Following the news earlier this month that featured snippet appearances in Google Search had dropped by 60% in the finance sector, a Google representative has offered an explanation.
Speaking as part of his firm’s regular ‘Office Hours’ YouTube show, Senior Search Trends Analyst, John Mueller said that “featured snippets and rich results in general…can fluctuate over time.
“…sometimes the triggering changes over time that we just…reduce the threshold overall or that we change the focus a little bit and say ‘less here and more here’. Sometimes that happens across geographies or languages.”
Mueller made a point to state that these types of changes can be considered ‘normal’ at Google.
Continuing, Meuller was keen to clarify that marketers shouldn’t be looking for a ‘technical’ explanation for a change in a featured snippet position instead reinforcing that it comes from Google’s “need to refine which types of results we show over time.”
Is Google reducing its use of featured snippets?
When questioned on whether the search giant is actively working to reduce the number of featured snippets, Mueller responded, “we don’t think of it as much as we want to reduce the number of times we want to show a feature. But rather, we want to improve the targeting and the relevance of when we show the feature.”
Analysis: Does your search strategy need to adapt?
In short; probably not. John Mueller, a familiar face within the SEO community is currently one of the search company’s most visible representatives and as such, the community of marketers hang on his every word.
In this instance, Mueller stops short of stating that this change, like many others at the company, is focussed on efforts to improve the experience for users of the search engine.
When the prevalence of a feature within Google drops by 60% (within the finance sector, at least), marketers unsurprisingly hunt for an explanation – in this instance, it sounds like that explanation is that this is the by-product of an effort to improve the overall search experience for users.
So, should you change your content strategy following this? Probably not; you may want to revisit your understanding of what your audience is searching for and how they are doing it, but beyond that, Mueller has been clear that marketers needn’t spend their time looking for a technical explanation behind any changes in performance.
At the very least, this should serve as a reminder that demand within online search changes all of the time and a good content strategy will monitor and respond to this.