All digital marketing agencies have one goal: make their client get found online. For this to happen, the client must appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP). However, Google keeps changing the rules, continually making it a bit hard to keep up with new rules. What worked two or three years ago, doesn’t have the same effect today, and what is even challenging for all the marketers out there, it seems that it will continue with the changes. Mastering those new rules and getting two steps ahead is only possible if you are always up to date with the changes and design your strategy plan according to them. Otherwise, you will be devoured by competitors… gone forever in the abyss of oblivion (read: the second page of Google SERP).
So, how to keep up in the upcoming 2020? The answer is: by mastering Position Zero
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What is Position Zero?
Take a look at the screenshot:
Position Zero is the featured snippet block that appears at the top of the Google search results page.
Initially, it was called “Quick Answers”, and it was referred to as ”the answer box”, clearly because it gives you a quick answer in a box instantly. It was first introduced in 2014 but wasn’t as important for SEO ranking as it has become recently.
The information in this block contains a summary of the answer which is taken from a website that is the most popular and searched for (the best SEO ranking optimised site, that is) along with the link to the page, the page title and the URL.
To put you in that box, Google will evaluate the relevance of the search query along with other SEO ranking factors and will select your content from the website if you fulfil the necessary criteria. Basically, you must be the top organic result to fit in that box. Also, it must provide an answer to a query by people searching for precise information using question terms such as who, what, when, where, why, how etc.
There are three types of featured snippet boxes, depending on the question:
- “Paragraph featured snippet” which is an answer in the form of a paragraph
- “List featured snippet” which is a numbered or bulleted list of information
- “Table featured snippet ” which is an answer in the form of a table
And now we come to the point when we must realise that voice search is becoming more and more popular and used these days and Siri, Alexa or Google home will provide you with the answer for the info you are looking for from the Position Zero. In fact, that is the only result screenless search devices will give you.
Therefore, optimising the client’s website to fit in that Position Zero is of utmost importance. This is not just a claim, but a supported-by-data fact. Namely, HubSpot conducted a study of their high-volume keywords, and the results showed that the content that ranked for Position Zero had a 114% increase in CTR (click-through rates), even in those cases where they had already been at the #1 organic position.
The big question that follows is: How to optimise the site for Position Zero?
Even though you can’t be sure that you have done everything right (as there are no written rules you can follow, of course), there are some things you can manage to do for your client’s website. It has to do with On-SERP SEO.
But, what does it mean?
Well, first and foremost: you must have excellent content that Google will evaluate as suitable to rank on the first page (this includes the first 10 generally organic positions).
Then, you need to optimise the content for the specific question that the content is designed to answer. Never forget, though, that Google will be looking for the BEST answer, so it will be more important to have relevant content for that question and not be positioned at number 1 on page results. To achieve this, make sure that you fulfil the following criteria:
- Simple and consistent HTML code which enables users to add content optimised for Position Zero
- The paragraph snippets should be up to 50 words or less
- H2 tags and H3 tags in the posts are a must
- If you are doing a list post, use the HTML code <li> to list the items instead of using headers
- Use the keyword for optimisation in the answer part intended for the Position Zero
Finally, an extra tip would be to consider adding hooks or call to action phrases to encourage the user to visit the site for more information.
Position Zero and Ecommerce Sites
It is evident that the eCommerce sites will benefit hugely if some of their blog posts are placed in Position Zero. People will be able to find the answer they have been searching for and be directed instantly to the shop where they can buy the wanted product.