Position zero is one of the best SEO hacks of 2019 and beyond. It is basically the holy grail of SEO for most of the webmasters. Winning them instantly takes you all the way to the top of the organic search results.
When you are positioned above the #1 ranking, that means Google sees your results to be the best solution in answering users queries. However, getting all the way to the peak is no easy feat for most of us. It may take a lot of effort, time and investment especially if you are in a competitive niche.
Hearing this, I hope it does not break your will to make the necessary investment for your SEO because you should not overlook the opportunity to rank in position 0 with a featured snippet. Because who knows, getting into position zero could be just the thing for your business!
Your job now is to know exactly how they work so you can rank for them. Let’s get through this together!
Without further ado, we will be skipping the basics and getting straight to 8 ways you can rank for position 0 in Google.
Searching “What is SEO” results in 702 million responses – far too many results for anyone to sort through and no one on earth will be able to go through them all. As a result, most marketers use SEO to rank as high as possible, usually aiming to get to the first or second page.
But expecting your visitors to click through the 10 or 20 sites to find your answer can be a huge hassle. That’s why Google introduced featured snippets or position 0 in 2014. It is done through programmatically pulling out relevant information from sites to feature them on the top of the SERP.
You’ve probably seen countless featured snippets from Google when searching for answers to your questions, right? For those of you who are not quite sure of what is position 0, let’s look at it in the simplest form.
According to SEOPressor in their blog post, position 0 is:
“The result returned that are displayed above the number one ranked spot”
Here is an example of how it looks like according to Google:
To enhance the user’s experience, Google reviews millions of web pages that answers the searcher’s questions and presents them at the top of the page. As you can see, link metrics don’t weigh as much as solving your visitor’s problem in the eyes of Google. (Not to say links are not important, yeah)
These Google featured snippets give answers to the questions people are searching for in a way that’s fast, easy to consume and convenient. In just a paragraph of words, your readers will be getting the answers! When your visitors are happy with what they are getting, Google is happy to rank you too!
Besides that, more searchers will see your website because your content is prominently featured at the top. Surely, it’s very desirable to attain position 0 for many of us because it is gold for visibility, conversion, and traffic.
Introducing this method seems to be a piece of great news for many of us because if done right, we all stand a chance to be featured. But the question remains, how can I rank for position 0?
Position 0 is designed to save users time. Ranking for position 0 isn’t exactly rocket science, but following these 9 ways can help you increase your chances indefinitely.
Let’s look at what are those methods you can emulate to rank for position 0.
The first step in ranking for position 0 is to be ranked on the first page of that particular query.
You actually don’t need to be ranking #1 to be eligible for position zero.
You don’t necessarily need to be the best in your industry, either.
To increase your chances of climbing ahead of the #1 spot, you just need to make sure you’re in the first page of SERP. Doesn’t matter if you have a big or small budget so long you play your cards right, you’re set.
Ahrefs, in one of their studies and research, has this to prove:
That goes to say, it is near to impossible if you are on the second page and beyond, wanting to rank for position 0.
Use this study to re-optimize your best old content that ranks in the top 10, but lacks featured snippets. You’d be surprised at how much your traffic will grow in the long run!
This perfect example comes from SEOPressor.
After optimizing the blog post titled “Google’s Title and Meta Descriptions Length”, you can see that the traffic has shot up by 300%!
Seeing this, there’s definitely still hope. Just get to the first page!
Whether you are looking to create new content with the goal of getting a featured snippet or looking to re-optimize the content you already have, it is important that you think about the potential questions your readers might be asking.
Position 0’s are informative by nature. As long as you answer a specific question, you’re on the right track to capture that position.
Google’s algorithm will search across millions of sites to find the content that will best answer a user’s question. Knowing that, you need to understand what questions your audience will be asking so you can tailor your content to answer those questions accordingly.
Most queries with featured snippets begin with the 5W and 1H’s:
Specifically, the most popular leading phrases are who, how and when. It’s time to think about how these might apply to your users and how are you going to cater your content to these question formats.
An easy way to go about this method is to head to Google search box and type in a question that your target audience will enter. You’ll have ideas popping about in the search box or even the “People Also Asked” box that is always below the snippets.
How does this work? Well, Google looks at the real searches that happen and show common and trending ones relevant to the characters that are entered. Based on this, you can have a better idea on alternative questions of what people are searching for.
If you’re a content creator, you’ve surely heard of this phrase, “Create content with your audience in your mind”.
And if you can achieve this, you should be getting ready for massive traffic. Your audience are interested in what your content can do for them with their specific interests and questions. If you don’t answer to their intent, you’re going to create content that isn’t relevant to your site and audience. That’s bad news for your Google rankings and your audience following.
It simply isn’t enough to know the demographics and location of your prospects. You have to know as much as possible about them such as their personality traits, interests, opinions.
