Featured Snippet Deduplication and Content Removals - Backlink Breaker #30

Adam Tanguay
January 31, 2020

Test paralysis. So many teams I’ve worked with have suffered from this problem. They simply default to testing every idea to death, regardless of common sense. Sometimes it’s institutional — if you don't test your manager will grind the project to a halt (did you even test this yet!?)

Sometimes, testing is used to mask a lack of domain expertise and bad ideas. If you don't know what you're doing, just try a test!

Testing is obviously necessary for many projects, and it always makes sense to test something that will potentially piss off your users. But do we really need to run a 90 day A/B test on that new button color? 

SEO testing is an entirely different animal. Unless you have a number of very similar pages that you can split and observe, most SEO testing is done with in the wild, with real ranking risks. You need to understand every potential SEO factor that your changes could impact. Maybe that’s why I like SEO so much. More than any other marketing discipline, it’s about jumping into the deep water right away. No floaties, you need to know how to swim. 

The News

A new tool lets you remove content from Google Search and manage external removal requests. Available in Search Console, these new features let you temporarily remove URLs from showing up in Google Search. This doesn’t delete the URL from the index, but hides it for several months. This gives you time to permanently de-index the URL by normal means (robots.txt, 404s, etc.). This update also includes an Outdated Content and SafeSearch report. The content report provides a history of site removed site content. The SafeSearch report shows any pages that have been removed after users reported them as adult content through the SafeSearch Suggestion tool. This is a really positive new feature set for SEOs. More control over public content is a good thing for all site owners, and these tools offer a better way for all us to remove unwanted pages from search. 

If you have a massive site and care about Bing (meh) a new Bing partnership with Botify lets you submit over 10,000 URLs through the Bing Content Submission API. This really only matters if you have a ton of content updates and really need instant indexing in Bing. 

Notice the changes to search results lately? Hate them? Google will be tweaking the latest desktop SERP changes that included Favicons and black Ad labels (because everyone hates them). Initially, this was a move by Google to copy the mobile search interface over to desktop. Guest what... mobile design decisions don’t always look great on desktop.

Google will deduplicate featured snippet URLs from showing in main search results. This could really impact traffic from your best content. Basically, if you’re in a featured snippet, your site wont' repeat on the first results page. In the past, this has provided a huge boost for featured snippets since you earned position 0 and then an additional organic result. Deep down, we all knew it was too good to be true.

OMG there’s a new Vine. It’s called Byte. Let's see how it does. 

Ranking Factors