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This is not a test; it’s a bug with embedded links within Featured Snippets, Google confirmed in a blog post after many users thought it was a test.
Google’s Featured Snippet feature appeared to contain a bug that other search marketers called “shady as hell.” However, a Google spokesperson clarifies that it was a bug, not a feature.
Within a publisher’s featured snippet content, embedding links for more Google searches was allegedly tested.
It was not well received by the search community to embed a search refinement into a featured snippet.
The method by which Google refines a user’s search is called search refinement. Since vague searches can mean many different things, changing the search query to a more precise one will likely result in better search results.
As such, users who are searching for Lollipop will be able to refine their search to return versions of the song from different artists or lyrics from the song itself.
What is being tested by Google within the new featured snippet is an extension of search refinement that embeds links to refined searches directly into the publisher’s content.
Featured Snippet Bug
Google now adds hyperlinks to search result pages from featured snippets referring to related terms; it may be already there, but I noticed it for the first time. The screenshot shows the Google search page linked to Google cloud, Google cloud security, and Google cybersecurity.
Google has confirmed the embedded link issue in a featured snippet.
Google responded to an email I sent to inquire about what was going on, and they let us know. That’s a bug, not a test.
According to a Google spokesperson:
“We can confirm that this is a bug and is not intended behavior for links on featured snippets. We are actively working on a fix.”
Bug in Google Search
Programming bugs occur when something unintended occurs. Debugging is the process of finding and repairing these issues.
It’s been known for a while that many people thought this was a real test, and it speaks volumes about how the search community feels that many easily believe Google’s test would be such a thing.