Published On: April 30, 2019
If there’s one thing we can say about the world of SEO, it’s that there’s never a dull moment. For years, businesses like yours were able to keep a steady stream of traffic moving to their website with their regular approach to SEO. Search engine optimization is still crucial to ranking and building visibility online, the challenge is in adapting to how search engines and the expectations of their users have changed over the past couple of years.
The expectations and needs of search engine users are constantly changing. As the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded, Google has needed to develop new ways of producing the most relevant information in response to user inquiries. This brings us to the point where ranking position zero has become the new coveted hot spot in search engine results. What you need to know is what position zero is and why it’s important to your success online.
What Is Position Zero?
Position zero, which is also referred to as a featured snippet, is essentially Google’s attempt to place an answer to search queries at the very top of the first search results page. Featured snippets are chunks of content that are pulled out and featured in a box above position one in search results – thus the name position zero.
The thing about featured snippets is that they’re elusive. You can’t bid on a position zero spot, instead you need to do your best to optimize your search engine marketing strategy to produce content that Google can easily identify and pull out from the crowd.
While earning a spot in position zero at first seems to be based on the same kind of luck as winning the lottery, Google is actually quite discriminating about the results they place at the top of search results. Businesses that show up in position zero have taken an approach to SEO that has landed them on page one of the search results and have mastered the art of formatting their content in a way that makes it easy for Google to identify the value provided to search engine users.
Why Should You Care About Position Zero?
The most obvious answer to why we should care about position zero is that results that appear at the top of page one get more traffic than those further down the page. In the past, position one has been the coveted spot and the goal of SEM but featured snippets have come along and challenged the throne.
When a search engine user initiates a search, they don’t want to spend any more time than necessary finding what they’re looking for. They depend on Google to do the legwork and place the most relevant results at the top of the heap. User experience and satisfaction is important to Google, so they go above and beyond to satisfy their user’s expectations.
By placing an actual answer, rather than a link to a webpage, in search results, the search engine user knows exactly what they’re getting by clicking on that link. Featured snippets streamline the search query process and produce better results. This also means that businesses that rank in positions 1-3 aren’t always getting the love that they once were.
Additionally, there’s a pretty strong connection between featured snippets and voice search. Featured snippets often show up in response to voice queries, and we know that optimizing for voice search is important for fueling traffic for local businesses. Smaller, local businesses that can make their way to position zero benefit from a tremendous competitive advantage.
Optimizing Content for Position Zero
As we already mentioned, there’s no magical formula for making it into a spot at position zero. Even if a business is able to rank there, their reign may be short-lived. You could hold position zero on one day but not the next.
A common misconception about position zero is that it always goes to the site that would otherwise rank as number one on the page. This isn’t the case. The site that gets a spot in position zero is one that has made it onto page one of the search results but it doesn’t have to necessarily be the top-ranked page.
Rather than stressing out about beating out all the other results on page one, it’s better to focus on the type of content that gets featured in this spot and the search engine user intent that’s behind queries that produce featured snippets in the results.
For instance, featured snippets tend to show up in response to queries where question words are used – such as searches that include words like who, how, what, when, where, why and which. They also tend to show up in response to keyword terms that generate higher amounts of traffic and to popular topics.
It’s worth the investment to really spend some time on keyword research if you want to appear in a featured snippet. Look for keywords and phrases that are most likely to produce a featured snippet result and then learn how you can incorporate these high performing keywords into your own strategy. We know that high volume keywords don’t perform for all businesses, so don’t be afraid to experiment and test out various keyword strategies.
The format of your content is also important. Remember, Google is pulling out chunks of content that are short and sweet. You can increase your chances of appearing in position zero by formatting content in short, digestible chunks where you answer certain key questions in one, succinct paragraph. Lists, bullet points and content that are infused with local SEO tend to dominate position zero results.
Learn More about Position Zero with JLB
Your best chance of earning a spot in position zero comes with working with a team of experienced SEO professionals that know how to elevate your business online. JLB brings more than 15 years of experience in SEO and digital marketing to the table and never leave a client disappointed. Contact JLB today and learn more about how their SEO services can help you build a stronger business today.