While organic rankings on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) remain undeniably important in terms of the discoverability of your brand and ability to drive traffic to your site for ToFu to BoFu content, search engines like Google and Bing have expanded both the number of Search PPC ads as well as what are called Position Zero results, further pushing traditional organic content results down the page while also decreasing the number of page one organic results that will display.
Given we all know that the best place to hide a body is on the second page of Google, getting your content to rank and display in those position zero SERP results that show up above organic content links is of paramount importance.
What follows is an overview of position zero, the types of position zero results for which you can optimize as well as some tips and tricks to give your content the best chance of earning a position zero SERP placement.
What is Position Zero in Search Results?
Position zero sits between the paid search and organic search results on the SERP page. These results within position zero can come in the form of Featured Snippets, Knowledge Panel results, and multi-media results. The placement above the traditional organic rankings means position zero results contain the very first non-PPC results search engine users will see (assuming their query contains content the search engine has deemed suitable for position zero).
Types of Featured Snippet Results
There are four types of featured snippet results that can populate position zero for which you can create and optimize cross-format content. They are:
Featured Snippet Paragraphs: Questions, Answers & Definitions:
Search engines like Google have gotten smart enough to recognize when a search phrase is seeking a definition to a term or an answer to a question, and to serve up the best answer in paragraph form.
Featured Snippet Lists:
Somewhat a self-defining term, lists can include both ordered and unordered results providing steps in a process, category includes, or other factoids displayed in numbered or bulleted form.
Featured Snippet Tables:
An effective visualization of data, tables show up as a featured snippet for queries seeking multi-variable lists, variable fluctuations over time and other results that will display values similar to those you’d find in a spreadsheet in both hierarchical and unordered form.
Featured Snippet Videos:
It’s no surprise that Google (the largest search engine) will display prominently video results from YouTube (the second largest search engine) on their SERP page, and video results are often served up where they represent a relevant match with a search query.
Video results are often included within position zero results for queries seeking a definition or answers to a question in addition to the answers within a paragraph snippet.
– – –
While the page with the highest authority has the best chance or ranking for each and every type of featured snippet result, smart content optimization aimed at winning a featured snippet can often win the day.
Knowledge Panel Results in Position Zero
Knowledge Panel results display on the right side of the SERP page and contain detailed information, usually including both links as well as multi-format content to provide information on a person, a company, a place or other things where such information in applicable.
For those of us marketing a business, the Knowledge Panel results in Google can include information from Wikipedia, your Google My Business listing, multi-media results from your website and other “owned” channels and other content.
Individuals associated with a business have the opportunity to verify their identity and association to claim the knowledge panel associated with their business and manage some of the information displayed within.
Difference Between Featured Snippets vs. Rich Results
While featured snippets display results within position zero aiming to provide a responsive search result in the form of a paragraph, list, table or video, rich results (sometimes called rich snippets) are simply enhanced versions of organic results.
Rich Results can display anything from featured images within a piece of content to reviews of a business. In both cases the search engine is often serving content pulled from the structured data of a web page.
Creating Content Optimized for Position Zero Ranking
Like any SEO task, optimizing to show up in position zero results starts with good old-fashioned keyword research. In this case a combination of keyword planning as well as time spent reviewing competitive SERP results and any existing position zero content with an eye toward:
- The page and domain authority of current position zero source content.
- Opportunities to rank by optimizing and/or creating types of content not currently ranking withing featured snippet or other results.
- Prospects for creating or optimizing content to display in multiple types of position zero results.
- Opportunities to update or otherwise improve upon existing zero position content with your own.
- Incorporation of content markup with structured data as well as schema.org where applicable.
- Ways to incorporate elements within your content that is responsive featured snippet results (definitions, answers to common questions, semantic SEO optimization, etc.).
How Do These Results Affect Web Traffic?
Featured snippets have a variety of effects on web traffic, all of which should be viewed as positive.
While they have certainly contributed to the uptick in zero-click search results, those where the person searching did not click on any results, those in B2B aiming to drive traffic with purchase intent may welcome weeding out low-intent traffic while still gaining the visibility and cache that comes with the featured position.
When served on mobile, 50% of the screen is taken up by the average featured snippet results, and, with voice search results gaining an ever-increasing share of search volumes, it’s also important to note that voice assistants will often share featured snippet content as their “here’s what I found” response to certain types of voice queries.
Worth noting that much of the work required to rank within a featured snippet and show up in position zero, from keyword research to content optimization to SEO and other tasks, mirrors that which is required to rank well within traditional organic search rankings, and ranking within a zero position result will create a halo effect of its own for content capable of also ranking organically.
Own the SERP Page
Optimizing for position zero results is a must for any mature SEO strategy and an integral part of an equally strong Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy that aims to dominate across paid, position zero, and organic ranking opportunities on the SERP page.
Ledger Bennett excel at implementing SEO best practice across full-funnel content while implementing our 360° Search Discoverability Framework to ensure you own the SERP page for your cornerstone and high-purchase-intent signal keywords and phrases.
Ready to upgrade to a full-service B2B SEO Agency? Contact Ledger Bennett today to discover how our Media, Content and Web Development teams work together to effectively create and optimize omni-channel content to enhance discoverability, drive quality traffic at scale, and create measurable pipeline and revenue impact for your business.