In pursuit of better user experience, tech giant Google are now featuring special snippet blocks at the top of search results page (SERP). The featured snippet usually contains a summary of the answer the user has been looking for, which was extracted from a specific webpage plus a link to that page.
Because the featured snippet essentially outranks the first link given in SERPs, it’s aptly named by marketing experts as ‘position zero’.
Benefits of Grabbing the ‘Position Zero’ Spot
Since featured snippets directly answers the user’s inquiry, one might think that it could negatively affect the click-through-rate (CTR) of the webpage from which that answer was extracted. However, the obvious increase in visibility can lead to a significantly higher CTR at 8% and a whopping 677% improvement on organic revenue.
Currently, it’s also possible for a web page to grab both the zero and first positions, which effectively gives the site a higher online exposure. In a marketing perspective, nabbing the position zero in SERPs is highly desirable.
How are featured snippets chosen?
Featured snippets are considered unchartered territory by most SEO companies since it is not entirely clear how Google chooses the pages that rank zero. Furthermore, not every SERP has a featured snippet on it. The snippets are also not permanent as Google works to improve its programs to detect the most useful answer to an inquiry.
It should also be noted that your organic ranking has nothing to do with grabbing the featured snippet slot as it is entirely possible for websites that have lower organic rankings (but can still be found on the first page of the SERP) to land that coveted spot.
For the most part, Google actually has a list of candidates for the featured snippet. The candidates and the chosen snippet can change on a regular basis depending on Google’s enhanced algorithms.
Optimizing Your Page to Land a Featured Snippet Spot
Most of the featured snippets appeared on search inquiries that contained the phrases, “how to”, “how do”, “what is” and “how does”. In addition, featured snippets are usually presented in either text, list, image, chart, table, or graph format as these are more convenient to read for the user. Featured snippets are also fond of long-tailed queries, so even if the search query volume is not that substantial, it is still possible snatch that coveted spot.
If this is the case, then the only way to optimize your page is to showcase a content-rich page that answers frequently asked questions in a simple and direct way. For this reason, your choice of keywords and content structure will indeed play significant roles in landing that position zero slot.
This is where your hired SEO firm’s expertise on content marketing will be truly useful. The content’s quality as well as how it was presented can make or break your featured snippet candidacy. The bottom line is, your page must be consistently easy to read and understand. Remember, featured snippets’ ultimate goal is to further improve the user’s search query experience – that includes getting a fast, and information-rich article that directly answers the original query.
The Future of SERPs with Featured Snippets
For the most part, featured snippets are still appearing quite sporadically and suddenly when you make an inquiry. While it is still grossly underutilized, you have to assume that any development Google does from this day forward is dedicated to further enhance user experience.
For this reason, you can anticipate that Google will show more featured snippets in every future inquiry. That may mean you still have enough time to tweak your website and make its content more informative and user-friendly to increase your chances of getting the position zero slot.
How to Optimize Your Content for Google’s Featured Snippet Box, HubSpot.com
Featured snippets: Optimization tips & How to ID candidate snippets, SearchEngineLand.com