Google takes down its own AI-generated web stories while continuing with the test of added contextual links in the Featured Snippets

According a Brodie Clark, Google has started testing a new feature which shows short snippets related to a user’s query on the Google Search results page. Now, that was fine because these snippets, or rather ‘Featured Snippets’ used to come from online sources, publications, etc. However, two things happened which are now not sitting well with the publishers.

One important thing to remember is that if you are a publisher or an author, getting your content featured in the form of snippets by Google means that it falls into the perfect SEO dynamics and when your content and site get featured this way, it automatically ensures that you will start generating a lot of user traffic.

Now, Google started using its AI- system to collect information related to the user’s query and then started using this Google-generated collection of information from various online sources, sites, and articles all around the web to create web stories. And then it started showing these web stories as Featured Snippets for the users’ queries on the search results page. The publishers and authors whose content Google would ‘scrape’ so conveniently would never get any credit! So, this action did not go well with the publishers, and eventually, on 25th November, Google disabled all its web stories in the form of Featured Snippets and started putting a 404 error on all of them. Google said that it was an unintentional action to show Google-generated web stories as Featured Snippets, and now that Google has realized its mistake, it is blocking those pages from getting indexed.

Another thing that is creating a lot of discomfort amongst the publishers is a feature that Google has started testing just recently. Now, this feature is all about some extensive contextual searching help for the users and searchers out there.

When a user types a query in the search bar, Google shows them a featured snippet, which shows some relevant content collected from a particular source. Now, if it is left at that, it's perfect, because the searchers find relevant information and the publishers of that content get recognition as they are featured and their sites start generating user traffic. However, Google is testing to show multiple contextual links within a snippet.

This means that within a featured snippet, several words will be underlined with a dotted line. When the user will hover their cursor over the dotted-lined words, Google will show another small snippet that will provide information about that particular word. However, this new snippet is from a third-party site, and its link will direct the user to that other site, which will distract them from the original source from where Google had taken the originally featured snippet from.

While it will provide some added base for the searchers; the publishers and web content creators are not happy because of obvious reasons. Google continues to say that it is just a small experiment and may or may not even roll out eventually.

H/T: SEL.

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