Tuesday April 18, 2017

Google’s Featured Snippets Are Destroying Small Businesses

You aren’t the only one who takes the "Featured Snippets" box for grantedآ—so does Google. Imagine being asked by the search giant to give up your website’s information for their Knowledge Graph, telling them no (since it would be of no benefit to you and merely reduce your hits), but having them steal your data anyway and seeing your traffic destroyed. That is reportedly what happened to CelebrityNetWorth.com, and probably many others. Worse is that many of the snippets did not even link back to the appropriate site.

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In February 2016, Google started displaying a Featured Snippet for each of the 25,000 celebrities in the CelebrityNetWorth database, Warner said. He knew this because he added a few fake listings for friends who were not celebrities to see if they would pop up as featured answers, and they did. "Our traffic immediately crumbled," Warner said. "Comparing January 2016 (a full month where they had not yet scraped our content) to January 2017, our traffic is down 65 percent." Warner said he had to lay off half his staff. (Google declined to answer specific questions for this story, including whether it was shooting itself in the foot by destroying its best sources of information.)