Searching on Google is a very convenient experience these days thanks to a number of enhancements that can get you the information you want quicker and easier than ever before, but there are worries that these enhancements may actually be siphoning organic traffic away from websites listed in the search results. Most of the enhancements in question are designed to get you the information you need right on the search page, which is not only a quicker, easier, and potentially more accurate way to get information, but it also allows Google Assistant to read relevant information for certain queries out loud. The issue is that in many cases, users end up never clicking on the website link that actually contains that relevant information, depriving the website of traffic and ad revenue.
One of the search enhancements that does this is Featured Snippets. This enhancement puts a box at the top of the search page that has information and even pictures that are likely what a user is looking for, with a link to the source website at the bottom. If a user gets what they need from the featured snippet, Google still gets ad revenue, but the website that the information came from does not, at least not directly. Real-time results, meanwhile, show relevant information updated in real time from select sources, depending on the query. Things like the current weather are good examples of what this feature can show. Pop-up carousels of result snippets, photos, and other bits of media and information can also funnel traffic away from content-rich websites in some cases; users may get what they need from summaries of news articles present in the carousel, or may get the information they need from the carousel entries without having to click into any websites, such as when searching for a band's album list or the cast of a movie.
This trend could be troubling for webmasters, especially those who put a lot of time, money, and work into search engine optimization in order to have their websites and content appear as close to the top of a given search result page as possible. All the same, webmasters can still offer unique content that Google can't show searchers in summary, like rich video content or links to relevant content on-site, or even relevant downloads. For businesses, owners can help keep this from cutting into their bottom line, through ad revenue or decreased searcher mindshare, by ensuring that their Google listings are as up-to-date, detailed, and positive as possible.