In this post, we’re going to teach you how to rank Position 0 on Google.
. . . wait, what?
You’re probably familiar with search engine results pages, or SERPs. On Google, paid ads appear at the top, and organic listings appear underneath, starting with Position 1.
Over the past couple of years, however, Google have rolled out “featured snippets” – those wee bits of information that occasionally pop up at the very top of organic search results.
Featuring so prominently in the SERPs can be a good way to increase click-through rate (CTR) and, in turn, page authority.
But how do featured snippets work and, more importantly, how do you get your site featured?
Sit back, relax, and prepare to see your site soar through the SERPs. This is how to rank Position 0 on Google.
What Are Featured Snippets?
Features snippets are specially marked search results that occasionally appear above other organic results when a user enters a query into Google.
For example, searching for “what are featured snippets” produces the following featured snippet:
Featured snippets appear below paid results, but there are a few qualities that distinguish featured snippets from the other organic results.
- A light grey border surrounds the result
- Keywords are more visibly bolded compared to other results
- A large-font excerpt of the page’s copy appears above the URL
For the official briefing, see Google’s resource on featured snippets.
How Do Featured Snippets Work?
According to Google, featured snippets are programmatically extracted from a webpage. This extract is then enhanced to draw users’ attention.
Featured snippets are not part of Knowledge Graph. They are simply normal search results, emphasised with a special layout.
Unfortunately for webmasters, it’s not possible to mark your page as a featured snippet. You can, however, opt out of featured snippets by using the <meta name=”googlebot” content=”nosnippet”> tag on your page.
Opting out might be useful if you already rank in the top spots for your target keywords and those keywords are more informational than transactional. In these cases, you might already receive a good amount of traffic and domain authority. By allowing Google to display your information in a featured snippet, users may not click through to read the answer on your site.
A search for “who started mother’s day,” for example, displays the following featured snippet:
So now I know the answer. Great! But if you’re History.com, will you be getting the same click through rate as before? Probably not.
(Also worth noting: that’s not actually a photo of Anna Jarvis… Even Google’s not perfect!)
How Do You Get a Featured Snippet?
The folks over at Moz tracked a large sample set of featured snippets. While no two snippets are identical, here are some important themes they learned during their analysis:
- In order to become a featured snippet, the result must already rank on Page 1
- Only 1/3 of featured snippets are pulled from the Positon 1 result
- Featured snippets are about relevance, not authority
Consider the featured snippet in the image above. The Positon 1 result belongs to Google, the official source on this particular query. The actual featured snippet, however, is pulled from the Position 4 result.
So, what is the best way to rank Position 0 on Google? Write clear, relevant copy, and phrase it in the most user-friendly, straightforward way possible. That’s why this Position 4 result beat out Google itself for the number 1 – well, 0 – spot.
Our Experience with Featured Snippets
We wrote a blog back in June on the benefits of user-generated content. A few weeks ago, we were delighted to see that the page, which ranked Position 3, had become a featured snippet!
Reading the excerpt, you can probably tell why: the copy is clear, relevant, and doesn’t beat around the bush. We also didn’t try to manufacture the result – it just happened organically.
But as the cliché suggests, our fifteen minutes of fame didn’t last forever. As of writing, the results have changed:
Although we’ve moved up a notch from Position 3 to Position 2, we no longer hold Position 0. That distinction now belongs to the Position 4 result.
But why? Perhaps their post has enjoyed an influx of inbound links recently, or it has seen a rise in CTR.
Or perhaps it’s simply more relevant for this particular search query. No matter how hard marketers try, there is no single tactic to help you gain featured snippet status.
Since featured snippets are programmatically excerpted from webpages by Google, they can change at any time.
As a marketer, there’s no guaranteed way to reach Position 0. Instead, strive to create content that’s focused on answering a specific question or challenge. Clear, relevant, and straightforward – it’s what Google wants, and it’s what your users want.
If you need help developing your content strategy, get in touch here or call 0131 225 0720. There’s nothing we love more than turning a challenge into a success.