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Good morning, Marketers, what is going on with the featured snippets in Google Search?
As you know, Google has been pushing displaying featured snippets in its search results for years and years. When it first launched, publishers were scared that it would result in less visibility and clicks to their web site. But now, if you have a featured snippet, losing it can be devastating to your traffic.
Around February 19, Google started to show significantly fewer featured snippets in its search results. Then, last Friday, March 12, featured snippets returned to normal levels. Here are charts from Moz, RankRanger and Semrush showing the featured snippet saturation levels in the Google Search results by day:
Google offered no clarification on what occurred here but I guess we can assume there was a bug that occurred on February 19th and then it was resolved on March 12th? Did you notice? How did this impact your traffic? Please let me know on Twitter @rustybrick – I am curious if you saw any impact to your Google traffic as a result of this.
Featured snippet editor
New feature lets you manage your reviews in Google My Business
Now you can easily manage your reviews in a new location within Google My Business. This new feature not only lets you report issues with reviews and issue takedown requests for some reviews, it also lets you check the status of previous takedown requests. Just a heads up, if you manage a lot of businesses and reviews, this tool might not work for you.
You can see a full step by step review of this tool here.
Video SEO best practices from Google
Google published some new help content and video around best practices for video SEO. First, there is a new video, what Google calls a “lighting talk”, on the topic of video SEO best practices by Danielle Marshak, Product Manager at Google. Second, there is an updated help document section on video SEO best practices.
The video goes over how Google indexes videos, the signals it picks up from videos to understand them, where they appear in Google and a list of SEO best practices for videos.
Google also updated its help documentation for the video best practices section. The new documentation goes over how to help Google find your videos, ensure they can be indexed, allow Google to fetch your video content files, enable specific video features and remove, restrict, or update your videos as needed.
Words in URLs, browser extensions and local home-based businesses
Words in your URLs. We all know that using keywords in your URLs can help a bit with rankings in Google search. But did you know that once Google indexes the content of that page, those words in that URL are worth a lot less in terms of rankings? John Mueller said that recently in a video hangout.
Browser extensions messing with your core web vitals. Are you concerned that browser plugins or extensions are going to hurt your core web vital metrics? Since browser extensions can change how a page loads, both in terms of speed and layout, Google may ding your super optimized page because of an extension that messed up your page. Addy Osmani from Google said on Twitter it is possible that extensions can impact your scores here. The truth is, that is probably not going to happen because, as John Mueller of Google said on Reddit, very few people install extensions on their mobile browsers.
Privacy concern for home businesses. To protect the privacy of home businesses, Google has an option to label your business as a service area business (SAB) in Google My Business. Well, it seems like now, you can find the business on street view to locate the address of businesses that are labeled as service area businesses. We are hoping Google closes this loophole soon.