Google introduced featured snippets on their search engine results pages very recently, opening a gold mine for companies to improve their reach. Known as “position zero”, this proves to be THE MOST effective spot to be in if you need your content to be seen and read by your target audience.
What exactly is position zero? How do you get there? How can SEO services in Chicago help?
What is position zero?
Typically, Google features the top 10 results on its first page, when a user enters a query. And companies aim to nail the top 5 positions out of these for organic reach.
Since 2014, Google has featured some results above the 10 website listings. It usually expands the content and features a snippet of the text, floating right on top of the page.
This is called position zero (P0), and it usually provides a straightforward answer to a query entered by the user.
Its reach is colossal, as it automatically leads a user to read your content, right from the search engine results page. The tiny bit of text further induces the reader to learn more, leading them to click the link and land on your website.
Benefits of position zero
Besides the obvious benefit of being the first piece of content that a user lays eyes on, on Google’s SERP, there are a number of other complementary benefits coming from position zero. Only an expert in SEO services in Chicago can extract all of these benefits and help you better connect with your audience.
Being the very first website on the SERP, you naturally get much more traffic when compared to the rest of the positions. Companies initially felt skeptical, as position zero essentially lets users read content without clicking through to the website. However, in contrast, it actually induced users to read more, as a result of which they clicked on the website link, adding to its organic traffic.
Accessible to voice searches
These days, people on the go rely on smart technologies like Siri and Alexa to search for things on Google. Some people use it at home too. It is common for search queries to be placed through voice capabilities. Being in position zero improves your chances of being an answer to voice searches. Smart assistants read out the first piece of content that Google displays on search engines, which is from position zero.
Being in a snippet format, position zero content steals quite a bit of traffic over and above-paid ads and other search engine positions. As it engages users right from the search engine page, they are more likely to follow through with the same website, rather than clicking through to other websites appearing as ads or in other positions, including the first position. Hence, it provides a leading advantage that would otherwise be lost to competitors, if you don’t try to rank for position zero.
Using thoughtful and tailored SEO services in Chicago, you can earn these benefits and get your content to stand out. Before we get into how we can do that, let’s look at the common types of content that can get ranked at position zero.
Types of content that rule position zero
Position zero or featured snippers can appear in any format of content including paragraphs, bulleted lists, YouTube videos, images, tables, charts, etc.
Here are the most common types of content that have a chance of making it to the position.
Simple answers to questions covering the who, what, why, when, and where aspects
Google pulls out the most straightforward answers to questions that are straightforward. Usually, questions related to who, why, what, when, and where, on a certain topic can be answered in short paragraphs, sentences, or phrases.
The second most common type of snippet is a list, of instructions or how-to explanations given in steps. This can be related to anything from recipes to problem-solving methods to troubleshooting guides. The key is to create a short and straightforward piece of content that Google can pull out.
Search queries that demand quick and simple comparisons between two things are often displayed as snippets. For example, the difference between two kinds of pronunciations in English, the differences between two similar breeds of dogs, etc.
“Best of” lists
People always look for the “best” of everything. For the same reason, Google features snippets from articles that talk about the best things in lists. For example, the best restaurants near me, the best cruelty-free brands in skincare, the best WordPress themes, etc.
Clean definitions are one of the most commonly used types of snipper content. Users like to get quick results for word meanings, synonyms, alternatives, and the like. Hence a rich source of information about a particular subject, fairs well for featured snippets.
Videos and images
Videos and images have always been favored by Google. Optimized explainer videos, accurate images and the like will be displayed as snipper content, especially if the search query has a visual intent.
How to rank at position zero
Now that we know what constitutes position zero content, it is easier to determine ways to get there.
Here are some things you can do, as part of your comprehensive usage of SEO services in Chicago.
Answer questions succinctly
One of the best ways to secure a rank at position zero is to answer potential questions that the user may have in a precise, clear, and succinct manner. You can base your answers on questions you can find in the “people always ask” section of search engine results pages. Use sensible headings and include accurate definitions as well. Aim for an intermediate level of explanation; neither too simple nor too complicated, as a complex explanation cannot be pulled out by Google, and a very simple answer does not add value. Try to answer the 5 Ws; who, what, why, where, and when related to the subject.
Empathize and use common keywords
Not every keyword you wish to rank for has a position zero opportunity. Try to empathize with your target consumer and think of some keywords that have the potential to be answered in the form of short snippets. Try to find potent keywords that already have a featured snippet and work to replace it with yours. It is one of the easiest ways to identify a zero-position opportunity. Experts in SEO services in Chicago can help you identify more.
Publish long-form content of up to 2000 words
As it always has been, Google prioritizes and trusts content that is solid and of good quality. Use content that sits at a sweet spot of around 2000 words to qualify as a credible piece of work. At the same time, use short snippets of text, broken down with appropriate subheadings to make it easier for Google to pull out a featured snippet. Assuming the subject is well-explained in the article, Google will display the relevant portion on top of its SERP and attract more traffic.
Simplify topics for all types of visitors
It is always a good idea to explain subjects from a basic level. Rather than assuming that all of your visitors are well-versed in your topics of concern, simplify your subject and break it down in the form of short pieces of content. This not only allows Google to pull out quick answers but also gives the search engine a piece that a broad group of readers may spend time on, as opposed to classified information filled with jargon.
Try to rank for keywords that don’t already have a featured snippet
According to a study, only 12% of keywords have a featured snippet currently. This means there is immense potential to rank at zero position for a ton of other keywords. Research thoroughly and find the most relevant and potent keywords for your industry. Determine answers to common questions related to the keywords; use the principle of the five Ws here. Thoughtful SEO strategies devised by experts providing SEO services in Chicago can help you dig out some of the best “snippable” keyword opportunities.
Position zero is undoubtedly a great place to be in. Effective and thoughtful SEO best practices, channeled more toward featured snippets can surely get you there. However, don’t forget that optimization is a comprehensive strategy that involves various other steps too, all of which collectively contribute to your rankings. You have to get the basic optimization right in order to rank for position zero.