Let me start off saying that I covered this at Search Engine Land, so if you read it there, there isn’t much new here. But I should add, I was wrong about the original featured snippets in 2014 and because of that, I am giving Google the benefit of the doubt with this form of featured snippet.
In short, Cyrus Shepard spotted this newish featured snippet named “Found on the Web” – it looks like this when you first see it on mobile:
As you can see, no links immediately to the publisher’s web site. It just lists information from publishers sites but no link, no real credit outside of the message at the top saying “healthline, ecowatch and others.” It is not until you click in, that you can click over to some publisher sites. Here is that screen shot:
The issue is that some publishers and SEOs feel Google is scraping and stealing their content without proper attribution.
This brings me back to 2014’s debate on us being the corkscrew and Google being the swiss army knife. Publishers, including myself, were furious that Google was taking our content, and placing the core answer directly at the top of their search results. Why would a searcher need to or want to click from Google to the publishers site? Well, I was wrong, now SEOs and publishers would love to have that featured snippet spot because it does drive nice traffic.
To be fair, Google did a lot to add more links and mentions of the publisher they used for the content. It wasn’t always so clear. But Google listened and adapted and made publishers happy.
In the new featured snippet format above, which seems like a rare format to see, how will Google do that? Well, you can see how they did it.
Here is Cyrus’s complaint:
This is an incredible search result from Google:• Answers a fairly complex question• Takes the copy of many 3rd party publisher to create its own independent web page• Zero visible on-page links to the publishers who provided the dataThis is the future of Google Search pic.twitter.com/txNU2Z7HB5
— Cyrus (@CyrusShepard) February 23, 2019
You can read Danny’s responses starting at:
Since I got asked about this, a couple of things.Most important, the future of Google Search is to continue supporting the ecosystem. We don’t thrive & users don’t thrive unless the ecosystem thrives.I wrote about this last year….https://t.co/S7Es57l7fWAnd…. pic.twitter.com/U5T95FYPKM
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) February 23, 2019
Then go down after you click through to Twitter.
All in all, I am going to give Google the benefit of the doubt because I was dead wrong 5 years ago.
Forum discussion at Twitter.