Ahh, the Position Zero (P0) search result, coveted by SEOs everywhere. If you’ve ever used search engine optimization (SEO) to boost your rankings in search results, you understand the importance of earning P0 rankings. But what is Position Zero on Google, and why does it matter for your SEO strategy?
In this post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of the golden SERP spot to uncover what Position Zero means for your business. For a quick answer to why your site doesn’t rank for P0, enter your URL here! Keep reading or contact us to start ranking in Position Zero!
What is position zero (P0)?
Position Zero (P0) refers to the first Google search result that appears above organic SEO listings. Also known as a featured snippet, P0 aims to directly answer searchers’ questions, without needing to click the search result link.
Position Zero goes by several names, including:
- Rank Zero
- Featured Snippet
In this post, we’ll use those terms interchangeably to refer to the coveted search result spot.
Featured snippet example
To better answer, “what is position zero,” let’s look at a P0 result. If I search, “how do I get a passport,” the Position Zero result, located immediately after the paid ads, looks like this: The Position Zero result presents searchers with a direct answer to the query, with a step-by-step list of how to obtain a passport and a link to the USPS website to learn more. Now that we covered what Position Zero is and what a P0 search result looks like, let’s take a look at a short history of the P0 result.
History of position zero
Over the past few years, Google’s search landscape has continued to evolve to provide searchers with quick, valuable answers to their search queries. In an attempt to directly answer search questions, Google launched the Knowledge Graph, originally based completely on human-curated information from databases like Freebase and Wikidata. Searching the question, “who is the CEO of Apple,” yields this Knowledge panel or instant answer box, based on information from Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Taking things a step further, Google now uses the trillions of pages in its index to generate answers in real-time. Evaluating for relevance to the search query, Google launched Featured Snippets, which pull information directly from website copy. For example, searching, “how to write a check,” yields a P0 result from Huntington with a list of steps and link to their site for searchers to learn more.
But how does Google determine where to pull the information for Position Zero results — and how can you earn a spot? Keep reading to find out!
Where does P0 content come from?
When people search online, Google’s algorithms detect pages that answer searchers’ questions — and it displays the top results as featured snippets or Position Zero results. In addition to directly answering the search query, P0 results contain the URL and page title of the site containing the information.
If someone searches for information related to your business, products, or services, you want to rank in the Position Zero spot — and you can! Here’s why P0 is so important for your business.
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Why does P0 matter? Hint: It’s SEO gold
If you currently have an SEO strategy in place, you understand the importance of ranking at the top of search results. When you meet searchers at the top of results for keywords related to your business, you earn more clicks, leads, and ultimately revenue for your business.
Now, Position Zero lets you leverage top rankings — above the first position — to drive relevant traffic to your website. Let’s look at a few reasons why SEO matters for your SEO strategy and business goals.
Position Zero helps you occupy more SERP territory
First, earning a P0 spot allows your business to capture territory in the SERPs. With more information than traditional search results, P0 results take up more space on results pages, pushing competitors further down the page. P0 results allow your business to gain valuable exposure in SERPs, and they help searchers learn more about your business, products, and services.
Position Zero boosts your click-through rate (CTR)
It’s a well-known fact that the first SERP result receives the majority of clicks. And engaging Position Zero results allow you to leapfrog the first position to earn even more clicks and site traffic. While site owners have worried that direct answers would reduce clicks, research has shown the opposite, with P0 holders reporting a boost in click-through rates (CTR).
These clicks are the first step to earning more leads, conversions, and revenue — and they’re extremely valuable for businesses in any industry.
Position Zero results are essential for voice search
By 2020, voice searches will account for more than half of online searches. Since search engines use Position Zero information for voice search results, it’s essential to optimize your content for P0. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on valuable voice search traffic, leads, and revenue.
Position Zero results are becoming more prevalent
According to Search Engine Journal, over 12% of search results contain P0 results. If you’ve earned top rankings for your target keywords, don’t get comfortable. Position Zero results continue to steal SERP territory and traffic — and if you don’t optimize for P0, competitors will likely surpass you in search results.
As Position Zero results continue to gain prevalence, it’s more important than ever to optimize your site for P0 rankings. Wondering how to get started? Here’s a quick guide to ranking in Position Zero.
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How to rank in Position Zero: 7 types of P0-ranking content
Position Zero content takes on several formats — and if you are trying to achieve P0 rankings, you’ll want to add these formats to your content strategy.
Position Zero formats
Featured snippets typically include the following formats:
- Numbered and bulleted lists
In addition to adopting the content formats above, certain types of content work well for achieving Position Zero spots.
1. 5W answers (who, what, when, where, why)
Featured snippets exist to answer the 5W questions: Who, what, when, where, and why. If your content succinctly and accurately answers those questions, you’ll be more likely to appear in Position Zero — like this result for, “why is the sky blue.” Struggling to answer the 5Ws? Take a look at Google’s “People also ask” feature to uncover common questions related to a topic.
Then, you’ll want to ensure that you answer the question in a short paragraph or list, and dedicate the rest of your page to unpacking the topic more in-depth.
How-to searches are also prime for triggering P0 results. For example, the age-old search, “how to tie a tie,” yields the following P0 information. Many “how-to” searches yield P0 results with step-by-step instructions to guide searchers through the process.
In the example above, Real Men Real Style supplemented the numbered list with a handy graphic showing disgruntled tie-wearers exactly how to tie the perfect knot.
Definitions also work well for featured snippet takeovers. Searchers looking for definitions want quick answers — and P0 spots provide them with the information they need. This P0 result for “define hat trick” helps searchers score (see what I did there?) a snapshot of the term’s meaning.
Often, searchers want a quick comparison when deciding on brands or products to purchase. This P0 result for “Nike vs. Adidas” gives an overview of the competing brands with a link for searchers to learn more. It’s extremely easy to format this type of content too with lists, bullet points, or tables — all great for capturing the P0 spot.
5. Price/cost information
Searches related to price or cost also yield P0 results, which give searchers helpful breakdowns of how much they should expect to pay. Want to know how much it costs to vacation in Alaska? Here’s a quick estimate in the form of a Position Zero result — and you can click the link to view a custom price calculator.
Excuse me while I book a flight!
6. Top/best lists
Lists of the top or best products aid searchers in the purchase process — and you guessed it, they make great P0 results. Need to satisfy your sweet tooth? Peep this list of the “best chocolate brands.” Shout out to my fellow Hershey’s lovers!
7. Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
Not to be confused with frequently asked question pages (FAQs) that typically contain answers to a wide array of questions, PO FAQ content answers common questions about a particular topic. And it comes from pages that provide in-depth answers about topics like, “dairy-free options Ben & Jerry’s.” Dairy-free ice cream enthusiasts, no need to wonder any longer. Your beloved Ben & Jerry’s does indeed offer non-dairy options, and HuffPost is here to answer your burning questions.
Speaking of burning questions — now that we’ve answered your need-to-know “what is rank 0” questions, it’s time to get started optimizing for Position Zero.
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At WebFX, our featured snippet creation & optimization services, custom SEO strategies, and content marketing plans are designed to boost your performance in search results, so you can earn P0 spots for top keywords. Don’t take our word for it, though.