How To Own Google’s Position Zero
Google’s Featured Snippets are a powerful opportunity to not only quickly beat your competitor, but also beat the No. 1 organic ranking in Google to earn, effectively, position zero. Using data from Google’s knowledge graph, answers to questions that users type into the search box appear with a short snippet of information, preventing the need for the user to click through to the target web page. This saves users’ times and provides information without the need for a single click to take place.
Several months ago, I started experimenting with different methods to earn featured snippets. Thousands of hours later, we identified the elements that help sites earn featured snippets and keep them. In this article, I’ll teach you how to outrank your competitors using Google Featured Snippets.
How To Find Google Featured Snippets
A powerful tool to identify potential featured snippets for you to optimize is SEMrush. Using SEMrush, you can search for terms that you are already ranking for, and filter for “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why” types of keywords. Once you identify those terms, start creating content that addresses those questions. For instance, if you find “how to optimize my blog” in your top five “how to” keywords during your SEMrush analysis, you need to answer the how.
You will be surprised how many attempts it may take you to finally land a snippable piece of content. To maximize your efforts, let’s talk tactics.
1. Take a look at your FAQ page: Utilizing FAQ pages are a fantastic way to bring all of the snippet content you develop to fruition. When developing a snippable FAQ page, spread your content out. For instance, make a separate answer page for each specific question. You can certainly still have one main FAQ page, but direct each answer to a separate window. Where do you find your FAQ page questions and answers? Using a keyword research tool is optimal to compile a healthy Q&A list. You can also utilize the long-tail, LSI keywords at the bottom of any SERP.
2. Optimize word count: When you optimize your content for Google’s algorithms, your chance of earning a featured snippet will increase. Snippet research has found that word count plays a significant role in what sites get the coveted position zero spot. According to SEMrush, the most common length of content in featured snippets is between 40-50 words.
3. Use paragraphs, numbered lists, bullets and tables: The Google Featured Snippet format you use can also impact how algorithms place your snippable content above your competitors’. If you have content that can be developed into table format, your chances for position zero may increase. Choosing to display data in tables may help you rank for snippets that have multiple data points. Paragraphs and lists seem to be trending Google Featured Snippets as well. Put your snippable content or search query answer in a paragraph (<p>) tag. Make sure your paragraph tag is below the search query header for best results.
4. Add headers and steps to your snippets: Place your search query in an H1, H2, or H3 header to maximize position zero success. This will add additional weight to the term, enhancing relevance and aiding in floating that term to the page one top spot. For question queries, or “how to” searches, Google doesn’t always pull content from a paragraph format. When possible, add step 1, step 2, step 3 and so on for each subheading, H2 tag. Google often likes logical, tightly formatted content for position zero. Placing steps and even rules may make all the difference.
5. Optimize your images: Google Featured Snippets often have images alongside the content. The image may not even be from the homepage or the URL the snippet displays. Google may pull content from one page, and an image from another, or even a competitor’s page. To increase your snippable chances, ensure you optimize all your images so they get pulled into position zero. Optimize your images with the query question in the alt tag, image title and image name, as well as image size. Google seems to display images that are about 200 px by 160 px. Sized all images to this ratio if possible.
6. Don’t forget links: Once your Featured Snippet is finally optimized, give those snippable pages a little extra boost with links. The more external links you have pointing to a page, the more Google identifies them as important and relevant. This works to your advantage in a number of ways: It increases your chance of getting a Google Featured Snippet. It will also increase your ranking for that page, with an increase to your Domain Authority (DA). External links are great, but you can also leverage existing pages, linking them to your FAQ pages where relevant. Not all links are created equal, and you want to ensure you have white hat link building tactics in place. Ensure that the content is highly authoritative, informative, quotable and shareable.
Google Featured Snippets are indeed very precious for brands and their online content. This rings especially true if Google places you above all your competitors at the top of page one, without paid AdWords campaigns. Go showcase your content by making it snippable.