Knowing these will help you create a great user experience (thus making Google rank you better), set your pages to convert more effectively and craft the perfect message for them to take action.
The best way to rank for a lot of featured snippets is simply to produce a lot of great content that addresses user’s queries.
A single page of well-written and well-researched content is certainly more effective than you could ever think. Not only does it build trustworthiness and keep your readers glued to reading your content, it will also boost your site’s organic ranking.
In short, you should be focusing on long-form blog content from now on if you want to rank for position 0. Of course that doesn’t mean that shorter blogs are off limits – just do what is right and be sure to include a short summary that provides an answer to the main question.
Once again, content that ranks on position 0 is in-depth and explicit. One of the things most of us tend to ignore is relying too much on words to tell something.
Do you know that half of the human brain is directly or indirectly devoted to processing visual information? That goes to say, we can understand and learn a concept quickly using visual or other image-based content.
For those of you who wants further details on this, here’s a blog post on the types of visuals to include when you’re planning for a strategic content marketing plan:
By adding images or attractive visuals, you’re putting the effort to dress up your page and make it looks more compelling to the eyes of your readers. It also makes it much easier for readers to digest the points quickly. Say for instance, the presence of infographic proves to be of great help especially for those of you who likes skimming through articles.
If you’re conveying a complex process, it helps a lot to include some type of imagery to show how each piece ties into the bigger theme. So, don’t forget to include them the next time you’re coming up with a new content.
Your paragraph should be dedicated to answering the question with as much accuracy and useful information as possible. Include your direct answer at the beginning of the blog or top of your piece of content in a single paragraph. Try not to give your answers to more than 55 words.
This will allow Google to go through quickly and review your answer without having to dig into the content. Use the rest of the content to explain the critical concepts necessary to understand the answer.
It’s always recommended to have a descriptive, clear, thorough answer in a way that makes sense logically to your readers. By all means, make sure it is also easy to consume and don’t use bombastic words thinking you can rank better. Keep the language simple.
Before publishing your post, test how easy-to-read your content is by stepping back and looking at it asking: “Would anyone outside of this industry understand what I’m try to convey here?”
Always put yourself in your readers shoes and evaluate if what you’re trying to say is confusing. If it is, it’s not too late to change them!
If you’ve personally done a research on position 0, you’d notice that majority of those getting ranked are from long-tail keywords or questions.
Like this example,
The more specific a question, the easier it is to rank for. Analyzing long-tail keywords that users are asking is a great way to hunt for opportunities. Going the long-tail route will differentiate you from your competitors from a well established brand with a huge budget in hand.
If you’ve read up about on-page organic SEO, you’ll know that header tags like H1, H2, H3 and H4 are essential components.
Always remember that Google will scan through your entire page and look for content that can be used to rank for position 0. For this reason, it is vital that you break apart your content into relevant sections to ensure the relevancy of the content.
If you are planning on using the “Steps” method: Step 1, Step 2, or Step 3, these can be tagged with H1 or H2 tags. Google understands that it is in a chronological order, hence your chances to rank will be much higher.
There are several forms position 0 can appear to the users. One thing to note though, not every type of these snippets apply to your site.
Different queries and different topics lead to different type of snippets. So before you start writing your great post, understand which type of snippets is most relevant to your site. There are five different types namely: paragraphs, lists, tables, videos, and two-in-one (shows two sources of answers in one box).
In this post, I will be showing examples of the three most popular forms of snippets.
This is the most popular form of snippets among all. This shows the position 0 in the form of textual paragraph content. About 80% of featured snippets comes in this form. They still rule the almighty snippet’s kingdom.
For starters, there are two types of list format (ordered and unordered).
Usually, when you search for cooking recipes, you’re bound to find these types of list appearing. (Try searching for “ways to bake chicken thighs”)
Basically, if the points are in bullet points, it is known as the unordered list
If the points are in numerical forms, it is known as the ordered list.
The other popular type of snippet is in the form of tables. Create charts in your content using appropriate table tags. Google made it possible to pull specific information users are searching for by recreating its own table.
Most of the time, the table format appears when you want to compare prices and specs of a product, and other numerical data.
In the future, Google will only continue putting importance on position 0. When you manage to get your website to rank at the top, these few things will happen:
By adhering to these 9 ways, you’ll be able to land your content in one of these spots. Yes, it may take some time to see some results, but treat it as an incentive to work harder on your content.
Before I end this blog post, I feel that you should also know this:
The position 0 rank fluctuates from time to time.
This is because there will be always someone trying their best to grab a piece of that gold mine too. The message is clear here, just keep moving swiftly and smartly, so you can always stay ahead of the competition. Only the best survives.
As always, if there’s anything else about position 0 that I may have missed out, don’t hesitate to let me know about it in the comments section below.
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