Position zero (or position 0) content appears above position 1 on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). As it appears above all organic results, it’s highly sought after by marketers. To create content that ranks at “position 0” you should…
- Ask the question that you are aiming to rank for in the title (h1 tag)
- Answer the question in the first 100 words
- Ask related questions in headings (h2 tags)
- Answer these following questions clearly and concisely
- Include how-to lists if relevant
- Write unique content
- Write content that is 1,200 words long
- Satisfy the user intent of potential readers
- Include images/videos/tools and other assets if appropriate
- Create a post that is likely to rank on the first page (and above the fold)
- Create a post on a website that has good on-page SEO
Featured snippets have become increasingly prevalent in recent years, and despite fears to the contrary, they seem to drive click-throughs rather than diminish them. It’s important to realise that featured snippets are extracted programmatically. Here’s how Google explains it:
The summary is a snippet extracted programmatically from what a visitor sees on your web page. What’s different with a featured snippet is that it is enhanced to draw user attention on the results page. When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.
What are the differences between “position 0”, “quick answers” and “featured snippets”?
Position 0 simply refers to the position of the content; it’s known as position 0 because it appears above rank 1 content. Simple!
As for the difference between featured snippets and quick answers? It’s just two ways of saying the same thing. I’m going to use featured snippets from here on out because that’s the term Google uses. Here’s how Google describes featured snippets:
When a user asks a question in Google Search, we might show a search result in a special featured snippet block at the top of the search results page. This featured snippet block includes a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title and URL.
What kinds of featured snippets are there?
There are three main types of featured snippets:
- Lists (82%)
- Tables (11%)
- Paragraphs (7%)
The above screenshot of an answer box is an example of the paragraph type of featured snippet. Below, you’ll see an example of the list type of featured snippet.
Lastly, we’ve also got the tabular form of featured snippet
How can you get a featured snippet?
As usual, Google is tight-lipped about how one might go about scoring a featured snippet. The only thing that Google has told us is that the content and the site speed are both important factors. There are thought to be another 200+ factors in the algorithm. All we can do is go with what has worked for us in the past — your milage may vary.
We know that user intent is at the heart of everything that Google does. Google always prioritises content that enables users to get the answers that they are looking for. This means that you can win by creating content that meets the needs of your users.
It’s also clearly the case that featured snippets are more likely to appear as answers to queries that start with question words such as what, where, when, who and how.
Lastly, it also appears that featured snippets are more likely to appear for searches that do not serve ads. This makes sense — Google wouldn’t want to upset advertisers by gazumping their paid-for position.
Here’s how we earned a featured snippet for a client
Here’s an example of a featured snippet that we snagged for a client. It’s not included in the screenshot, but we’ve got double bubble here — both position zero and position one.
So how did we do it? Well here’s the content:
- We asked the question in the title (h1).
- We answered the question in the first hundred words.
- We didn’t ask related questions in headings, though we did use related headings (h2).
- We included clear instructions for the reader.
- We created 800+ words of unique content.
- We satisfied the user intent of potential readers.
- We included images and linked to tools.
- We got the post ranking at position one organically.
- We got the SEO Team to make sure that the page had good on-site SEO.
All credit for the above goes to Samantha Lyon, our resident Content Marketing wizard!
Want to learn more about featured snippets?
These are the articles that I used to put together this post:
Thanks to Adrian Phipps whose presentation at BrightonSEO was the inspiration for this blog!