It’s no secret that to be visible online, you need to be aiming for that number one spot in search. However since the arrival of featured snippets back in 2014, the SEO game has changed. Position Zero is the coveted spot businesses and brands need to be aiming for in order to appear above the fold in SERPs.

This post delves deeper into Position Zero, exploring how it can help your business and tips on how to capture it for yourself.

What is Position Zero?

Position Zero is another name for the featured snippet which appears above the organic search results and is a short, succinct answer to a search query. Often positioned as the most relevant result for the user, Position Zero is a helpful feature designed to streamline searches and provide the best way to organically promote your website.

Why should you aim for Position Zero?

Hiccups Featured Snippet Example
  • Position Zero means you dominate more of the SERP territory.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) have changed beyond recognition over the years, largely due to the introduction of SERP features. Position Zero, or the featured snippet, means you can capture more of the physical SERP landscape and frame your page as the most relevant answer to a search query.

The snippet takes up more of the page and therefore pushes the traditional organic results (and your competition) further down the organic listings and out of view from your target users.

Position Zero helps you to capture valuable exposure in the most prominent position. This helps users find you as the best and most relevant website to help them with their needs.

  • Position Zero often improves your click-through rate (CTR)

It’s widely acknowledged that the featured snippet receives the largest proportion of clicks compared with the other organic listings.

Being rewarded with the sought-after Position Zero means you can leapfrog right to the top of the page and be rewarded with even more clicks to your website because users can see you’ve answered their query straight away.

In the past, website owners were concerned that if the snippet alone provides the answer they were looking for, there’s no need to click through to the website – which would mean less clicks and traffic. However, research has shown the opposite and a page which captures the snippet does still boost click-through rates (CTR).

Data from a recent study by Ahrefs showed that, of the 2 million featured snippets analysed, 8.6% of all clicks were claimed by the featured snippet. So in essence, “the featured snippet is stealing clicks from the #1 ranking results” according to Ahrefs.

Average CTR of featured snippets
– Average CTR of featured snippets (image source: Ahrefs)
  •  Position Zero means your there for voice search

According to Quoracreative, “If your content has won a spot for featured snippet for a regular query, there is more than 40% chance, it can rank for same query done via voice search.” In short, if you’ve captured the snippet, you are in the best position to feature in a different kind of search (one that’s growing year on year).

Over the past couple of years, voice search has become a monumental way people have found the answers they need.

Since Google often uses Position Zero as the correct information to deliver in a voice search result, it’s essential you optimise your content to echo the natural language used in voice searches.

How to capture Position Zero

1. Identify the right opportunities

The first step in capturing Position Zero for yourself is to make sure you are targeting the right opportunities for your business. It’s important to remember that not every search serves its users a snippet. Realistically, you need to be already be ranking in the top 5 positions organically to have a shot at the snippet if there’s one available.

This graph designed by Moz provides a clearer picture:

2. Write targeted content

It’s a no brainer really, if you want to capture Position Zero, you need to be writing really good content that provides enough detail but also gets to the point – quickly.

Generally speaking, the longer the content, the better. Users have got increasingly used to scrolling over the years so creating lots of in-depth content is no longer frowned upon. As long as the content you create is helpful for the user, the word count can be hefty.

Understanding the context behind a search query is important and stuffing your content with keywords is not helpful to the users – so it’s not helpful to Google either. Google uses latent semantic indexing (LSI) which means it understands how words and phrases relate to a wider topic. Use a wealth of phrases and synonyms to show Google you are offering a wider understanding of the topic in question.

Finally, you need to think about structure and you need to research how the current winner of the snippet has been formatted. Do you need to think about an FAQ style piece, incorporating a numbered or bullet point list or even a table to have a chance of grabbing Position Zero?

3. Don’t forget the finer details

It’s not just your content that needs to be optimised; the rest of your page needs to be optimised for search too.

This includes:

  • Optimised Page Titles, Image Alt Tags and Meta Data with your target search terms.
  • Optimised Headings (H1-5 Tags). This not only provides a more coherent structure visually; it also helps search engines to understand your page too.
  • Clever use of internal links. Make sure you link to other helpful pieces to add depth and a wider understanding to your page.

An update on Position Zero

On January 23 2020, Google announced that featured snippets would no longer be listed as both a snippet and an organic listing on the same page. Please see the full thread for further details.

It’s a huge change and how this will impact search over the coming months is still hard to tell. Before panic sets in, we need to monitor the impact of this change closely and only change our SEO strategy accordingly when we have enough data to work with.

It’s something our SEO specialists at Zelst are definitely keeping a close eye on and we will keep our clients and readers updated as soon as we have any definitive answers.

For now, though, Position Zero is still the best place you can be in organic search and you still should be aiming for that top spot. Don’t forget, you can always contact the experts and we can do the hard work for you.