Is It Better to Be Ranked for Featured Snippets?

What Positive Differences Do Featured Snippets Have on Traffic?
Image Credit: Techwyse

We all seem to be in chase of featured snippets lately. We want to rank for the so-called position zero. But how about knowing whether that is the best for us? Will getting more featured snippets helps you with more traffic or otherwise?

Before answering this question, let’s get to know something.

My Experience While Chasing and Featuring on Google Snippets

I’d wanted to be ranked for featured snippets in the past months. In fact, as soon as Google introduced this quick way to give users answers directly on the search results, I grew envious of publishers whose work was lucky to enjoy this.

I also searched for my keywords to see if Google was compensating me too. Nothing has happened. It's like I'd not got the secrets to getting featured snippets. You'll love to know what I learned later.

As at the time of writing my checked posts, the era of snippet hasn’t actually begun. So, why writing about 1000 posts, I didn't have snippets in mind.

And of course, those who ranked for it didn’t have snippets in mind when they wrote theirs too. They were just lucky to be recognized by Google as being worthy of the position zero.

The question was, why was I not ranked for a featured snippet?

The answer to this question was simple.

My blog was new as at the time I was crying for snippets. The blog was about one year or two into publication for that niche.

You may not agree with this if you’d read something contrary elsewhere. But let me help you. Just as the age of your domain and the work you had written on it, in the past, contribute to your ranking for a post, so also they affect your chance of being honored with the snippets.

I gave up on snippets. And continue writing things in my own and old ways.

A few months later, while trying to check if Google has ranked a few of my posts, I started seeing my work at position zero.

Mind you, I had not done any touches on my previous posts and never changed my ways of presenting things in the new posts. So what happened? What made the difference?

The answer is simple – Google doesn’t just rank you for snippets if your blog is new. It takes time to take that position.

In other words, my content has merited snippets in the last 7 months but Google was yet to compensate them. All this while, I had what should be considered for featured content in my posts, yet it was made to look otherwise. After a few months, they promoted me.

Quote me anywhere, the age of your blog and content thereon, matters for featured snippets.

What Positive Differences Do Featured Snippets Have on Traffic?

The only identified effect of the featured snippets is that Google is able to help her users get the answers without wasting time to read the whole posts.

They killed your traffic!

You heard me! They indirectly sent potential readers/customers away before they ever enter your pages.

See, it’s easy to be fooled that Google featured snippets will help you drive more traffic. Most writers such as Thomas J. Law and Neil Patel seem to be in support of that position. However, I disagree based on my personal experience.

Several other experts and reports had complained about and warned against it our hunger for position zero. Moreover, you won’t see the truth until it nails you down.

Let’s see these scenarios.

How Featured Snippets Help and Kill Traffic

Ranking for snippets is neither all bad nor all good. It's your duty to know upfront if it's the best for you or otherwise. Below is a quick look at two scenarios. The first is where it wins you clicks and traffic. The other is where you lose to the latest trend in SEO.

Positive Scenario for Adopting Google Snippets

While starting out to write this post, the first thing I searched for was the title I was about to use. That’s my style in arriving at unique and unsaturated titles.

After I searched, “Is It Better to Be Ranked for Featured Snippet”.


Below was the result.

In this case, Google gave me a snippet to answer my question. However, the quoted statement or paragraph was not enough to answer my question. As you can see.

The problem I wanted to solve was more complex than just reading someone telling me a brief or the good part. I wanted to know if there was a bad part of things too.

In this case, I had to click on the title and read more. Wow! The website won the traffic. That’s where the featured snippet is a WIN.

Let’s see another scenario.

Negative Scenario for Winning Google Snippets

In certain cases, especially if you’re writing for niches where readers only want to get quick answers, rather than comprehensive and detailed content, I don’t recommend writing for featured snippets.

I have a few blogs; one of which has been delivering close to 20,000 page views per day. When Google promoted me for the featured snippet (as narrated earlier), I started seeing a serious drop in the number of views. What happened?

This blog discusses guides and shares updates on education and admissions. As such, most readers only need quick answers to their questions.

Regular queries include:
  • When is an application closing?
  • What are the things to take for a screening?
  • Can I do something or not?
  • Is it possible to do something or not?
  • Can I use a result type for admissions into a certain school?

If you look at the queries sampled above. Students just want answers in a few sentences and get out of my pages. However, I'd written more than just dropping a few lines to answer their questions.

Immediately my readers were able to see their answers in featured snippets, they thanked Google instead of thanking me. They didn’t just bother to click through to the whole articles. They’d got the answers, so what else?

You see?

Anyway, I got my traffic back after I had realized I was losing to this diluted promotion form Google.

You want to know what I’ve done to get my traffic back? I discussed it in my short post, "How to Stop Your Content From Google Featured Snippets and Boost Traffic Again".

As a matter of fact, with three of my bogs, I now understand where the featured snippets will help traffic and where it will eventually kill it.

Why Publishers Should Avoid Featured Snippets

With my personal experiences and if you get it, this new development by Google makes the big G looks selfish.

I love being ranked. Yet, what is the essence of you being at the top without your page being visited?

I’m not an anti-snippet. Yet, I want to warn you that this is not what you should be clamoring for. Some publishers are so obsessed with it that they can’t write any article without snippets in mind.

This will do more harm to you than good in the long run. In this post by Search Engines Land, you'll understand that about 50% of traffic is being lost to snippets.

Below is a list of what you should be ready to lose if your prospective readers can find answers to their queries directly on Google’s result page (on featured snippets).
  1. Noticeable Drop on Title Clicks and Reading of your Content. Clicks and reads are what every publisher had worked so hard for. Why will you want to throw your glory to Google only? As such, I had dedicated a spate article to increase your click-through rate with unique post titles.
  2. A Quick Drop in the Number of Email Subscribers. If you know the long-term effects of email subscriptions and how newsletters help to rank, you wouldn’t want to lose it to snippets.
  3. Reduction in Sales/Conversions: If you sell products on the landing page, it will be a big blow on your sales. If prospective buyers are stopped at the gates, you lose sales definitely.
  4. Losing Clicks to Weaker Results. In some worlds, where the internet is still relatively new, searchers may assume that what you have in the snippet is all (or the best) you had written in your posts. If they need more, they’re possibly going to check the next results.
  5. It Doesn't Deserve Worrying About. The snippet is to me, an-everyone-win thing. You won’t be surprised to see your post in the snippet today and a week later you see another author’s for the same keywords. Why? You didn’t change the words or phrases in the sentences/paragraphs? So why didn’t it remain the snippet forever? The thing is Google compensates every publisher, one after the other, except one who didn’t write anything worthy of being featured. So why should we be hungry for such?

Conclusion

Featured Snippets may be right for you if you’d already established your authority and you have little to lose if your traffic drops a bit. It may be the right chase if you don’t rely on organic traffic for content marketing. It may also be the best if your blog is for not-to-make-money humanitarian service.

If your target is like very many who want to make money with traffic, using ad networks such as Adsenseaffiliate businesses such as Amazon or sell their products directly on their websites, featured snippets are killers.

What do you think I’d got wrong in this post? Do you have a similar or different experience with Google featured snippets? Share your views in the comment section below.

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