SEO Guides

How I Got My Lost Google Featured Snippets Back?

Written by Akash Navi

Traffic, traffic, and traffic all we webmasters need is web traffic. If we get enough traffic to our website we can convert a good amount of sales and earn a good amount of money out of it.

But what if you don’t get good traffic to your website?

The answer is very simple and you currently have that in your mind.

And that is we will earn nothing out of our website or blog. Which is not good because many people blog or run a website to get some amount of money out of it.

This is one scenario where you will not get traffic to your website. But wait what if you suddenly lose your web traffic?

I know how it feels it is a heartbreaking movement when we lose the website which we build with lots of care and efforts.

Losing website traffic is directly proportional to losing website itself. There are many cases by which you can lose the website traffic.

Like it can be because of the Google’s animals (Panda etc.) or any of the manual actions applied on your website.

But you can see a considerable amount of traffic loss when you lose Google Featured Snippets. If you have lost the Google Featured Snippets then don’t worry.

Because I will try my best to help you get your lost Google Featured Snippets. This is a case study which you are currently reading. I will tell you few things which are points and proof on how I lost the Google Featured Snippets and again earned or got them back.

What I Did to Get My Lost Google Featured Snippets Back?

Google Featured Snippets

Before we proceed further with this guide let’s educate ourselves about what really Google Featured snippets are?

What is a Featured Snippet?

A Featured Snippet is shown in some search engine results pages (SERPs), usually when a question-based query is being searched for. The snippet displays content from within one of the pages ranking on page one that directly answers the question searched for without the user having to visit the actual page.

As already mentioned you will not see Google Featured Snippets on each and every page of search engine result pages.

We come across them on some pages only.

Which are normally question-based query like “How to Lose Weight?” look at the image below for more clarity.

Example

You can see two links below the Google Featured Snippet and they are About this result and Feedback.

If you click on About this result then you will be taken to the Google Support page where you will get everything about this kind of result on the page.

If you wish to read more about the Google Featured Snippets, then you can read it here.

And the other button is Feedback.

Now here starts the serious part of this guide. Because this is one of the reasons why you may have lost your Google Featured Snippets.

This is a feedback button with the help of which the people who are using Google can give feedback about the result. If many people give negative feedback about your rich snippet then you will lose it.

Google thinks that the featured snippet is not right and it will withdraw it. You may see other page being featured or no Google Featured Snippet for the query.

But this does not happen in most of the cases. People just ignore if they feel the result is not right. They scroll down and use the other results displayed there.

Let me show you an example where the Google Featured Snippet is not right but still it is up there and no one has submitted the feedback.

Wrong Result in Featured Snippet

Here the query is about “How to register mobile number with Canara Bank account?”

But the page which is featured in the rich snippet is about CanMobile.

CanMobile is completely different which is the mobile banking app of Canara Bank. And the steps which are featured are to register for CanMobile.

We got to know two things now and they are,

  • Google featured snippets are not always correct.
  • And not many people use the feedback button mentioned just below the snippet.

So we can conclude that the chances of losing Google featured snippets because of feedback is considerably low. Please note that there are many searches every month for the keyword which is mentioned above.

My Case Study: How I Got My Lost Google Featured Snippets Back?

Now I will share my case study with you on how I got my rich snippets back. I have some websites about 4 of them, recently due to some changes I made to my website I lost my Google featured snippets.

And because of that, I saw a huge dip in the traffic I use to get. The website about which I am talking about is a niche specific website which is about 4 months old.

What did I do?

I did not make a huge change to the content or link building strategy of my niche website. I changed my theme which I was using on that website.

This is the biggest mistake I made. And I was too wrong to choose the theme for my niche website.

Now you may be thinking what? How can a theme affect so much?

But yes, the theme matters a lot!

Before I can answer you how a theme change affected so much that I lost my Google featured snippets. I would like to explain to you how Google show these featured snippets.

