Solution for a Site Lost All of Its Featured Snippets in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPS)

Friedman
Has anyone seen a site lose all of its featured snippets in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs)? I'm looking at a site right now that gets about 3 million organic search visitors per month, but lost 100% of their featured snippets in October/November. They had over 500 according to SEMrush and now have zero. Rankings are consistent. Traffic is consistent. Google obviously doesn't hate the site. They rank in the top 50 for about 300k keywords in the U.S. They rank in the top 10 for over 70k. However, they have zero snippets. That is not hyperbole. Literally a big fat zero.
I have a list of 22 other sites that also all lost all of their featured snippet positions around the same timeframe.
It's odd to me because if it was a negative ranking issue, I would think they would have seen some sort of decline in rankings / traffic, but that is not the case.
There has been some chatter about this in recent months, but Google has denied that there is any kind of featured snippet ban going on. This site says otherwise.
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Friedman ✍️
Also, there is no nosnippet tag on the sites or max-snippet restriction.
Truslow 🎓
Do the search terms still have snippets at all?
There was a thought going around a few months ago that there was some sort of potential sitewide penalty for featured snippets – but in every specific case I looked at I found it to be one of a couple other reasons.
1) The snippets they were getting weren't particularly accurate – I mean, the content was fine, but they didn't really answer the question at hand. In these cases, Google realized that the knowledge graph just didn't really understand this area of knowledge very well so it just killed off ALL featured snippets for those subject areas OR it happened to find a source that was doing a bit better job at answering the question/need.
2) Google's idea of the search intent changed – so it's treating the term as if it's asking a completely different question – or at least looking for a completely different type of answer to the question.
A few cases had some that I couldn't quite nail down – but they were on sites where some of the ones they lost I COULD nail down to one of these causes (with one of the three results described above). I'm not sure what causes that – but I suspect it falls back to confidence scores in some way. If they had 12 snippets and 8 of them turned out to have better or different answers, then maybe Google doesn't have as high confidence that the other 4 are good? I dunno there. I don't feel like the "ban" or "penalty" theories have any real weight – but it could be a "the site is generally not far enough above that zero level to warrant consideration for the time being." Maybe? It's hard to say. And at least 6-8 weeks have passed since I looked at all this – so a lot could have changed since then.

Friedman ✍️ » Truslow
I could buy into some of that if they lost half their snippets or a large percentage. They lost 100% of them basically overnight. Over 500 snippets to zero. That's something more than the search intent changing or them not answering the questions.
And Google clearly still loves the site. Tons of traffic. Tons of top ranking pages. If it was a quality issue or a search intent issue, odds are they would still have held onto at least a handful of the snippets.
Friedman ✍️
Oh, and also the rate of snippets looks like it increased. In August, <year>, there were 37,000 search queries they showed up for that had featured snippets in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). This month there are over 82,000.
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Truslow 🎓
Not sure – all I can say is that every site that I was given details on and looked at – I could explain almost every one of them.
Friedman ✍️ » Truslow
Did those sites lose 100% of their snippets or just a lot of them?
Truslow 🎓
The ones in question were 100%. But the niche was the niche – a bigger player suddenly got better at presenting the info, Google's understanding of the niche changed or went into heavy play, or something along those lines. A broad change in how Google looked at that entire niche in terms of the way it features information. (which often has little or no bearing on the organic SERPs – though I've seen those moving around in similar ways, just typically not at the same time as the position zero stuff)
I should also say it was only 6 sites that I looked at in this scenario – so it's a pretty small sampling. My evidence is still basically more anecdotal than something I could call a fact. But I did find a valid – non penalty/ban reason for all six.

Bergen
Are featured snippets no longer populating for the searches in live SERPs, or are you losing out to a competitor?

Friedman ✍️ » Bergen
The rate of snippets looks like it increased. In August, <year>, there were 37,000 search queries they showed up for that had featured snippets in the SERP. This month there are over 82,000.
This isn't a competitor issue. They lost 100% of the snippets overnight. Over 500 of them.
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Montti
Just want to rule out that this is not an SEMrush data issue.
Did you check on specific featured snippets that the company "knew for a fact" were live in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) and then verified that the snippets were no longer showing for their web page?

Friedman ✍️ » Montti
They checked in Ahrefs. I used SEMrush. Same results.
Montti » Friedman
That's ALMOST confirmation.
What if Google changed something to limit tool access/scraping and that's what you're seeing?
I'm just asking if anyone popped their head out of a tool and just eyeballed a selection of SERPs
Friedman ✍️ » Montti
There are featured snippets for other sites. This isn't every site across the board.
Montti » Friedman
Sorry, speaking by messages can be unclear because it feels like I'm asking something specific (were the SERPs checked) and I'm getting an answer for something else. 🙂
So the answer is no? Nobody did a comprehensive check of the actual SERPs
Friedman ✍️ » Montti
So you think for 7 months SEMrush has been reporting false data and nobody noticed until now?
Vladimir » Friedman
I think he is asking you if you just googled the website to manually see if the snippet is there.
Friedman ✍️ » Vladimir
I understand what was being asked. It's not an error with the tools.
Montti » Friedman
RE:"so you think for 7 months SEMrush has been reporting false data"
I'm not implying anything. I'm simply asking a question and you keep deflecting when a simple "No." would suffice. 😉
When diagnosing anything it's good to be comprehensive in order to rule out every possible issue. That includes the possibility that your tool is incorrect.
Why not rule it out and be certain? It's a reasonable thing to do.
Friedman ✍️ » Montti
I don't know how many times I have to say it. It's not the tools.
Montti » Friedman
Weird, I feel like we are not communicating. How about this:
Yes or no:
Did you or did you not check the actual SERPs
Friedman ✍️ » Montti
Of course I did.
Montti » Friedman
That's all you had to say. 🤣

Friedman ✍️
I can't share the site I'm concerned with, but here is a similar example.
They had about 340 featured snippets as of July/August. It now has zero, despite traffic nearly doubling in that timeframe.
I have 21 more of these.
GAMERJOURNALIST.COM
Video Game news and guides from GamerJournalist.com
Rathi
Same on the lines of Truslow, did the whole niche lose featured snippets? Or your website lost and some competitor got them? Are featured snippets even showing at all?
Going by the knowledge shared in other groups, it is possible to scrape a whole site and replicate it in a better fashion to grab all the featured snippet. (If it was that, or else Google just removed them for that niche in the algorithm update)

Friedman ✍️ » Rathi
There are more snippets showing now than there were in Auguest / September, so it is not a case of snippets just disappearing.
Again, this isn't a matter of competitors overtaking them. If that were the case, they would have held on to a few of them. The site in question lost over 500 of them. I have a list of another 22 sites that all lost 100% of their snippets and it was not gradual.

Joe
If I remember correctly there was a Google algo adjustment and there were reports from a lot of different companies about big snippet losses. But to lose every single one?? Weird. Forget that site, Who replaced them? That site may have not changed while someone else may have. It is always easier to improve than it is to maintain being at the top.

Friedman ✍️ » Joe
If it was just a matter of competitors overtaking them, they still would have held on to some of them. They lost 100% of them more or less overnight. It wasn't just one site that overtook the snippets. There are lots of sites with them.

Lenny
Out of curiosity… did the replaced snippets happen to be big brands like Home Depot or Lowes?

Friedman ✍️
Lenny they were replaced by all kinds of sites.

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