The Guide to Ranking for Zero-Click Searches

2019/08/29 20:00

snippet SEO

If you want to increase your site’s rankings for searches that won’t necessarily result in any clicks, this is what you need to know.

For the first time in history, Google now generates more zero-click searches than anything else. This means that searchers find the information they need without having to navigate to another platform or website.  

guide zero click searches
Paid, Organic, & Zero-Click Searches in Google – Graph created by JumpShot

What’s more, research shows that Google is also sending a massive portion of clicks to their own properties, including Maps and YouTube. Yes, there is a chance that Google is able to provide the best answer to a search query in many scenarios but this surely can’t always be the case. It probably also doesn’t help that Google has most of the search engine market share. 

market share 2019
Search Engine Market Share in Q2 2019 – Graph created by JumpShot

It’s not easy to get a site on page one of Google and it seems this feat is about to get even more difficult. However, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The answer lies in featured snippets. 

Featured Snippets – A Recap

Featured snippets are the blocks that show up at the top of Google’s search results with an exact answer to your query. This could be in the form of a table, a list or step-by-step instructions, a paragraph of text or a video. 

Featured snippets are designed to provide searchers with a clear answer without them having to click through to a website. Any site that is chosen as a featured snippet definitely stands out from the rest and could result in more leads. Since they are now also a prominent feature in search results, optimising for featured snippets is a worthwhile endeavour. 

Why You Should Focus on Featured Snippets

Even though featured snippets have been around for five years, not many marketers have been taking advantage of them. Here are just a few of the reasons why you might want to put some of your time and effort into optimising for featured snippets:


  • Position your brand as an authority on a particular subject


When there is so much competition out there, it can be difficult to position your brand as an authority on a specific topic or area. Sites that appear at the very top of the results as featured snippets are seen as more valuable. 


  • Increase traffic to your site


A study by Ahrefs showed that featured snippets get more traffic than the first organic result, which means you can boost your traffic numbers by appearing as a featured snippet for more search queries. 


  • Optimise for voice search


Voice search is not going anywhere. In fact, well over half of all people will be searching using voice from 2020 onwards. Most voice search queries are in the form of a question, which means there’s a good chance that the results will show a featured snippet. 

Optimising for Featured Snippets – 9 Professional Tips

Here are the steps you can take to start increasing the chances of your site showing up as a featured snippet.

  1. Make questions the basis of your research

Keyword research is still an important tool for developing content that users will want to read and Google will want to crawl. If you want to optimise for featured snippets, develop questions that are relevant to your brand and that users might ask so that you can develop content that delivers on those queries.

2. Don’t ignore the “People also ask” box

Google now also offers searchers suggestions on secondary search queries they might find interesting, which gives marketers insights into the other questions that users might be asking. Use this feature as another research tool when developing content.

3. Provide an answer in 50 words or less

If you want your site to be featured as a paragraph snippet, create content that answers a ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’ or ‘how’ question in 50 words or less. You may even want to find a way to include the question as a heading in your article with the answer directly below it. 

4. Keeping striving to reach page one

If you want to increase your chances of showing up as a featured snippet, keep taking steps to get your content on to page one of Google. This means creating content that provides a great user experience and focusing on on-page SEO factors such as internal linking, alt tags and refreshing older content.

5. Write in a pyramid style

The inverted pyramid is a writing style that is known to increase the chances of your content showing up as a featured snippet. The aim of writing your content in this style is to provide the most in-demand part of your content right at the top – in this case, the answer to the searcher’s question.

6. Use tables in your content

If there’s a way to summarise important information that answers a searcher’s question in a table, find ways to add it into your content. Not only will this change the content up a bit but it should increase the chances of the table showing up as a featured snippet.

7. Pay attention to formatting

This one might sound simple but if you want your content to show up as a featured snippet, format it accordingly. Place your content in a table, optimise your top videos correctly and provide clear questions and answers in your content. This also means using the appropriate header tags, keeping your copy short and punchy and using bullet points and graphs. 

8. Pay attention to the copy when posting videos online

Yes, videos are more about the visuals but if you want them to feature as a snippet, you need to pay attention to the copy too. To optimise your videos, upload a script for the video’s closed captions and use long-tail keywords in your video’s description. 

9. Create a Q&A page

If you offer products and services on your site, a Q&A page can be an effective way to optimise for featured snippets. Not only are you addressing the concerns of your existing and potential customers but you have the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise too. Only include the most common questions that you’ve heard from customers on this page and keep the answers straightforward. 


There are a number of effective ways to get more traffic and boost your site’s SEO and as you can tell, appearing on page one of Google is not the only way to do this. Optimising your content, or at least some of your content, for featured snippets gives your site an even better chance of showing up at the top of Google’s search results.