As of January 22, 2020, Google ultimately shifted the tides of search engine optimization in a big way by effectively getting rid of something called the “position 0”. Position O promoted organic search rankings and made it so that your listing would essentially appear twice, both in the featured section and on the first page of searches. Google has now made it so that having your listing duplicated – or existing in the featured snippet section and the first pages - is no longer possible. Yes, you heard us right – now you can only have one.
With the inability to rank in the featured snippet section and the first page, this obviously presents a number of new changes for SEO in general. This means that businesses and their marketers will need to redesign their marketing and SEO strategies - and we’ll tell you how.
Deciding on Your Preferred Placement
One would think that most people would want their URL to be in the featured snippet section since this is generally the most preferable placement to be in, however some individuals may prefer to rank in the first page instead. Both are extremely good placements for any listing, however now that your listings can’t be in both, deciding where you would prefer your listings to exist is a must (even though you don’t have much control over the results).
If your content is extremely good, it’s most likely that your listing will be placed in the featured section, meaning this section will house top tier content only. Content that is very good but not extremely good will most likely rank on the first page, which is also preferable. Relevance to searches will also still determine where your listing ranks, so exact keywords in your listing will improve your chances of ranking well. Some are even considering “de-optimization” to avoid making it to the featured section, but it’s still up for debate if this is necessary.
“Deduplication” of URLs
Google will now be entering a process deemed “deduplication”, meaning it will begin removing duplicate URL’s from its results pages that already exist in the featured snippets section. The purpose of deduplication is to “declutter” results and allow Google users to find relevant information more quickly and easily. This means that duplicated listings will no longer exist is both the featured snippets section and the search engine results pages (SERPs). So if you have a listing for a URL that has previously been in both sections, chances are that it isn't anymore.
Duplication Will Still Exist for Video Content
Currently, a video that is placed in the featured snippets sections may still appear on the first page of search rankings, although this is subject to change. Google has posted on Google SearchLiaisons twitter account confirming this:
To “De-optimize” or Not?
Many search engine optimizers are considering the concept of “de-optimizing”, meaning-making your content slightly less optimized so that it is not listed in the featured snippet sections, and instead is on the first page. There is a fair amount of skepticism as to whether or not this is worth the effort.
De-optimizing is most likely not worth it. Whether your listing is found in either the featured snippet section or the first page on Google, it will still benefit your SEO greatly, so there is no reason to put your listing’s potential at risk for either position. Optimizing your website as much as possible will continue to be the best solution for businesses.
Loss of Featured Snippet Listing
Are you wondering where your business listing will end up if it loses its position in the featured snippet section? Danny Sullivan of Google has made statements on twitter about whether a listing that loses its snippet section position will still appear on the first page, but it is more than likely that this is the case. Ranking in the featured snippet section means that your listing has elevated beyond the first page, so it only makes sense that if you were to lose your high ranking just enough to take it out of the section, you’d still rank on the first page.
The General Consensus
Although it is still very early in the introduction of deduplication, the potential ramifications for SEO are worth considering. It is hard to tell the many ways that this will ultimately shape the future of search engine optimization, but for now it’s important to know that it exists and that Google most likely won’t be changing back to how it was.
Many businesses are obviously frustrated with these recent changes, mainly because the value of your listing appearing twice has had an enormous positive impact. These changes will, however, diminish overwhelming competition and make getting your listing to the front page slightly easier as this coveted spot will begin to clear up in the near future due to deduplication.
What You Can Do
There aren’t any reasons to panic about this change right now. What you can do, however, is begin to improve your SEO and make any additions or updates that are needed to your current listings on Google. You can also be proud of your current listings located in the featured snippet section or on the first page, and promote your business accordingly. Getting in contact with SEO experts such as SeoTuners is a great way to ensure that your website is fully optimized and meets the standards of the internet today.
We provide a number of search engine optimization services to businesses looking to optimize their website such as branding, e-commerce, Google Local, organic SEO, and Link Building If you’re interested in improving your website’s search traffic, get in touch with us today. SeoTuners can offer an affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings with organic SEO strategies like keywords. We are confident that we have a solution for all your business marketing needs.