How to Rank For Position 0 And Become a Featured Snippet on Google
If you are looking to grow your business, you know that prime real estate in the Google search results is highly competitive. A great way to gain visibility is to strategically target “position 0” on Google’s search pages, or what we also refer to as a “featured snippet”.
The short summaries at the top of search results have higher click through rates than organic results listed below and give quick and easy digestible answers to the user’s question. But you need to stay up to date on Google’s features and know how they work in order to rank for them.
So what exactly are featured snippets and how can you optimise your website to rank for position 0? The Anchor Digital team has created a short guide that’ll help you boost conversions and thrive in a digital world, offering some of the key findings from our day-to-day work.
What are Featured Snippets?
As a regular user of Google Search, chances are you’ve already come across hundreds of the little answer boxes that pop up just below the search bar after you hit the search button.
If you, for example, are asking the search engine “what is a featured snippet?” Google will not only have browsed the web within milliseconds and come up with 8.6 million results fitting your request, but it will also have determined which one is most likely to answer the search query.
Google usually pulls featured snippets right from the content that’s already ranking on top of page one of search results, but it can also pull them from lower-ranking pages. However, Ahrefs determined that 99.58 percent of featured snippets are pages already ranking in the top 10 SERPs.
The lucky winner appears before all other organic results, visually distinctive, occupying a lot of real estate. The featured snippet contains the URL and page title, along with an appetizer of the page’s content that is hopefully answering the question input into Google.
Which of course, we refer to as “snippet” or “position 0”. This is what it could look like:
What are Common Types of Featured Snippets?
Not all featured snippets are alike. There are three common types, including the paragraph type shown above, as well as lists and table snippets featured on top of organic search results.
With 82 percent of featured snippets, paragraph snippets are most common, followed by numbered and bulleted list snippets with 10.8 percent, and table snippets in 7.3 percent. These formats never overlap but all three sometimes show images.
Google’s Featured Snippet – List Version
Google’s Featured Snippet – Table Version
How to Land a Featured Snippet And Why You Should Care
Featured snippets are not an entirely new trick in the pockets of SEO specialists. On the contrary: they have been part of Google best practices for years. But recent updates changed which content is selected and how the snippets appear in the search results, putting position 0 and its opportunities in the spotlight once more.
Google detects which site directly answers the user’s question and features it as a snippet at the top of the Google search page above the organic search results – just after paid search listings.
If you want your page to be featured in said position 0, you’ll have to know which terms have these snippets, what the user is trying to get from this specific query, how to optimise your page and create content that matches the search intent. As you’re moving on, you will also have to monitor and adjust your strategy to make sure that you’re actually ranking for the chosen keyword.
But let’s have a look at it step-by-step.
How to Optimise For Featured Snippets
- Conduct proper keyword research
- Create informative content that answers multiple questions at once
- Write shorter paragraphs around 52 words each
- Use videos and images to enrichen your content
- Find out what works for your competitors
- Monitor your progress
Landing a featured snippet isn’t rocket science, but it does require thoughtful research and methodological planning. If you do follow our every advice, chances are, Google will recognise your efforts.
1. Do Your Keyword Research
We’ve talked about optimising keywords before and you’re probably already rocking it – So we won’t be going too much into detail this time. But for anyone who’s new to SEO, we will emphasize it once again: When you’re starting out, you need to do some keyword research.
They’re the pillar of the work you’ll be doing next. Hopefully, you’re already using one or two of the fantastic keyword tools out there. If not, it’s never too late to jump on the train.
Once you find out what keywords you and your competitors are ranking for, you’ll be able to come up with a set of questions around those keywords.
2. Create Content to Answer Questions
Studies suggest that questions are most likely to bring up featured snippets, which means you need to be able to answer how, what, when, where, why, or who in your content. And we’re being quite literal.
Be as direct as possible as you continue to answer those questions. When trying to rank for position 0, relay the question in your copy: Type the question first, then give a concise answer. You may then continue on to provide more detailed information and explanations.
In order to create the content that will get you to position 0, you need to know your audience’s intent. So try and put yourself in their shoes. What questions are they trying to answer?
Hot Tip: Add a Q&A section to your site that answers related questions in a neat format in order to earn featured snippets.
3. Optimise Your Content
Quantity and visual organisation of your content are the keys to success. According to SEMrush, 40-50 words are the perfect amount of words for a featured snippet. But keeping the length of your paragraphs in mind is not quite enough.
You’ll also want to make sure to use headers to break up sections. We use different sized headings (H2, H3 and H4) to organise information.
Write using the inverted pyramid style, putting the essential and most attention-grabbing elements first, followed by explanatory information. What works for journalists, does a great job in SEO, too.
4. Use Videos And Images to Enrichen Your Content
Videos and images not only help us understand and remember information, but have proven to increase click-through rates. We highly recommend adding transcripts to facilitate Google’s understanding of the content, in order to consider them for featured snippets.
5. Find out What Your Competitors are Doing
A quick way to identify what competitors are listing for is having a look at the “people also ask” option related to the specific search query. Otherwise, as we mentioned before, use tools such as SEMrush to find out what featured snippets and keywords are ranking for and optimise your content for the same words and topics, including keyword variations.
What Value Do Featured Snippets Have?
- Featured snippets boost your click-through rate and brand awareness.
- Position 0 results give you the opportunity to provide immediate answers and instant gratification to users.
- Putting emphasis on your organic SEO efforts can help you save money on paid search.
- Featured snippets are great for businesses with a target customer base that has a lot of FAQs
In a Nutshell
While challenges still exist, featured snippets seem to be the SEO pot of gold. Focusing on the actual content on your page, instead of mere link metrics, featured snippets can provide fantastic solutions to all those outgunned by the competition in terms of backlinks.
And although there may not be a guaranteed path to success, sticking to our SEO fundamentals and having a thoughtfully planned and executed strategy will go a long way.