Updated: Jan 24
In between all the discussion about SEO trends for 2020, one of the most critical elements seems to be getting the short end of the stick. Search Engine Journal states that snippets are crucial to SEO, with some companies reporting between a 20-30% rise in CTR after implementing relevant snippets. As Google moves its focus away from keywords and into intent-based search, the necessity for relevance in these fragments will only increase.
Snippets allow for a business to add structured data to its search engine results. Yoast defines a snippet as a single search result in a list of others that consists of up of a title, URL, and description. While search engines can attempt to cobble together a summary for your page, you can aid them by providing a meta description. The meta description is where your SEO skills will shine as it helps the search engine determine, not only how to present the page to a consumer, but what type of consumer the page is looking for.
A snippet intends to make your site attractive to the reader. It’s one of the most prime pieces of real state on your search engine page, and you shouldn’t overlook its implementation. The battle for the snippet is a focus on how competitive the industry has gotten. Now, with a well-placed snippet and supporting high-quality content, a company’s page can appear at the very top of the results on Google, even above the top-ranked search result.
The Role of Snippets in On-SERP SEO
Google’s search results page has changed significantly from the early days. Now, when a user scrolls through results, he or she can quickly figure out what each result offers and have a mini description that helps them decide if the site is worth a click. The term On-SERP SEO deals with how the search engine represents your website and how you can use SEO to influence that description. According to Portent, some of the most common SERP features include:
Images: Usually a collection of pictures from the site or related mages based on the search engine’s algorithm
News: Reputable sources that report on related topics or the search term
Related Questions: What people who search for that particular term typically ask the search engine afterward
Answers: Snippets that describe a specific question or definition of the search term
Knowledge Graph: What information the engine knows about the search term, pulled from multiple sources
Places: Locations relevant to the search, either locally or internationally
All of these play into the idea of intent-based searching. Snippets, as we can see, form one of those critical elements that may offer insight into the intent of a search. These snippets have two forms: rich snippets and featured snippets.
Introducing Rich Snippets
Rich snippets have formed a part of our lives for such a long time that we might not even recognize them when we see them as something unique. LSEO notes that rich snippets include things like star ratings for companies or recipes that can be broken down into their component ingredients right in the search engine results page. Rich snippets are a significant factor in search engines because they offer more information to the searcher. With intent-based search results, the aim is to give the customer the most relevant information, as well as any other information that would help them drive their click.
Practical eCommerce compares the use of snippets in search engine results as similar to applying for a job – all the candidates are qualified, but the one that gets chosen demonstrates something special. Rich snippets offer a unique method to catch a user’s attention while still playing to your SEO roots. Users look at the information on the SERP as a guide to authority. By providing more information in a rich snippet, you immediately increase the searcher’s trust in your result. Rich snippets don’t count as an official ranking factor, but by getting more users’ attention, you stand to attract more clicks to your website.
Google’s Featured Snippets – Rank Zero
Featured snippets have become known as “rank zero” since they usually appear at the very top of any search results page. According to Backlinko, Google’s featured snippets seek to answer a searcher’s query immediately. In the case of a simple definition or a date, they can be exceedingly useful. However, when it comes to product searches, featured snippets may be hurting businesses more than helping them. Search Engine Land mentions that featured snippets can “steal” as much as 8% of the total traffic from the #1 ranked page for a result. The only way to deal with this issue is to find a way to get featured at position zero.
Position zero isn’t paid for; it’s earned. Neil Patel breaks down how a company can aim at rank zero of Google’s results page:
Answer Questions: The content needs to answer a particular question because that’s what the featured snippet is for.
Choose the Correct Question: Keyword research should take into account the typical question format (“How to…”, “Why does…” etc.).
Be Detailed: This includes breaking things down into simple parts, using lots of media, and approach the content from the perspective of a beginner.
While getting position zero of the search results is possible, it requires your content to fulfill the criteria to get there. Even content that isn’t on the front page of results make it into the featured snippet, but only if they answer the user’s question succinctly.
A Storm is Brewing
With all the SEO trends for 2020 that we’ve mentioned before, snippets might prove to be one of the most influential in driving traffic to a website. While not traditionally an SEO factor, the inclusion of rich snippets that do an excellent job of describing the site’s content can do wonders for any company. Tailoring your landing pages to answer questions may result in a rank zero position for your website. Understanding how vital snippets are in the coming year could set the stage for explosive traffic growth for your website.