Google has started displaying featured snippets in a search that displays content from a range of publishers in one simple and easily digestible result.
While the new format is likely to be incredibly useful for consumers as it pulls info from a variety of sources quickly, publishers may be concerned that there are no visible on-page links to the source content or any of the data used.
SEO expert Cyrus Shepard noted on Twitter that the new compact snippets appear to go out of their way not to direct traffic to respective publishers as consumers can get answers to their queries without clicking through to a particular webpage. However, links are included if a searcher expands the snippet via a drop-down menu.
Featured snippets have caused a bit of a stir in the SEO world, and the concerns prompted Google’s Danny Sullivan to explain the search giant’s thought process that inspired the changes. He said that search results are always evolving and that it should not have to act and look “like it’s 1998”.
He added: “For everyone to grow, search has to keep evolving. While I think SEOs are fair to raise concerns about new formats, I also think they should recognize that new formats bring in new and often welcomed opportunities. Which leads back to this particular feature.”
Sullivan also reiterated the importance of the Google Search “ecosystem” thriving and the need for changes to be made to continue its evolution. He concluded: “We don’t thrive & users don’t thrive unless the ecosystem thrives.”