The great novelty in SEO in recent times has undoubtedly been Google’s 0 position. Now, the most popular search engine not only offers us a list of sites in response to searches, but also places an extract in a prominent place to give quick answers to user questions.
To conquer position 0, the “trick” lies in optimizing your website using rich snippets. Let’s see what they are, how to detect opportunities to reach position 0 and how to optimize your content to achieve it.
What are rich snippets and how do they work?
Simply put, rich snippets are rich snippets of web page information created to make the search engine better understand data and classify it appropriately. Even if you have not heard of rich snippets before, you have surely seen them in action a lot of times, for example when you search for a recipe on Google and the results are shown in the form of an image carousel.
What is shown in position 0 of Google is a ” featured snippet “, which shows an extract of the information sought, the title of the page where this information is located, a URL and, sometimes, an image.
The snippets occupy a lot of space at the top of the page and, therefore, they get a large number of impressions and clicks . According to a study by Ahrefs that analyzed more than 2 million snippets , Google’s 0 position attracts 8.6% of clicks. According to the same result, the featured rich snippet is shown in 12.3% of searches. When a search includes the featured snippet, it “steals” around 25% CTR from the first result.
It should be clear that position 0 and position 1 can be occupied by the same page or by different pages. The vast majority of featured snippets come from websites that appear on the first page of results, but only 30.9% of them match the first search result. If you manage to get hold of both the snippet and the first organic result, you will be attracting more than 28% of clicks.
Types of featured snippets
The results of the first position of Google can be displayed in up to 4 different formats. Let’s see what they are.
Paragraphs of text
Paragraph snippets are the most common. They are intended to give a direct answer to the user’s question, and they are often displayed alongside an image.
This type of snippet is most often displayed in response to searches that start with the words how, who, why, or what.
In Google’s 0 position, two different types of lists can be displayed:
- Numbered lists – These are usually shown to illustrate how to do a step-by-step task, for example, “how to give your cat a pill.”
- Unnumbered lists: Typically, these featured snippets are made from list-items, such as “the 10 best programs for retouching photos and videos.” Basically, what Google does is take the article headings and format them in a list to show the content in a summarized way.
The tables show structured data to improve readability, for example the calorie content of different elements. It is important to note that the original content does not need to be in table format, as Google itself rearranges the data to make it more useful.
For some searches, Google can display a YouTube video at position 0, or take the text of a video description.
How to spot opportunities to rank 0 on Google
We’re going to look at two different tactics to identify opportunities to quickly hit Google’s 0 position with our snippets.
Search for keywords for which you already appear on the first page and that have results in position 0
As we have seen before, not all searches have a rich snippet at position 0 ; This only occurs about 12% of the time. We have also seen that to reach Google position 0, it is practically essential to be on the first page of results.
If we combine both data, we see that one of the opportunities that are most at hand to reach position 0 is to search for keywords for which snippets appear and in which we are already positioned. Depending on the volume of traffic on your site and how complex your SEO strategy is, you may need to use a tool like SemRush to do this filtering.
Once you have a list of keywords for which you are well positioned, but in which another page has taken the rich snippet, it will be your turn to analyze what is happening.
Look at the result that occupies position 0 and compare it with your article. In many cases, you will see that the difference is in the format, for example, the featured article is easier to convert into a list or a table. Instead of creating content from scratch, you just have to adapt yours to be more readable for Google and keep the featured one.
Search for new keywords with results in position 0
To complete the opportunity analysis, we have to see keywords that are related to our sector that have a featured snippet and for which we are not yet positioned. Again, SEO tools offer specific filters so that we can spot these opportunities.
When we have detected the most interesting positioning opportunities, we will have to analyze the result in position 0 to see how we can compete with it.
On this occasion, we will have to create an article from the beginning, optimizing it so that it is readable and scannable and can be easily presented in featured snippet formats. Apply the tips that we are going to see in the next section to multiply the possibilities of getting the coveted position 0.
