The Featured Snippet is the official SEO newsletter of Performics and is dedicated to keeping you up to date with the latest SEO industry news, trends, and events—all in an easy-to-read, summed-up format. See below for the latest version of The Featured Snippet:
In the February 2021 issue of The Featured Snippet:
Google officially began rolling out Passage Ranking on February 10 for U.S. English search results. This update allows Google to better identify individual passages of a web page to better understand how relevant a page is to search. The below screenshot shows the difference in SERP appearance before and after new passage understanding capabilities:
Here is the official announcement from Google:
Passage Ranking is a significant update, as Google announced that it’s expected to affect 7% of search queries.
Google is starting to roll out a new “About this Result” SERP feature. This new feature allows users to find out more about the site they are visiting, if it’s secure, and if the listing is paid or organic. This GIF shows this feature in action, and the below screenshot illustrates how this feature appears in SERPs:
Google often rewrites META descriptions, and based on a study from Ahrefs, it happens over 50% of the time. To test this, Ahrefs tested hardcoded META descriptions with actual Google desktop snippets for 20,000 keywords. The main takeaway from this study is that Google rewrote meta descriptions 62.78% of the time. Other takeaways include:
New Association Functionality
Google launched “Associations” in Search Console—a feature that connects a Search Console property and some other entity or property in another Google service. Here are all the services that can be associated:
The below screenshot shows this new feature in Google Search Console:
Updated Core Web Vitals Boundaries
Google announced that Core Web Vitals metrics defining the boundaries for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which used to be < (less than), are now defined as <= (less than or equal to). As a result of these changes, Google Search Console may show more URLs marked as passing Core Web Vitals metrics.
Ranking Boost: All Core Web Vitals Must be Met
Google explained that all Core Web Vitals benchmarks must be met in order to qualify for a ranking signal boost. That means that LCP, FID, and CLS must be characterized as “good” in order to receive a ranking boost in SERPs.
Google announced that in November 2020 they released a Google Image Search update that reduces duplicate images in image Search results. According to Google, they “made an improvement to Image Search to reduce duplicate images, so that we can display others that are relevant yet visually distinct.” The official announcement from Google is below: