Keeping Your SEO on Track after Spot Zero Termination by Google


On 22 January this year, the world of search again received a big jolt with Google announcing its decision to stop featuring the URL that had earned a position of a featured snippet in the search engine results page. According to Danny Sullivan, the founder of Search Engine Watch and currently Google’s public liaison, once a web page listing assumes the position of a featured snippet, it no longer features in the search results. The move is intended to de-clutter the search results page and help users to find information more easily. According to, the de-duplication exercise, as it is being termed by Google, will not have any effect on the performance reports so even if a particular website loses the number one position but continues as a featured snippet, it will still be considered as having retained the number one rank.

Unfortunately, one of the main fallouts of this move by Google is that it has reduced the number of clicks that the popular featured snippets used to attract, which means that it is not that important for SEO practitioners to aim to make their site a featured snippet. This essentially means that webmasters and content managers need to strategize and prioritize their SEO strategies once again. Here is a template of what should be done to counter the effects of this update:

Mark the Date of the Change of Analytics 

Since Google’s update came into effect on January 22, it is important to mark this date in the analytics platform so that keeping track of all the changes that happen is made easier. Similarly, you should mark the date in all the other SEO tools that you may be using to track the performance of keywords and traffic generation to your site so that you have a clear idea of the changes that are happening due to the move by Google.

Do Not Include Featured Snippets in Fresh Keyword Research 

Research into 3000 top-performing featured snippets by 97th Floor, an analytics firm, revealed that the number of clicks that featured snippets was able to attract after the update declined significantly after the termination of spot-zero by Google. Accordingly, content managers need to engage in fresh keyword research to uncover potential opportunities leaving out the options of featured snippets and “people also ask” to be able to uncover keywords that will be able to draw more clicks.

Optimize Your Website URLs to Achieve Featured Snippet Status

The research conducted by 97th Floor also uncovered the fact that it had become easier for Page 1 URLs to achieve position zero and become featured snippets. Earlier, only the URLs that used to rank in the top three positions used to be able to do that, however, increasingly, it is being observed that there is a shift that has enabled more Page One URLs to achieve superstar status. What this means is that webmasters or SEO practitioners can spend more time on optimizing the URLs ranked lower down at present and increase their chances of successfully converting them to a featured snippet.

Conduct a Featured Snippet Traffic Review

Popular featured snippets that used to draw in a high volume of clicks have been impacted the most by this update of Google. This makes aiming for the prized position not as attractive as before so if there has been a significant reduction in the number of site clicks, you could consider opting out of the race for the prime position and instead aim to occupy the number two position in the search results page.

Carry Out a Title Tag Review

With the volume of clicks reducing, it is now more important to focus on optimizing your title tags. Ideally, you should aim to incorporate text that appeals and compels users to click, with the caveat, of course, that what you say does not mislead them. For example, leaving out the brand name in the title tag in case the brand does not enjoy easy recognition and including keywords that point more accurately to the content to make the URL click more desirable is a valid tactic.

Improve the Quality of Your Meta Descriptions 

Meta descriptions, which are nothing but snippets of around 155 characters summarizing the page content displayed by search engines along with the search results, play a very important part in generating clicks. It is very important to focus on the quality of the descriptions making sure that the target keyword or phrase is present in it so that it has instant appeal with the users who are trying to locate information of their choice.

Conduct a Structured Data Markup Review 

Highlighting your links is not necessarily the only way to get them elevated to the position of featured links. You can boost your New York SEO Agency performance with the help of the structured data associated with the page URLs. There are quite a few markups you can use in your URLs, the use of which vary with the content they point to such as event details, customer reviews, local business information, product pricing, recipe information, and much more.

De-Optimize the Featured Snippet

While it is natural to think that you can push out a URL from its status as a featured snippet by changing its content, it is better not to do so as it can hurt your page ranking. The optimum method of deactivating a featured snippet resulting from your link is by implementing the ‘data-nosnippet’ attributes to the page HTTP you desire to de-optimize.


Website admins and content managers sometimes become so engrossed in optimizing the performance of the website that they fail to keep the company management informed of the changes that are taking place in the search environment. This can lead to a situation where the top management is taken by surprise when the traffic suddenly dips and starts affecting the revenue generation.

Webmasters need to keep the top management informed of the more drastic changes and the strategy that is being adopted to tackle and overcome the concerns. A lucidly laid out plan of action will help to get the much-needed support for online and website-related activities.