5 ways to optimize your content for position 0
Use keywords based on questions
In a study looking at 30 different formulas for creating keywords (including questions, prepositions, and comparisons), Ghergich & Co found that many question-based keywords included featured snippets at position 0.41.59% of question searches They showed outstanding content, 480% more than other types of searches.
The reason for this is that Google is interested in increasing the permanence of users on the search page . By answering your question directly, they prevent the user from clicking and going to visit another site.
Therefore, you are interested in guiding your SEO and your content creation to answer common questions from users . For example, if you are dedicated to selling items for runners, you can search for formulas such as:
- How much does a GPS watch cost?
- When do I have to change my running shoes?
- How do I know at what speed I am running?
- What are the best marathon training programs?
- Which running shirts give less heat?
In general, question-type searches lead to featured paragraph-type snippets, so it’s essential that you make sure that the first few sentences of your content give a quick answer to the user’s question.
To find ideas for question-type keywords, I recommend using the Answer the Public tool. With it you can get a list of the most popular questions in your niche, both in a visual map and in an exportable CSV file.
Include summaries in your articles
The easier it is for Google to understand your content, the easier it will be to reward you with the coveted position 0. Therefore, it is essential to include a summary of the main points or steps within the article itself.
If, for example, your article is a step-by-step tutorial with thousands of words, it is very useful to start with a list of the steps. Then you can go on to explain each step in great detail.
In the same way, we recommend that you use H2 headings for each of the process steps or the main points of the article. In this way, Google will be able to take these headings and convert them into a list to display them in position 0.
Give immediate, clear and concise answers
The ideal content to position in Google is a short paragraph (around 50 words) that gives a direct answer to the user’s query.
The best example of this type of featured snippet is Wikipedia, since all its articles give a useful answer to the user’s possible question in the first sentence. Also, they all start with the keyword .
For example, if we search for “Google” in Wikipedia, the first sentence is: “Google LLC is a main subsidiary company of the American multinational Alphabet Inc., whose specialization are products and services related to the Internet, software, electronic devices and other technologies”
Use structured data to reach position 0 with tables
Some types of data, such as nutritional information on foods or a price list, are easier to understand if presented in table form, by both users and search engines.
The keywords comparisons such as “what”, “price” or “best” are the ones most likely to show snippets featured in tabular form. Here are some more examples:
- Comparison of sports watches.
- What are the best running shoes for a marathon.
- Nike running shirt prices.
To increase the odds of ranking 0 on Google, it is preferable that the data is already formatted as a table. But remember that even if it is not, Google can rearrange them to show them in the featured snippet.
Take care of your website’s engagement
The result that occupies the first position of Google and the featured snippet of position 0 only coincide about 30% of the time. Therefore, it is worth asking what happens the remaining 70% of the time and what are the reasons for choosing a certain page for position 0.
Of course, the format is very important, but it is not everything. An in-depth study of WordStream suggests that engagement-related metrics could weigh heavily on search results.
Therefore, to be more likely to achieve the 0 position, it is highly recommended to pay attention to data such as page time, the correspondence between content and user intention, the speed of the site and adaptation to mobile devices.
Bonus bonus: how to use Google Search Console to reach position 0
Now you know how to optimize your content with rich snippets and other resources to increase your chances of reaching Google position 0. But to speed up the process, you need one more step.
Instead of waiting for Google to realize that you’ve optimized your content and included in its index, you can notify them of updates to make them appear faster. These are the steps to follow:
- Sign in to the Google Seach Console (and if you don’t have an account yet, create one now!).
- Select the URL inspection tool.
- Go to “Tracking – Explore Like Google”.
- Enter the URL you want to index and click “Get”.
- Google will verify that you can access the page and a button will appear with the text “Request indexing”.
- By clicking on it, a window will open in which you will have to confirm that you are not a robot and choose if you want to track only that URL or also its direct links.
- Click “Go” and you’re done! You have already warned Google to crawl your page and include it in its index.