Rich snippet visibility falls sharply in Google search engine results
A compelling consensus conveyed by analytical reports released lately has suggested that Google has begun to display rich snippets far less frequently in their search engine results over the past two months.
The trend was first highlighted by SEO commentator SEER Interactive, who reported that the number of markup snippets appearing in the internet giant’s search results noticeably fell between the 11th of July and the 16th of July.
SEER posted a number of screen shots comparing ten different videos and domains for an iPhone 5 review video on the 11th of July and five videos and three varying domains on the 16th of July for the same search. The results intriguingly illustrated that visibility had noticeably declined over the five day period, a trend that has seemingly continued as other prominent SEO commentators have begun to highlight the occurrence.
Weather report site Mozcast also posted graphical evidence displaying a 28% fall in the number of video thumbnails, concretising SEER’s observational assertion:
Whilst prominent media-based sites such as Youtube.com, Vevo, Hulu, Discovery, National Geographic and Today have been left unaffected by the apparent shift in Google’s stance towards snippets, other major organisations like the N.Y Times, Amazon.com and Zappos have all been detrimentally impacted, suggesting that the sudden and unexplained change could have wider ranging ramifications for the media industry than first thought.
Despite Mozcast and SEER establishing the existence of the trend, it is SEOlytics who have given the most severe and radical disclosure about the fall in snippet visibility within Google search results. Following an analysis of ten thousand video search results in the USA between the 16th and 17th of July, SEOlytics found that snippet visibility fell by a staggering 44%, with Youtube – whose parent company is Google – illustrating the biggest share of media snippets.
At present, it doesn’t appear that organic Google rankings have been affected by the shift in visibility, suggesting that this modification by the search engine giant could be for more aesthetic reasons than algorithmic motives. The news comes after Google’s decision to get rid of author images from the results displayed in its search engine, which has generated huge debate about the future of video thumbnails altogether.
However, a recent statement from a Google spokesperson conveyed the stance that they will continue to display video snippets for results where they believe its presence is relevant.
Google’s John Mueller has downplayed the significance of the new trend, remarking on his Google+ profile:
“We’re still showing video snippets, seeing changes from time to time is normal”.