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I have noticed in the past few months that traffic to the QA section of my site has plummeted. The vast amount of the 300+ pages here rank quite well in Google and I am not doing anything to cheat the system. I decided to do a few searches and I have found that almost every page is now the featured snippet for the search result and the answer to most of the questions are featured in the snippet, meaning the user never needs to visit my site.

I can understand how this benefits the user, but how does it benefit me, the person who is putting time and effort into publishing the content?

Is there a way to prevent Google from using snippets from my website in this way? Is there even any legal grounds to this? If I were to take "snippets" from other websites that gave the user the answer they needed, I would likely get hit with a copyright notice for plagiarism.

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You can disallow Google to show snippets for your results, which affects all kind of snippets (featured as well as normal!):

  • For Google only:

    <meta name="googlebot" content="nosnippet">
    
  • For all search engines (that support it):

    <meta name="robots" content="nosnippet">
    

Instead of HTML, you can also use the HTTP header X-Robots-Tag.

Google’s documentation: Meta tags that Google understands


Google doesn’t seem to offer a way to disallow only featured snippets.

If you want to keep normal snippets and avoid featured snippets, the only option you have is to change your markup in such a way that Google is no longer able to detect and extract the information. As Google doesn’t document how the feature works, you would have to guess/try.

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