Snippets: How to optimise for zero click searches

Google SEO

While you might not have realised it, you probably refer to a snippet on a daily basis as you search Google for your queries. 

If you are not familiar with the term, a snippet is when the search engine result page (SERP) answers a searcher’s query with content at the top of the page.

This means that the searcher doesn’t need to click through to a web page to find the content they are looking for.

Research has found that more than 50% of Google searches end without a click to other content.

Statistically, 34.3% of desktop searches and 61.5% through mobile result in no clicks. These numbers are huge when you consider that snippets are a fairly new and under-used concept.

However, perhaps the most exciting thing to note is that, according to a study by Ahref, 87.7.% of search queries in Google have no snippet

This means that there is a wealth of opportunity for your business to gain a competitive advantage and be seen as a credible authority in your field by a wider audience.

What is a snippet?

There are 4 different kinds of featured snippets that are worth highlighting. But before we go into them in more detail, it is important to understand exactly what a featured snippet is. 

A snippet is a short piece of content that directly answers a searcher’s query.

It can appear in the form of a list, definition, table, and steps by step guide.

One example can be seen below:

whipped coffee snippet

A snippet is also known as position zero. Or a zero click search. This is because Google places the snippet at the very top of a SERP — even above high ranking pages. 

Why are snippets important for SEO?

Snippets offer the perfect opportunity to get more clicks from organic search results without having to win the top Google ranking. They also give the chance for low-ranking pages to get to the top of search results with relatively little effort.

If you do manage to get your content in the featured snippet slot, then your content will be the very first thing searchers see.

This will give your page some serious clout — HubSpot research has found that content with a featured snippet gets a 2x higher click through rate.

Secondly, Ahrefs has found that ranking first for a search term and having a featured snippet means you gain 31% more traffic than if you just had the first position ranking. 

Making snippets a key part of your SEO strategy is therefore becoming more important as other website owners begin to realise their potential. 

The 4 types of featured snippets

1. Paragraph snippet

This is the most common type of featured snippet, making up 50% of all Google snippets.

A paragraph will generally give a short and concise answer to your question.

rainbow snippet

2. List snippet

A list is the second most common snippet, making up 37% of the mix.

A list will often feature numbers or bullet points in order to answer the question. It is mostly commonly associated with ‘how to’ types of searches.

how to snippet

3. Table snippet

Tables are great at showing a collection of data in one handy place. Google formats this for you, but to optimise your snippet it is recommended that you do this to make it easier to read for visitors.

Tables are not as popular as a paragraph or list snippet, making up only 9% of all web snippets.

table snippet

4. Video snippet

If something is a little more complicated to explain with words alone, a video can take you straight to the answer.

Again, video featured snippets only make up 2% of the mix, so there are lots of opportunities here.

how to panel snippet

How to optimise for zero click searches

It therefore makes great sense to try and win featured snippets in order to gain more organic traffic.

It is important to note that to get the best success from them, you should be looking to rank on page 1 of Google beforehand in order to win the snippet.

To rank for featured snippets, you firstly need to identify the right opportunities:

  1. Create a report to find the relevant keywords for your featured snippet. 
  2. Filter the keywords that are ranking between positions 1 and 10.
  3. Filter the keywords that already have featured snippets. 

The keywords that are left offer you the greatest chance of ranking on a featured snippet and are therefore the best ones to go after. 

Putting your keywords into practise

Once you are confident that you have identified your keywords, it is helpful to understand your searchers’ intent.

Understand your searcher’s intent

How does your content help to answer a query? And how do you answer it quickly so potential customers don’t have to spend time searching?

Knowing your searchers’ intent allows you to provide a detailed yet succinct answer to the question.

Get straight to the point

Don’t add any fluff or filler content – try to keep it short and to the point because Google rewards good content.

Monitor the featured snippets you are targeting

After you have nailed your keywords and content, it is time to start monitoring the featured snippets you are targeting. If you are not seeing the results you want or expect, you might need to revisit your keywords or improve your content to gain better results. 

Maybe make your content more tailored to your searchers’ intent. Or it might be that you haven’t quite hit the intent this time round. If not, continue with your search but focus more specifically on what your business or brand can offer. 

Add a tl;dr summary

Another great tip which might help you win snippets is to add a tl;dr summary. This basically means “too long, didn’t read”.

If you have popular pages or high converting content, you could add a summary detailing what your page is about.

This means that you can still rank for featured snippets by pulling out the most important pieces of information and populating this section with quality keywords. 

Need a hand optimising for zero click searches?

If you would like further help or advice on how to optimise for zero click searches, please feel free to get in touch with The Content Marketing Team.

We are a friendly and helpful team and will happily chat about your questions and requirements, without obligation.

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