What does Google’s featured snippet update mean for nonprofits?

Author information: Nick Vines , SEO Consultant , Post information: 29 Jan 2020 , 2 min read ,
Related post categories: Digital Marketing , SEO ,

We all want featured snippets right? Since 2015 SEOs have been trying to gain the coveted position #0 for their search terms. And for good reason. With higher rankings, enhanced listings in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and increased click-through-rate, it’s a no-brainer.

But on 22 January 2020 Google updated their algorithms so that if you appear in the featured snippet box, then you will no longer rank organically in the standard listings.

What is a featured snippet?

A featured snippet is an algorithmically determined search result that features in a box above the standard organic search results on page 1 of Google, but beneath the ads (if ads appear for that specific search).

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Example of a featured snippet

They can take the form of a paragraph of copy, a list or a table. And they typically feature for informational queries. These are usually questions, and more research-led queries.

The purpose of these boxes is to improve the search experience for the users by giving them the information that they need without having to click.

Owning this spot used to give you priority above your organic competitors, increased ‘real estate’ on the SERPs (pushing your competitors further down) and an additional click-through-rate of up to 8.6%. Now though, the benefits of owning this box have been thrown into question.

What is the “featured snippet update”?

Google’s featured snippet update came into effect on 22 January 2020. Prior to this, a web page that appeared in the featured snippet box would also appear in the organic search results on page 1 of Google. The aim of Google’s featured snippet algorithm update is to improve user experience by removing duplicate listings, helping users find what they are looking for more easily.

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Tweet by Danny Sullivan @ Google

How will the featured snippet update affect nonprofits?

The featured snippet update will affect any website ranking on the first page of Google. If you own a featured snippet, you might experience a lower number of clicks to your page – not because people don’t click on position 0, but because you will lose the duplicate organic search listing for that query.

However, at Torchbox we still believe that designing content for featured snippets is the best strategy. And that’s what we’re advising our charity and non-profit clients.

Having your content in the featured snippet is still the most powerful position in the organic listings. It’s an easy way to leapfrog your site to the top of the organic results. And we know that people click on position 0 boxes to find out more.

Owning the featured snippet is especially desirable if you want to be an authority on a topic, spread a message, or increase brand awareness. It’s also a super cost-effective strategy for charities to gain more visibility online.

If you don’t own a featured snippet (yet), the algorithm update is also good news! As Google has removed those secondary search results, many of your rankings may also increase by one position. So make sure you bear this in mind when monitoring page rankings!

If you have any questions about this or anything else SEO related, then feel free to reach out to one of us at Torchbox!

Author information: Nick Vines , SEO Consultant , Post information: 29 Jan 2020 , 2 min read ,
Related post categories: Digital Marketing , SEO ,