When Snippets Don’t Help
It’s general knowledge that ranking highly on Google is a good thing. It drives traffic, improves authority by making it more accessible, and increases brand awareness. But what happens when ranking doesn’t improve the business?
One of our domains has six featured snippets in their top eight pages, as ranked by Ahrefs.com. Featured snippets are the gold standard of rankings. They get high volumes of traffic, are valuable, and mean the page is pretty well optimized. If you look at the data, the first page is valued at over $2,000.
Snippets and Bouncing
One of the struggles related to featured snippets is the high bounce rate. People look for answers, find them, and then move on. Of the six snippets, only one has a bounce rate lower than 80%. This is pretty terrible, considering the site as a whole has an average bounce rate of 15%. While bouncing users may be a sign of increased brand visibility, they are also not paying the bills.
Snippets and Conversions
So we’re currently looking at a sample size of six snippets. Only two of them resulted in more than one conversion in the past three months, and those two didn’t exactly blow anything out of the water. This isn’t boding well for the fiscal benefits of featured snippets.
Expand the Sample
So we were looking at one domain. Let’s expand that. I glanced at a few of the other domains under our watchful eye and found results that weren’t all too surprising. This is all anecdotal, and further study would be good, but let’s start with what we’ve got.
When looking at the correlation between snippets and conversions, there didn’t actually seem to be much of one. Pages with featured snippets converted similar if not fewer users than pages that performed at a similar level. This makes sense, as the users who utilize featured snippets are often looking for a quick answer and don’t necessarily want to hire a lawyer. Just because you’re looking for the penalties of a second offense DUI doesn’t mean you were arrested for a second offense DUI.
Ok, conversions aren’t the best metric to look at. What about new users? If the theory tracks, pages with featured snippets should be head and shoulders above the rest of the pages as far as new users go.
But that isn’t always the case either. Look at this domain’s Google Analytics sorted by new users (pages with snippets are green):
Of the top 25 pages for new users, only six of them were snippet-ized. Beyond that, the average bounce rate for those six pages is 74.62%, not exactly to die for. Again, these numbers remain relatively consistent across domains.
Here’s the question: are snippets worthy of being the golden goose of SEO? To be fair, our domains are all legal, which don’t exactly serve well for converting for snippets. This is one of the reasons why we don’t aim for snippets as an official business goal. While we generally consider them beneficial, we don’t see them as an instant success. Leads should always be the defining metric of the success of a campaign.