Position zero, often referred to as the “featured snippet” appears at the very top of the search results. It directly answers a query, providing the user with clear information relating to their search
Position zero appears above all other top-ranking search results, making it the most highly sought after position for seasoned marketers who understand the incredible impact that being the first result for a highly-relevant search brings.
In fact, landing the top-ranked position in search can literally transform your business virtually overnight.
After all, if you’re the first to appear whenever a prospect enters a highly-relevant search term, you’ll drive unlimited targeted traffic to your landing pages and quickly maximize exposure as well as help establish brand expertise.
Position zero simply puts your content ahead of the pack.
In addition, securing position zero puts your brand in a very strong position since you’ll be able to provide a clear and definitive answer to a commonly asked question.
Here’s what position zero looks like:
Position zero may look a bit differently to the snapshot above, though. It can also come in the form of:
These are data charts, such as measurement conversion tables such as cup-to-ounces, insurance rates or dates of public holidays. In other words, it’s a visual representation of data.
This includes a list of steps or instructions explaining the answer to the search query such as when you search for a recipe. These often appear when entering how-to questions. Lists can be ordered or unordered and be either numbered or in bulleted form.
Position zero often features a suggested video, if there’s a video clip available that directly answers the question entered in search. These results come from YouTube, the second largest search engine online.
Position zero may include a definition to a term or an answer to a question, ranging from 40 to 60 words.
No matter what position zero ends up looking like, if you manage to secure the top spot, you’ll catapult your business to the next level.
Are you ready to learn exactly how to achieve position zero results? Let’s begin!
When it comes to search engine optimization, everyone is after the exact same thing: to get to the top of the results page. Since Google only shows 10 search results per page, so the higher you’re on that list, the more exposure you’ll receive.
Position zero is now the King of impact. If you’re able to secure the top spot, you’ll experience more traffic than you ever thought possible. In fact, position zero typically gets a much higher click-through rate than paid advertising, which means that even if your competitors throw a ton of money into ad campaigns in the hope of knocking you off your position, you can still come out on top!
So, what do you need to do to get to position zero? Your first step should be to determine whether position zero would actually benefit your business or not. True, landing in the top spot in search will likely skyrocket your page’s visibility and traffic, but does your business really need the top spot? For example, if you’re a local business you’re likely better off focusing on positioning yourself on Google map results instead.
Remember, Position Zero is all about answering a popular search query.
And that question could be anything under the sun, (yes, even “are werewolves real?”), so if your market is one where people are in desperate need of answers to commonly asked questions, then you should aim to rank in this high-traffic spot. But if your target audience isn’t actively looking for an answer to a frequently asked question, you may want to reconsider whether spending time and resources trying to secure position zero is worth the effort.
To begin, think about the questions people are asking in your niche. Write down everything that comes to mind; you’ll use this information in just a few minutes. The key is to think from your audience’s perspective.
What would the average person type into Google when looking for a direct answer to their question? Remember to consider questions from different levels of learning and knowledge as well. For example, someone brand new to your niche would likely enter in very different questions—typically they’d be basic or broader in scope than someone with knowledge about your topic.
The questions you write down will then need to be qualified. You do this by simply entering each one into Google. You’re looking to see if any of the questions rank in position zero, and if so, who owns that spot. Studying the top-ranking competitors in your niche will make it easier to create a marketing strategy that puts you on top.
Look at how each question that appears in position zero is structured. You’ll quickly notice how detailed, yet concise the answers are. When the time comes to optimize your pages, you’ll want to organize your posts in the same way that your competitors do, only better. The key is to thoroughly answer a commonly searched question. The more comprehensive your post is, the better your chances at securing position zero.
Remember, Google chooses one of the pages from the first ten search results, so you want your post to be systematically optimized to boost your chances at it being chosen. The more you study the competitors in your niche who’ve already managed to secure position zero, the better you’ll understand how to create your own posts so you can take over their ranking.
How to Secure Position Zero
Now that you have a better understanding of what you need to keep in mind when creating content in the hopes of landing the top spot, here are some other things you should do to boost your chances:
1: Target a Simple Question:
The idea is to choose a commonly asked question that can be answered simply and succinctly. At the same time, you want to be careful that your snippet doesn’t completely answer their question, leaving them with no reason to visit your website and explore further.
To avoid this, focus on choosing a question that can be answered quickly, but where a user would almost always want more information. In other words, while a short and simple answer will give them a general idea, it’s a topic that’s complex enough to where a user will want to go deeper.
2: Focus on Long-Tail Keywords:
Identify a long-tail search term that makes sense for your business and research what’s in position zero for this specific term. Once you’ve found the current featured snippet, visit the page and analyze the content there.
Look for weaknesses in their material.
• Are there ways you could improve on the answer?
• Is there outdated or unnecessary information included in their content?
Create your own content so that it’s stronger and clearer than the theirs.
3: Keep your Answers Short and Direct:
Your answers should be no more than 60 words long. Aim for 52-58 to be safe. In addition, you’ll want to ensure your answer is direct. After all, a featured snippet only allows for a small amount of text.
You should also make sure you include both the question and answer in one sentence. It will help crawlers identify the question and answer combination which will boost your chances at securing position zero.
4: Think Beyond Google:
Uploading optimized video content to YouTube is a great way to increase your chances at not only ranking on the first page of Google’s search results, but it will help you maximize your overall outreach!
When creating video content, you’ll want to make sure each video has a detailed description that includes highly-targeted keywords, includes a transcript, uses a compelling thumbnail and contains accurate closed captions. Answer questions within video descriptions as well within the videos themselves. After all, YouTube videos are more often featured in response to how-to queries than anything else!
