By Franki Falkow, Content Director, Meritus Media.
Google’s number one position in search results has long been a coveted position, but, when it comes to SEO, zero is the new number one.
Google has a specific set of content guidelines that change regularly. It’s important to be aware of their latest updates and requirements, so your content is found and seen by as many of your target audience as possible. The top trends to focus on for 2023 when it comes to your SEO strategy are “position zero” and “featured snippets.”
People tend to believe that position zero and featured snippets are the same thing, but that is not the case. Position zero is a location on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), while a featured snippet is a format in which information can appear.
In a featured snippet, an excerpt from a webpage comes before the listing rather than after it. They can be seen either below paid ads but above the organic search results or on the right hand side- as in this example.
It’s Google’s way of giving its users quick answers to their search queries. When a featured snippet appears at the very top of the SERP it is described as occupying position zero. This means it is the first thing a user will see and the most likely link they will click on.
Featured snippets come in the following formats:
- Paragraphs– By far the most common featured snippet is a 40 to 60 word block that explains the answer to a search query
- Lists – A bulleted list of steps explaining how to achieve the search query – Recipes and other types of how-to content often appear as numbered lists of steps
- Tables– Sometimes Google will extract information from a page in table form such as a conversion chart for cups to ounces
- Videos – For some queries, Google may provide a video – once clicked, the video will play right in the search results
Why do you want to reach position zero?
When people ask questions online, they want answers as quickly as possible. If the information they are seeking pops up right in front of them, they aren’t going to look any further.
Typically a featured snippet is extracted from one of the top-ranking pages for that search query and includes that page’s title and URL. That’s why occupying position zero can boost visits, click-throughs, and conversions.
As well as growing traffic to your website and most importantly – sales, position zero establishes brand expertise. When your company provides Google’s definitive answer to a question, that makes a powerful statement.
Top Tip: Featured snippets are used as voice search results. As voice search becomes more common in 2023 this could be a helpful boost.
Aiming for position zero in 2023
How can you get your content ranked in these coveted spots in the new year?
Identify Position Zero Opportunities
Identify opportunities to land position zero. Not every search result has a featured snippet, which can be a good place to start.
Find keyword phrases that have a featured snippet you can aim to replace or phrases/questions that lend themselves well to featured snippets.
It can be helpful to start with keywords you already rank well for. Most featured snippets come from high-ranking results, so you can aim to optimize your popular content.
Create content Google favors for featured snippets
Google favors certain types of content for featured snippets. These types of content are more easily picked up and shown to the user. Aim to include:
- Simple answers to who, what, when, where, why questions
Create great content that helps users
When it comes to successful SEO, there aren’t any shortcuts. You need to produce quality content that helps people. Aim for long-form, evergreen content that thoroughly explores your topic and directly answers the question in your chosen keyword phrase.
Top Tip: Google uses latent semantic indexing (LSI), which means it understands how words relate. Avoid keyword stuffing and use related key phrases and synonyms to prove understanding.
Remember, you are no longer aiming for number one. In the world of SEO in 2023, it’s all about reaching position zero.
if you would like help with your content strategy and SEO in 2023, give us a call 888 243 3470