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By winniewong on March 7, 2019
What’s the one thing you do when someone asks you to name the seven wonders of the world?
Most probably: I’ll Google it!
You probably use Google every day to search for things (news, events, tips, documents, technical support etc.) and satisfy your curiosity. With over a trillion URLs in its index, it is a treasure house of information.
In fact, the world of SEO is ever-changing. Just when you think you’ve mastered it all, the big G will have something to keep you on your toes.
If you are in the business, you should also know that 93% of all buying decisions start with an online search. That is to say, if you can top the first page of Google results, it can be an excellent opportunity for you and your business.
When a user enters a search query, the search engine’s number one goal is to return results that are high-quality and relevant. Ever since 2013, the search engine has been perfecting featured snippets, but some marketers are still at a lost on the impact one could have on your traffic and brand recognition.
Everyone has heard of ranking 1st on the search engine result page, but 2020 is going to be a lot about Position 0. Yes, for those of you who don’t know, we all can go higher than Google’s number one spot. As you will soon see, there are several factors that ultimately determine how you’ll rank for position 0.
So, go grab a cup of coffee; I’ve included everything I think you need to know.
So, what is position zero?
Position 0 are results returned that are displayed above the number one ranked spot.
Here’s an example of what it’ll look like:
It is also known as “featured snippet” by many marketers. The reason behind this creation by Google is: to provide anyone who’s searching with the quickest possible results. Don’t worry if you want to know more than what’s shown, you can still click through on the link.
As shown above, the snippet contains your page title and URL, along with the “snippet” of your page’s content. It is basically an answer to the searcher’s query.
These featured snippet boxes take the coveted Google position of ‘0’ as they come before organic search results. That it is to say, it is a dream for every domain owner to rank 0 because according to Google, position 0 is the new 1.
Being placed in position 0 is not like sitting at the front of the concert; even better, it’s like having a VIP ticket by letting you into backstage to meet your favorite stars!
It makes it infinitely easier for people to see your brand, click into your content and pay for your products or services. Think about this, rather than sitting in position one, you’ll get to sit even higher and have a snippet of your content presented prominently to Google searches.
Position 0 can come in several different forms.
One thing to note though, not every type of these snippets apply to your site. Different queries and different topics lead to different types of snippets. So it is really important to understand which type is most relevant for your site to achieve the desired snippet.
Let’s look at the 5 main formats you can expect:
This is the most standard form you’ll find online. You’ll expect most of the featured snippets to be in paragraphs and comes along with an image.
According to Getstat, the most popular featured is the “paragraph” type”:
With my own observation, it has led me to think that Google prefers to feature an answer which comes in one paragraph.
Have you ever searched Google for cooking recipes or DIY tasks? If so, you’ve probably come across the list format (ordered or unordered).
As I’ve tested, most of the “how to” questions come in the form of an ordered list.
They often list out steps that explain how to do something. If they appear in numbers then they are called the ordered list. Readers should then follow the steps or instructions from the top to bottom. However, if the points are in bullet points, then it’s known as the unordered list.
It’s also possible to show content in the table format. Most of the time, the table format appears when you want to compare prices and specs of a product, years, and other numerical data.
In fact, Google made it possible to pull specific information the users are searching for and recreate its own table.
Questions whose answers require visual explanation will show appear in a video format. Most of the time Google will present you with Youtube videos. Again, it also depends on the question asked and whether or not a video is available to be shown.
The two-in-one featured snippets are rather common these days. It will show users two sources of answers in one box. Often, the snippet shows the list content from one site, and the image to the right is drawn from another.
The image above perfectly shows the said format. The image is sourced from seopressor.com whereas the content is sourced from printwand.com.
Yes, it’s possible to present it in that way. This goes to show that Google is really committed to showing you the best sources of content there is, regardless of the differences in sites.
If you’ve been around for some time, you’ll notice the term “Rankbrain” mentioned on many occasions over the years. Rankbrain is Google’s way of gathering intelligence. It studies data and machine learning to look for information and facts.
Google is able to understand questions and the AI part of the algorithm uses the entity databases to find correlations between them. Preparing for the future, Google has moved one step ahead by using natural language spoken queries to cater to voice search (more on that later).
Whether you ought to gain visibility or gain a traffic boost, here are 3 reasons position 0 appear to be important for you.
In the world of marketing, it doesn’t really matter how often you show up. What really matters is how often people are clicking on your listing and not bouncing back immediately.
Most websites that have a featured snippet have noticed higher CTR. That also means users will deem the website as more credible and trustworthy. On average, users are twice as likely to click on featured snippets than on the first search result.
Designing your marketing strategy around growing your list, generating leads, or driving sales will give you a better chance of achieving the conversion you’re hoping for if you land on position 0.
Are you aware that Google does tests on each website with the results they show in the SERPs? One day you might see yourself ranking on 1st, the next day you either stay or drop in rankings. All these rank shifts will occur depending on the user’s interaction with your websites, so to speak.
So if Google is testing your page for relevancy to a particular keyword search, then you better make sure to have a high CTR (and a low bounce rate) if you want to maintain your rankings at the top.
Now, the most important reason why you want to get first page rankings is that you want to be visible to everyone that will need your product/service. Obviously, not every single person who clicks through to your website ends up as your customer. Hence, it’s important to get a large traffic volume to your site and from there, you may improve your conversion rate.
SEOPressor saw a 200% boost in traffic to an article from 2016 after achieving position 0 for the keyword “increase domain authority”.
