Google’s Featured Snippets in Search has always been somewhat controversial.
In 2014, website owners and SEOs accused Google of essentially using the content they produce without the required attribution or on-page links. While the issue calmed somewhat in the intervening years, a recent discovery by Zyppy.com’s Cyrus Shepard has reignited the debate once more.
The disagreement between website owners and the world’s biggest search engine pertains to “found on the web” snippets, which include a small section of text from a website and display it directly on Google.
(An example of a Feature Snippet)
Shepard highlighted that to see the publisher sources, searchers have to expand the snippet in question – an unlikely action if the Google Featured Snippet told them everything they needed to know.
As a result, website content is essentially supplying Google with “free” content, with no impetus placed on the searcher to ever view the original source of information.
In response to Shepard – and those who agreed with his assessment, and found it troubling – many have pointed out that the format improves the user experience for the searcher, and that Google does show the source of the information when the card has been expanded.
The debate surrounding Google’s use of featured snippets is long-standing and, in the past, Google executives have suggested that they understand the concerns of publishers.
However, though Google have defended themselves against webmasters’ outrage, the continued concern of website owners and SEO Agency’s regarding the use of snippets suggests the matter is far from settled and is likely to continue for much of the foreseeable future.
The debate continues…..