If you know a thing or two about search engine ranking, you probably wish your sites would take the first position for the key queries. However, for every search in Google there is always a website that ranks above all others — this is the “zero position”. To get there and rank higher than anyone, you need to take advantage of the hidden SEO tools and tricks that will make your website look the most useful in the eyes of the almighty Google. Let’s take a look at zero position formats and the ways you can get up there.
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What you get
You can rank zero in several ways: have your content featured as a snippet or provide answers for the Q&A section. Additionally, the “People Also Ask” box features more snippets for related queries.
Featured Snippets are represented by a paragraph you see above the first search result. A snippet is a summary from the relevant website, it also features the headline and the link of the webpage. Snippets have various formats: paragraph, list, video, table, accordion, rich answer, and tool (a calculator, for example).
This is a paragraph snippet:
And this is a video snippet:
And here is a list:
The Answer Box is another zero position placement that has tremendous visibility and high CTR. Most users won’t go past the quick answer block if they are somewhat satisfied with search results, so even your #1 SEO ranking will be useless. This is what a quick answer box looks like:
How to rank zero
To get your content featured as a snippet, Google must think that your answer is the best and most relevant to the query. Note that getting into #0 is more feasible if you already are at the top of search results.
- Use more long-tail keys as they have lower competition and, consequently, higher click-through-rate. And it will be easier for you to rank higher for such keywords. Research your audience’s preferences and pains using such tools as Google Trends or similar to find the relevant phrases that have been overlooked by your competition.
- Produce copy that really answers the question (one specific question!). There is no magic pill for getting into the snippets with mediocre content. Your text must be well-written and thoroughly-structured, or else.
- Invest time and effort into structuring your web pages to match the Q&A structure. Use special markup types like FAQ and Q&A to make it easier for the search engine to see your content for what it is.
- However, the main body of the content on the page should be at least 2K words because this is optimal for unpacking the idea thoroughly.
- Don’t be wordy, though: the answer itself better be short to make it into the snippets. The perfect length is under 60 words. This small portion of the text is also referred to as “snippet bait”.
To get featured in the quick answer section, your copy needs to be specifically crafted to answer a question (no surprises there). The quick answers users see on the main page have to come from authority pages with a perfect reputation, pinpoint structure, and top-notch UX. All the points we have stated for featured snippets also apply to getting into the quick answers, but there are some specific tips, too.
- A themed website and relevant high-quality content are a must, just like we said. Also, the page structure needs to feature the JSON markers of a question-answer type.
- The traditional SEO approaches also apply to #0 ranking: lists, pictures, video content, several layers of headers and sub-headers, etc. A “how to” or “what is” paragraph will be a great addition to the website’s visibility as well.
Now you know that unlike in sports, ranking #1 is not the highest achievement when it comes to website visibility. Google has several formats of “zero position” and in this article we have assembled the tips that will boost your chances of ranking among the best of the best. At least in Google’s eyes, but it’s no mean feat.