Many companies want to appear first in search results. However, the competition is fierce and the changes made by Google over the years have constantly disrupted SEO efforts. In its quest to provide users with increasingly targeted answers and to cope with the advent of voice search, Google decided to redefine the ranking of search results by adding a position zero.
In this article, we explain what position zero is and how you can update your strategy to rank in it.
What is position zero?
Position zero, also known as Featured Snippet, refers to a space that appears above the first organic result on the search page. Google designed it to highlight what it considers to be the most relevant answer to a user’s question.
For example, when you look for “the best seo techniques”, thousands of results are suggested, but only one of them really draws attention: the snippet in position zero.
The abstracts that appear are not always displayed in the form of text or a paragraph. Depending on the type of content highlighted, you can also get an ordered list, a video or a comparative table.
As you can see below, the result displayed takes a completely different form when you type “cookie recipe”.
Note that the information doesn’t always come from a page found in search results. For fact-based queries, the answer is provided directly by Google. In this case, we refer to them as “quick responses”.
For example, if you type: “how much is 100 euros in Canadian dollars?”, you will see that the answer is given by Google directly.
Same thing if you type “what time is it in Tokyo?”, “1 inch in cm”, and so on. Go ahead, try it!
Google can also display results from partner sites. This is notably the case if you are looking for “montreal weather”. You will see that the information is provided by weather.com (The Weather Channel).
Of course, these searches are very specific, and for all other types of searches, Google will choose an extract from a page in the search results.
Now suppose your page appeared in this spot. Imagine the impact that this position can have on your visibility, and, by extension, your traffic.
The potential is all the more significant when you consider that 15% (SEMrush) of search results answering a question that begins with “who?”, “what?”, “how?” and “where?” contain a Featured Snippet.
What type of content will rank in position zero?
First and foremost, you should know that even if your site isn’t ranked first in search results for a given query, this doesn’t mean that Google won’t consider your site worthy of being ranked first.
For example, if you type “How to plant potatoes”, we see that the extract displayed in position zero comes from a site that is placed in 4th position in the search results.
Find the queries you want to rank on
In order to be as efficient as possible when creating your content for position zero, you need to know which queries are most relevant to your business sector.
We suggest that you focus on queries in the form of a question: Who? What? Where? When? How?
Also, make sure you choose full and precise queries (more than 6 words). Finally, remember to check the popularity of these queries. You can use Google Trends for this.
Once you have chosen the queries you want to position yourself on, you have to choose the type of snippet that will be used to answer the queries. It has to be relevant and highlight your content.
The one-paragraph response is the type of extract that covers most queries. It summarizes a concept or process. As with any content writing, what matters is the relevance, accessibility and quality of the content.
The idea is to present your subject in as comprehensive a way as possible, while being concise. Always keep in mind that your goal is to clearly answer a question asked by an Internet user.
Take a step-by-step approach, making sure that your words are presented in an accessible way. To this end, break down your development into several parts, use keywords and do not forget to illustrate your points so that they are easy to understand.
Snippets in list form are similar to a to-do list. As shown in the example below, we can see that the explanation is divided into several points.
Therefore, make sure that the titles of your sections are explicit and relevant. For this purpose, we recommend the use of “Hn” titles to structure the page. The Internet user will then be able to understand each of your sections simply by reading these titles.
We also strongly recommend that you place your keywords in these titles. You can also use synonyms. Just don’t overdo it.
If you want, you can also add a summary to your article, making sure to link each of your points to the corresponding part. This will make it easier for the user to navigate. Since the user experience is an important component of SEO, this will improve your chances of positioning yourself in search engines.
Tables are another form of snippet suggested by Google. They are used to respond to queries where a comparison is required.
For example, if you type the query “Cost of housing in Quebec”, Google will offer you a comparison of the different housing prices in Quebec City.
Unlike the other two types of content we presented earlier, Google does not format the excerpts it chooses much and presents them almost unchanged.
This type of snippet is very interesting because it allows you to answer many questions that an Internet user might have in a single example. So carefully design your charts when comparing two elements with each other.
These extracts are used by Google to answer queries that start with “How…”. This can be for answers to simple or complex tasks.
For example, if we type the query “How to build a computer?”, the result displayed in position zero is a snippet from a video.
As you can see, the snippets offered by Google come from YouTube. If you own a YouTube channel (which we strongly recommend), this is a great way to promote it!
The advantage of video is that you can deal with any subject in a much more entertaining manner than if you were doing it in writing.
You can also use these videos to complement one of your articles if you wish.
Of course, for it to be considered relevant, your video has to be optimized. So, remember to use keywords, optimize the title, description, tags, etc.
As you can imagine, position zero is an important new feature that should be included in your SEO strategy. The potential for visibility is enormous and is likely to increase in the coming years. In its quest to offer increasingly relevant results on all types of media, Google intends to extend the Featured Snippet to all queries.
If you follow our advice, you now have all the basics to appear in position zero. Please note that our team of experts will be happy to help you if you need any assistance, so don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you for taking the time to read our article =).