Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.
Michael Martinez: It is essentially random. I`ve seen featured snippets appear and vanish and reappear on the same query. I wouldn`t worry about it.
Jobin John: Michael Martinez But its happening for all of them. I mean I got 7 snippets and all of them have the same issue.
Michael Martinez: But other people may be seeing the snippets. And other sites may be earning snippets in those same queries. It`s not something that can be driven by SEO. Your optimization can influence the decision but never guarantee it. And the search algorithms display different results to people depending on where they are, when they search, what they just searched for previously, what device they are using, and other factors.
Jobin John: Michael Martinez True. However, I have checked the keywords using different devices and various IP`s using VPN`s and found the same results. About other sites earning snippets: Well I was able to replace 2 snippets with mine and also checked them using the same method above and was able to see the confirmed results. Used incognito mode and VPN`s to check so it is definitely not random.
Michael Martinez: Jobin John Well, if it`s being triggered by UK English you won`t be able to do much for that. I ran some tests (only a few) by changing my browser location to London. Using the same queries in two browsers (one set in America, one set in London), I pulled the same featured snippets on both sides of the pond. The language used in the snippets was American English. I was unable to think of a query where there might be substantially different results. If you can suggest one (generic in nature, not having to breach confidentiality), I`d be happy to test it and see if there appears to be a difference in idiomatic or dialectal triggers. Of course, such an experiment would not be definitive but if we can replicate the effect outside of the queries you`re monitoring, that would give some support to the language-driven hypothesis.
Jobin John: Michael Martinez Thank you Michael, Sent PM. This is a mystery for me.
Michael Martinez: So everyone knows what happened, I used two browsers (Chrome and Edge) to search on a query Jobin John shared with me from both the USA and London. In all four cases Google failed to show me a featured snippet. I confirmed that after changing my location I could still see a featured snippet for another query. MY FAILURE TO REPLICATE the search results is only inconclusive and it doesn`t prove or disprove anything. It just means I cannot see what he is seeing. I cannot offer any more feedback based on what I currently know.
Roger Montti: Are you using British English on your site?Optimise versus Optimize? That sort of thing?How many of your links originate in the UK?
Jobin John: Roger Montti It looks like its American English. I use Grammarly so that auto-corrects the spellings and Grammar errors. I double checked all keywords on all pages and it`s American English.
Jobin John: Roger Montti I have not built any links for the website. However, the domain was an aged domain, I did check the backlinks pointing to it and none of them were UK based. Also, the snippet appears in every country in the world except for USA. I checked the keywords on search engines >> Google france, Google India, Google UK, Google Ireland and many more.. it appears everywhere but just not in US.
Ash Nallawalla: Is the site set up for the UK or left undefined as a gTLD?
Jobin John: Ash Nallawalla The site is not set up for UK but yes it has been left undefined as a gTLD. Is that an issue?
Ash Nallawalla: I don`t know who is your intended primary audience, so I can`t say. Some years ago I had an Australian client that was a .com and niche leader. When they wanted to open a US office, they found that this gTLD did not rank in the US at all. This company had a lot of Australian signals pointing to it, so I suggested that they build a separate site for the US and get local signals to it.
Roger Montti: Yup, that was the intent of my second question which wasn`t answered. The question the OP didn`t answer is if the links were hosted in UK (even if .com). ;)
Jobin John: Ash Nallawalla This is a new site, the domain was bought at an online auction however the old links are US based. The site was previously targetting US. The pages on the website at present are niche based and also has few posts targeting cities like Madison, WI and a few more. It`s a blog intended to share experience and stories about a common hobby and sport. I wrote around 30 posts in 3 days which involve talking about that niche, tips, tricks, stories, experiences, learning material etc. The niche is popular in US and Canada but not so much in other countries so thats everything.