I just wanted to let you know about some upcoming minor changes to the SERPs API that might have a small impact on your solution.
We have recently introduced a field called "Featured Snippets", so that it's easy for users to parse these important organic result entries easily. Prior to this, Featured Snippet results had been classified under the "Direct Answers" label. Moving forward, from 31st May 2022, we will stop parsing organic featured snippet results as "Direct Answers" and only genuine one-box style answers such as calculators, weather and so on will be labelled as "Direct Answers". We track 4 different types of featured snippet (paragraph, table, list and video) and they will continue to be flagged as “Featured Snippets”.
Likely Impact: Both the "Featured Snippets" and "Direct Answers" fields are staying – it is likely that you will see a reduction in the number of keywords flagged as generating ‘Direct Answers’. This will be apparent if you parse the “Universal Results” section, as today it only includes “Direct Answers” (which today is a mix of genuine one-box style answers and organic featured snippets), but from May 31st the “Universal Results” section will include “Direct Answers” (limited to genuine one-box style answers) and will also include “Featured Snippets” (which will only include organic featured snippets).
From 31st May 2022, we will also be including organic featured snippets in the “Organic” results breakdown. This moves us in-line with the whole SEO industry which treats these results as enhanced organic listings. Hopefully, this should make it easier to present organic rankings to your users and properly show the impact features such as featured snippets (paragraphs, tables, lists and videos) have on organic rankings.
Here's an example to illustrate the slight differences:
Query: “How to replace a car radiator” - Google/EN/PC
BEFORE 31ST MAY 2022 – The YouTube video ranking was classified in both the “Direct Answers” and “Featured Snippets”.
AFTER 31ST MAY 2022 – The YouTube video ranking is now only classified as a “Featured Snippet”.
BEFORE 31ST MAY 2022 – The top organic result ignored the ranking featured snippet (you had to add it by parsing other elements).
AFTER 31ST MAY 2022 - The top organic result now automatically includes the Featured Snippet and the type is set to “featured_snippet”.
BEFORE 31ST MAY 2022 – In the Universal Results section we included featured snippets under the “direct_answers” type field.
AFTER 31ST MAY 2022 – In the Universal Results section we will now include the same result but more correctly labelled as a “featured_snippet” type field.
We hope that these changes will only have a minor impact on your side and won’t require any significant code changes.
If you have any further questions then please do reach out to our support team on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be delighted to help.