Dr. Pete Meyers was the first to notice the change, since it affected Mozcast data for both the regular weather report and the in-depth results, but with the corrected results have some changes.
Temps and In-depth Articles data are adjusted for @MozCast now. It does appear there was an In-depth change, but not 100% sure.
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) January 7, 2016
First, Google has dropped the percentage of results that show in-depth article results by about half. Mozcast data shows that in-depth results were showing for about 13.2% of all queries they track, but on January 5, 2016 that dropped to just over 7%.
Here is how in-depth results are appearing now.
Some in-depth results now only have a single line description snippet though.
This change could have been made because Google is showing 3 and 4 lined snippets in their regular Google search results now, and they are trying to keep the length of the pages down, particularly on pages that also have other search features too.
Google has made multiple changes to how Google displays the in-depth articles over the past year. In April they removed thumbnails from the in-depth results. They also removed the “In-Depth Articles” header that used to appear at the top of all those results. So these new changes are bringing it more inline with regular organic search results.
Now, with this change, the only way to tell whether the results are in-depth results or not is by the line breaks Google still uses to separate them from regular results.
If some sites were receiving a lot of traffic from in-depth article results, then it could definitely have a negative impact on CTR. But I imagine Google did some testing of this and found there wasn’t a huge decline in CTR, or that the clicks switched to other results on the page, meaning it didn’t affect overall search results quality.
This change seems to be for all users worldwide.
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