Remember, Google looks at both transcripts as well as descriptions when choosing content for the featured snippet. As time goes on, featured snippets will continue to include more and more videos, so that users no longer have to leave Google to go to YouTube.
In some cases, Google may feature a specific segment of a clip that answers the specific query, so keep this in mind when you think about how your brand might be able to provide video-based answers while encouraging users to click through to your channel. Don’t overlook the power of video content in relation to brand awareness and boosting visibility beyond Google.
Visuals are the most powerful way to provide answers to search queries and they will boost your chances at landing position zero, but they offer many other benefits as well.
Create a dedicated public page where your video is the main feature:
It’s okay to include the same video on both a dedicated page and its original page alongside other information, like a news article or a product detail page.
Include your video in an appropriate HTML tag:
Google can more easily identify a video on your page when there’s an HTML tag around it.
Submit a video sitemap to make it even easier for Google to find your videos:
Make sure that you verify both the site that contains the sitemap and all of the sites referenced in the sitemap.
You can do that here:
Finally, make sure that your videos are visible and easy to find on your pages. This is why Google recommends using a standalone page for each video with a descriptive title or description unique to each individual video. Make sure videos are prominent on the page and aren’t hidden or difficult to find.
5: 5W Answers (Who, What, When, Where & Why):
While you want to ensure your questions are short and direct, you should also try to include the “who, what, when, where and why” in your content. Not only will it boost your chances of appearing in position zero, but it will strengthen your content’s tone and structure.
Not sure what the 5W’s are for the question you’re looking to answer? I’ll show you how to get started in the next chapter.
6: Focus on Title Tags:
Every single page on your website should have a title tag. You also want to make sure your tags are descriptive but concise.
Avoid keyword stuffing or including irrelevant words in your title—keep them highly targeted and extremely focused.
You should also work towards creating distinct and clear titles for every page on your website. Don’t re-use tags frequently or you run the risk of over-optimizing for repeated keywords rather than broadening your reach.
Instead, each title should directly relate to the content on your page and vary in terms of targeted keywords. Finally, make sure that every page includes a solid meta description.
7: How-To Questions.
How-to questions are one of the most common type of search and will almost always display a position zero result.
For example, the question: “how to jump start a car” shows this result in position zero:
How-to searches yield more position zero results than any other kind, so keep this in mind when creating your own content. Just the same, consider incorporating “what is” headings in your content as well. Think about the type of search queries someone in your niche would enter that begin with “what if” and then look for ways to include them in your content.
In addition, one of the easiest ways to get to position zero is to produce content involving lists. Ordered steps, a list of required ingredients, and even ranked items are often found in position zero results.
Answering the Right Questions
If you’re stuck when it comes to figuring out what questions to answer to boost your chances at securing position zero, there’s a simple “hack” that will give you the direction you need. Whenever someone enters in a search term into Google, they’re given many different answers. Yes, there’s the snippet that sits in position zero, but if you scroll further down you’ll also see a section called “People Also Ask”.
This is an incredibly valuable section for any marketer or content writer because it provides you with a long list of commonly asked questions relating to the original search query. And remember how I mentioned the importance of including the Who, What, When, Where & Why in your answer in order to ensure your content succinctly answers the question? The People Also Ask section is a great resource when looking for other commonly asked questions related to any given topic.
There are generally two types of questions that appear in the People Also Ask section:
1: Questions that are more specific to the current search query.
These questions drill down, clarifying the query and helping a user find answers. This works well in the event someone entered a search query that was too vague.
Google will display relevant questions pertaining to the overall topic in the hopes of helping the browser pinpoint their issue.
2: Similar Questions.
Think of these as follow-up questions that are relevant to the current search query but may be broader in scope. For example, if you were to enter the search query” “how to make money online”, there’s little chance just one answer will be sufficient. After all, there are many different methods and opportunities available to anyone who wants to make money online so a position zero answer couldn’t possibly cover all ground.
This is where the People Also Ask comes into play.
Let’s take a closer look:
From a marketer or content writer’s perspective, the questions that appear in the People Also Ask section are pure gold. They help us better understand the overall topic, but they also highlight the average browsing journey so we can better serve our audience when it comes to creating our own content.
In other words, we know what questions are being asked and we know how to answer them. In addition, by analyzing the questions that appear with different search queries related to your market, rather than just one, you’ll get a great idea of what your target audience is interested in when actively searching for a specific search phrase.
You can then use these questions as subheadings in your blog posts.
After all, since users are actively searching for those exact questions, chances are you’ll drive readers deeper into your content by including them in your content.
Creating content based around answering questions that appear in the People Also Ask section is also a great way to boost your rankings in search, which in turn, will increase your chances at landing position zero.
When aiming your sights on securing position zero, remember the following: Your answer needs to provide an accurate answer to the search query. It must also be relevant, so focus on answering one specific question in each blog post instead of trying to cover too much ground at once.
Your page also needs to be on the first page of search for your given query to be selected for position zero. Google only chooses a featured snippet from the first-page of results so if you’ve yet to secure a position on page one, you’ll want to focus on achieving that first.
Finally, don’t overlook the importance of proper formatting! Google seems to prefer extremely organized content, so use tables, lists, a combination of headings and paragraph tags, and step-by-step instructions to provide a clear and well-guided answer. All of this will boost your chances at being chosen for a position zero placement, and even if you never manage to land this coveted spot, your post will be fully optimized which will essentially maximize your traffic and outreach.
In the end, while the page with the highest authority will always have the best shot at securing position zero, smart content optimization that’s aimed at providing a clear and direct answer, combined with providing additional value will often win.
Here are links to a few resources that I believe will help you:
3 Steps to Ranking for Position Zero:
Position Zero Explained:
How to Optimize for Position Zero:
Position Zero Quick-Start: