Innovations by Google in its search algorithm have always kept webmasters on tenterhooks. When it comes to the competitive world of healthcare SEO, every Google algorithm and SERP change needs to be monitored.
The Origin of the Deduplication Update
Back in January 23, Google brought in the deduplication update which kept URLs that made it to the featured snippets from repeating themselves in the search results below. Featured snippets have always been right at the top of the results, but earlier they occupied position zero in the search results and the URL re-appeared in the first page of the SERPs. However, with the update, featured snippets are considered position 1 in the results. So those URLs won’t get repeated below. But the update has kept evolving and, as some SEOs noticed, there are variations in how the featured snippets appear.
Evolution of Featured Snippets
Search Engine Land reports that there is a specific kind of featured snippets that don’t come up in top position in the organic results. These featured snippets are similar to knowledge panels in terms of certain features. They are triggered for a small section of queries. Search Engine Land’s Brodie Clark could find some common features in the new featured snippets, after analyzing millions of queries.
Featured snippets that used to appear on the right side of the results on desktop SERPs are those affected the most. These featured snippets are no longer seen. Google’s earlier plan was to merge these snippets after the deduplication update. It was considered a disadvantage to be having those positions. As per Google Search Console, these featured snippets on the right side of the SERPs were considered position 11 on the SERPs.
At times, when the featured snippet is not in the top spot, it is commonly seen in the 2nd and 3rd spots. It has also been reported to be all the way down in the 7th spot. And it’s worse in mobile.
Format Changes Noticed for Featured Snippets
The format for the new featured snippet is slightly different than before as the illustration below describes.
(Img link: https://searchengineland.com/some-featured-snippets-may-not-appear-as-the-top-organic-result-332215)
As you can see, what’s new with the new featured snippet is the People Also Search For (PASF) feature. The way images are arranged is also different as well as the snippet text. The PASF, though, isn’t seen in all searches. Moreover, these observed changes have only been seen in a small percentage of search queries. And most of these queries aren’t exactly questions. So, the change can’t be considered widespread or even noticeable all the time. For the relevant keyword searches for your site, you may perhaps find this for only around 1% of searches.
While this change may be insignificant, it is important to keep monitoring the SERPs since that’s where the results of your efforts are seen. With advanced healthcare digital marketing services, all aspects of search engine optimization are dealt with, including dealing with the SERP updates.