How Google Selects Featured Snippet?

The selection of the page which should be displayed in the Google featured snippet is not selected by humans. It is completely done by the machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms.

The machine learns and understands the concept and when this happens. It gets a clear information about what the web page or post is.

Then it can be and will be displayed in the Google featured snippets. In most of the cases, we see list post and question-based query.

If you want to your content to be featured in the Google featured snippets. You have to make your content easy to understand to the Google.

I am not telling that you should build the content for machines and not for humans. In fact, build it for humans but make sure even machine understands it better.

Can You Mark Your Content to be Featured?

Building the content for humans which is easy for the machine (Google) to understand is what you can do to get featured snippets.

But you can’t mark your content which should be featured in the search results. Let’s read what Google has to say about this.

You can’t. Google programmatically determines that a page contains a likely answer to the user’s question, and displays the result as a featured snippet.

But if you don’t wish to get featured in the rich snippets you can opt-out. To do so you have to add the below-mentioned tag to your page.

<meta name="googlebot" content="nosnippet">

The most important thing which you should know is Google featured snippets are part of Search Appearance. You may have come across the Search Appearance part in the Google Search Console.

How Google Understands Your Content?

Now the real question is how to make Google understand your content at its level best? Google has many machine learning algorithms.

But along with them, you can support Google’s machine learning algorithms by using Schema.org markup and microformats.org markup.

Google uses these markup data to understand your content. So you should use these markups on your website.

How My Theme Affected Negatively?

Now we know how Google selects the featured snippets and how it understands your content. As I have already told you that I had lost my Google featured snippets because I just changed the theme which I was using on my niche website.

But why did the new theme affected negatively?

That’s all because my new theme had no Schema.org and Microformats.Org markups!

Without any markup data, it’s hard for Google to understand the content. And this is why I lost my Google featured snippets.

How I Know That the Theme is the Real Culprit?

I have already mentioned that the featured snippets are part of search console’s search appearance section. Soon after 3 days since I changed the theme, the structured data errors boomed up.

Check out the structured data errors below in the screenshot I got from the Google search console. The data is as on 02/05/2017.

Structured Data Errors

I had changed the theme of my niche website on 20-04-2017.

On 23/04/2017 Google found the error on 1,042 items (pages) out of 1,145 items found. As soon as I realized that all this mishap was caused by my new theme I then rolled back.

After that when Google bot recrawled the pages again with the old theme you can see the number of errors came down.

What happened next?

As the number of errors in structured data report came down, I got my Google featured snippets back. This is how I got all my featured snippets back.

This was my case study, it’s not like everytime any website looses it’s featured snippet it is because of the theme only. I can’t say this happens with all the websites.

I just thought it will be useful to my fellow webmasters if I share this case study with them.

If you have errors in the structured data then drill down the errors and fix them. There are chances that you will get your featured snippets back.

How I Tested My Theme’s Markup Data?

We are now at the last part of this guide, let me share with you the steps which I followed to check the markup data of my theme.

Testing Structured Data

Open the structured data testing tool of Google, and enter the URL of any page of your website and click on Run Test.

If you don’t find the things detected in the report then you have to fix those errors.

For example, I have highlighted hentry error in one of the images I have inserted above in this guide. Which means my page is missing the hentry markup. I have to fix that on my website, even you have to do the same.

Time to wrap up the things, what did you feel about this case study on how I got my lost Google featured snippets back?

Share your thoughts with me by commenting below. I would love to hear from you, if you have something similar to share with me then don’t hesitate to mention it in your comment.

4 Comments

  • It is amazing how the theme matters that much Akash. Never would I think a change would lose ya your rich snippets. But Google is a fickle beast 😉 I too had snippets for a minute but disappeared, they did. Time to super sleuth this one. Thanks for sharing!

    Ryan

    • Thanks for your comment Ryan, And yes Google is a Beast 😀 and we can’t really crack the things going in Google’s mind.

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