How to Optimise Your Content for Google Featured Snippets – Nail Position Zero
The Holy Grail for digital marketers is to appear on the first page of Google search results and the new highly coveted top spot is position 0. Previously, the goal was to be number one, but Google has changed the goalposts and introduced featured snippets.
What is Position 0?
Position 0, also known as a featured snippet, appears as a box at the top of the search results page, above the normal search results, hence the name. The snippet is designed to address the searcher’s query in the most direct and relevant way – it has been deemed by Google to be the BEST answer, pulled from the search results.
The featured snippet contains the URL and page title, along with a section of the web page’s content the answer was pulled from.
These snippets occupy a powerful space. That’s why we were hugely excited to see our Growth-Driven Design content reach the SEO mountain summit.
Featured snippets don’t appear in all search results; data shows they pop up in around 10% of searches, so they won’t work for all your keywords. BUT the effort to get there is worth it.
Why bother trying to get to the very top?
A recent HubSpot study of high-volume keywords revealed that when their content ranked for position zero, it produced a 114% increase in click through rates (CTR), even in cases where they already held the number one organic position.
Holding a position zero gives off an impression of status for your website and more importantly they are the voice responses for Google Assistant. This is a game changer, given that sharp rise in mobile searches and the corresponding increase in voice-assisted search queries.
Think about it for a second, in the case of screenless search devices such as Alexa and Google Home, the only result heard will be position 0.
How do you rank for featured snippets?
So, there are a few ways to increase your chances of claiming the top spot. Here we share some of the tactics that we’ve seen working.
Determine your niche
The first thing you need to do is to decide on your niche. In our example above, we did this for Growth-Driven Design and then looked for opportunities of questions that needed answering.
If you’re not sure what questions people are typing into Google that your business provides solutions for, there are tools out there to help you. We use Answer the Public; it’s a free tool that shows you the exact questions that are being asked in your niche.
Get to page 1
Try typing some of these questions into Google and see what’s currently returned. Are you on page one; is your content good enough to organically rank in the top ten positions? If not, then you’ll need to make this your top priority first as Google pulls in a featured snippet from one of the results on page one of search.
Learn from your competitors
If a featured snippet is returned for your competitor’s content, see if you can create copy that is even more relevant and straight to the point. Identify any weaknesses and exploit them to your advantage.
Do your keyword research
The tip here is to shift focus to question keywords. Then use these question keywords in your content, ideally in the first paragraph. It’s beneficial to start adding question keywords to header 2s, title tags, and meta descriptions, too.
The relevance of your content will outweigh its ranking (once in the top 10) when it comes to position zero. Google wants you to be specific because that’s what its customers (searchers) expect of it.
Get to the point quickly
Content that is protracted is a major turn-off and a big no-no when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO). The reason is your visitors want to see instantly that you’ve got the answer to their problem and convoluted copy means they have to process too much information to find it.
Answer the question with brevity in the first paragraph. Create a summary at the start of the content so that both your audience and Google can clearly see it.
Add value with in-depth content
Once you’ve answered the specific question upfront you can now add more value. When it comes to SEO copy more is more (that’s providing the quality and relevance isn’t compromised). Long-form content works best as Google wants you to add as much value as you can.
Want to learn more?
We’re happy to share what we’ve learnt getting to position 0 and provide you with a free SEO audit.
Let’s see how you’re currently performing and where the quick wins are to improve your ranking.