For years, search engines have been everyone’s go to for finding out information. So it makes sense that they are continually refining their algorithms to be able to quickly deliver better, more accurate results. Because of this, search engines, like Google, are now pushing down organic website listings in favour of their own data-rich content snippets.
Featured content snippets include knowledge panels, definitions, recipes, maps and videos, these are also known as SERP features. With these now dominating most of page 1 on Google, top organic search results are now having to compete harder for a searcher’s attention.
To create these featured snippets, Google pulls information from indexed websites. Optimising your website and content is crucial to give it the best chance of appearing in these snippets.
What is a no-click search?
With the rise in SERP features, we have also seen a rise in the number of no-click searches, especially in the last three years.
A ‘no-click’ search, or a ‘zero click’ search, happens when a user gets their answer directly from the search results, without having to click through a website. For example, when someone searches for “What is the most popular cat breed in the UK?” the following answer is given as a featured snippet:
How to appear in featured snippets
To appear in featured snippets, targeted content is key. You need to understand your audience’s search behaviour and identify why they are searching. There are three different types of searches:
Transactional searches – those where they intend on making a purchase, such as ‘cars for sale’.
Information searches – these are where they want to find out more but not ready to buy yet, such as ‘best cars to buy 2019’.
Navigational searches – these are where a searcher intends to find something or navigate directly to a brand, such as ‘car dealership’.
Looking into a searcher’s intent can help you target your marketing efforts, as it gives insight into what your audience wants to know. This can give you a better understanding of what you should be including and targeting in your content to help appear in the SERP snippets.
How to optimise your website to appear in featured snippets
1. Rank in the top 10 for search result
If your website appears in the top 10 search results for a search term, then you have a good chance of appearing in the featured snippets. According to Ahrefs, 99.58% of featured snippets come from websites in the top 10 search results.
Use Google Search Console to find out what keywords your website is ranking highly for and base the search query around these. Take a look at the existing featured snippets and their page content to get an idea of what Google is looking for.
2. Clearly answer questions in your content, concisely
For years marketers have focused on creating lengthy, high-quality blog articles and pages, but as search engines change and adapt, how we deliver marketing needs to as well. Content on your website needs to be the right balance between being informative and high-quality, and being concise and easy to read.
Featured snippets aren’t lengthy, on average they have around 40-50 words, so answers need to be concise. Make sure the question asked is straightforward and as similar to the search query as possible. After you’ve answered your question use the rest of the content on the page to expand, this is great opportunity to incorporate other relevant keywords you are trying to target.
The best way to lay out the content on your website is to put the question as a subheading, using a heading tag and then put the answer directly below contained within a paragraph tag.
3. Optimise page titles and meta descriptions
Optimised page titles and meta descriptions have always been important for SEO, they help users and crawlers understand what a page is about. Google now also uses them to generate featured snippets.
Use a page title that is the same or similar to the user’s query, for example if want to appear for the featured recipe snippet when users search for banana bread, then a good page title to use would be‘Banana bread recipe | Brand name’. When it comes to the meta descriptions, make sure to include relevant keywords in a concise description of your on-page content.
Get in touch!
Here at Fluid, we have an expert digital marketing team on hand to help maximise your website’s potential and help boost your website’s rankings. If you want to find out more, we would love to hear from you!