throughout approximately 2.2 M US/desktop keywords in the STAT information set:
So, this gets a lot messier. We saw a significant drop on February 19, followed by a partial healing, followed by an even bigger drop, finally landing (for now) on a total recovery.Our initial research study
of the drop revealed remarkable differences by query length. Here’s a breakdown by 4 word-count containers for the before and after Featured Snippet prevalence(the information points are February 18, February 19, and March 12): You can clearly see that the bulk of the losses remained in one-word questions, with longer questions revealing small but far less significant drops. All question lengths recuperated by March 12. Who really came back from holiday?If you take 2 kids on vacation and come back with two kids, it’s all good, right? What if the kids who returned weren’t the very same? What if they were robots? Or clones? Or robotic clones?Is it possible that the pages that were granted Included Snippets after the healing were various from the ones from before the drop? A simple count does
n’t tell us the entire story, even if we slice-and-dice it. This ends up being a complex issue. Firstly, we have to think about that– in addition to the URL of the Included Bit changing– a keyword could get or lose a Featured Snippet totally. Consider this comparison of pre-drop and post-recovery:< img src ="https://d1avok0lzls2w.cloudfront.net/uploads/blog/fs-holiday-4-36459.png"/ > Taking a look at the keywords in MozCast that had Featured Snippets on February 18, 79%of those exact same keywords still had Featured Bits on March 12. So, we’re down 21%already. If we narrow the focus to keywords that maintained their Included Snippets and displayed the very same page/URL in those Featured, we’re down to 60%of the original set.That appears like a big drop, however we likewise need to think about that three weeks(22 days, to be accurate)passed in between the drop and recovery. How much modification is regular for 3 weeks? For contrast’s sake,
let’s look at the Included Snippet stability for the 22 days prior to the drop: While these numbers are a bit much better than the post-recovery numbers, we’re still seeing about three out of 10 keywords either losing an Included Bit or changing the Featured Bit URL. Remember that Included Bits are pulled straight from page-one natural outcomes, so they’re constantly in flux as the algorithm and the material of the web evolve.Are Featured Snippets remaining home?It’s difficult to state whether the initial drop was purposeful on Google’s part, an unintentional effect of another (deliberate)modification, or entirely a bug. Truthfully, offered the focus of the drop on so-called”head”questions and YMYL (Your Money, Your Life)inquiries, I believed this was an intentional
change that was here to stay. Without understanding why a lot of Included Bits went away, I can’t inform you why they came back, and I can’t inform you for how long to expect them to stay around.What we can presume is that Google will continue to assess Featured Bit quality, specifically for inquiries where result quality is crucial(consisting of YMYL inquiries)or where Google displays Understanding Panels and other curated information. Nothing is ensured, and no strategy is future-proof. We can only continue to measure and adjust.