When your link appears in position 0, and your content successfully addresses the user’s initial query, you’ll also lower the chances of users returning to the SERP and browsing other search results. That means you’ll indirectly prevent users from clicking through to other pages while driving business to your site instead.
If you’re an avid follower of SEOPressor’s blog post, you’ll notice that the team had written a blog post titled “SEO in 2019: 6 Untold Trends To Watch For”. In the lengthy post, voice search was one of the aforementioned trends among the others.
According to Econsultancy, by 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. In the past ten years, marketers have seen steady growth and emergence of mobile usages. AI-powered personal assistants like Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Bixby, and Cortana can be found on phones and other personal devices. (Are you an avid user of these assistants?)
Enhanced with machine learning, this can connect users with immediate answers to questions, product and service recommendations, and purchase facilitations. Yes, voice search provides an opportunity for smaller site owners to leave a mark in the crowded and competitive marketplace.
Begin by thinking of the types of questions your customers might ask. As you do, be aware that some queries won’t yield a voice search results yet.
For many of the brands and the businesses who are engaging in securing these positions, they’re doing so to understand how this placement will help their business. The foundation of where Google’s going here is pretty clear. I believe Google will continue to invest here, and evolve this experience to a greater scale.
When it comes to SEO, there are plenty of techniques that could help you to rank higher in search results. Here are 5 takeaways to win in 2020 if you are preparing your content to rank for position 0.
When we talk about content optimization, most of the content creators will start thinking about keyword research. Finding the most profitable and relevant keyword to attract a highly targeted audience will also be part of the strategy.
There is nothing wrong doing that. But to get your content to rank for position 0, keyword targeting is not sufficient. Instead, your content shall be optimized for both keywords and questions.
Generally, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the users. Think like them.
For instance, when users want to search for the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing, there are a few ways they might input their keywords.
Or even more…
By knowing how your audience search, you can create a precise content to answer the particular query. If your content delivers a valuable and accurate answer to the searches, it gives you a higher chance to get picked up by Google to feature as a snippet.
Now, if your content has successfully ranked for position 0, congratulations!
However, do not be too happy because being in position 0 is not permanent. It could be replaced by an alternative content, at any time. Which brings us to the next aspect; how to keep your position 0.
One could spend months to optimize the content to be featured as a snippet in Google search results and can be gone in just days.
You will be surprised how soon a position 0 content will be replaced if the content was not up-to-date or Google has found another better content describe and answer the user’s query topic.
Being featured at position 0 is like having a free advertising board for your business on Google. Thousands to millions of eyes will spot your content, and imagine how much potential or things you could do with such huge exposure to organic traffic.
When you are bigger, you become a clearer target. Your competitors in your niche could easily create content alike to compete with you for that position.
That is why you must always keep your content in-depth and relevant. Discuss the topic thoroughly, design the content based on the user’s reading experience, and provide additional information with internal linking.
The better your content could engage with the audience, the longer they will stay on your site. Perhaps, even come back for more. The high engagement rate and returning visitors will give your site a huge advantage in SEO, and of course the ranking.
On top of that, the most important optimization step is to keep your content up-to-date. Imagine what happens if someone reads your content and found out that it was last updated 3 years ago. It breaks the trust immediately, right? To maintain your ranking and position 0, all your content must be as current as it can.
Well, this should not be confused with the content that is not currently featured at position 0. Even if your content is not ranked at position 0 yet, these practices are essential to bring your site to the first page of SERP.
You don’t necessarily need to be in the first spot of the SERP to be qualified for position 0.
You don’t necessarily need to be number one in your industry, either.
You just need to get yourself on the first page of SERP to snatch that chance.
Any company regardless of its size or budget, are able to do so if they play their cards right.
A study done by Ahrefs shows that they are 99.58% positive that Google only features pages that already rank in the Top10.
As you can see in the picture below, another SEOPressor blog was featured in position 0. But quite surprisingly, it is actually ranking #3 in the SERP instead of the prestigious top spot.
Keywords are still an integral part of SEO.
For the best chance to acquire position 0, one should focus on long-tail keywords while writing comprehensive content for your pages.
These long-tail keywords not only help in search engine ranking, but it also gives you an advantage in ranking for position 0. Grab this opportunity especially when your competitors aren’t targetting long-tail key phrases.
Here’s another example of SEOPressor’s blog that is on position 0 with a long-tail keyword.
In fact, if you’ve noticed in the entire post, most of the position 0’s content comes in the form of long-tail keywords.
Like this “inbound vs outbound marketing”:
Or this, “increase domain authority”:
I shall leave the best for the last.
This should not only apply to marketers who are aiming for position 0, but it should be placed at the root of all your marketing efforts. Knowing your audience is the ultimate key to success.
To get to your audience with the right message, you have to effectively know your audience. The more you excel in this part, the better you can create appealing content, ideas, make format decisions, handle positioning and placement, and promote the content.
Part of this strategy is having a good understanding of what they are searching for online and the types of questions they’re asking so you are adhering to their needs.
Position 0 has become one of the most rewarding things in the world of SEO for the last couple of years. By earning a snippet, you’ll be getting the opportunity to present your content to a wider group of audience and win SEO in 2020 and beyond.
I know it’s not going to be an easy road trying to keep up with Google. But it looks like Google is actually getting pretty aggressive in this area. Here’s a rather comprehensive explanation on from Google on featured snippets in search.
If you want to drive visitors to your website, boost conversions and stay ahead of the competition, ranking for position 0 is the best way to come about.
Do you have any other tips to rank for position 0 on Google? If you do, drop your ideas and comments below!
Updated: 10 July 2020
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