Insight August 26, 2020

Everything You Need to Know About Position Zero


Position zero is a fairly new principle in search engine optimization (SEO) that can help businesses get a leg up on their competition. By properly optimizing your website, you will increase the visibility and credibility of your brand.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

SEO is the process of improving your website to not only increase the quantity of your web traffic, but also improve its quality through non-paid efforts.

At inferno, we describe SEO as the language your website uses to speak to search engines. It tells the search engines what the site is about and when it should be served on the search engine results page (SERP). This language involves both on-page and off-page elements, as well as backend metadata. The more optimized your site, the more likely it is to be served to searchers.

For most of the history of search engines, SERP position one was the gold standard. Depending on the complexity of the keyword and competition, this was virtually impossible for small businesses to achieve. In recent years, a newly coveted position – position zero – has arrived on the scene and attracted the attention of SEO specialists. Unlike position one, position zero offers more opportunities for small, local businesses to achieve this coveted rank.

What is Position Zero?

Position zero is an elevated organic ranking made up by featured snippets. Google defines featured snippets as “a special box at the top of your search results with a text description above the link.” These boxes give searches a quick glimpse of web copy filled with information related to their search.

Types of featured snippets:

  • Answers to questions
  • Instructions
  • Definitions
  • Comparisons
  • Price Breakdowns
  • “Bests” Lists
  • FAQs

The information provided in featured snippets comes in a variety of forms. It can be a paragraph, chart, bullet list or YouTube video.

In 2019, 23% of SERPs included a featured snippet. As voice search increases, position zero is even more important, as the featured snippet is often what’s read by virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa or Google Home.

Tips for Moving into Position Zero

You may be asking how to mark your page as one containing a featured snippet. Unfortunately, you can’t. Google makes that determination. However, there are some optimizations you can make as part of your SEO strategy that will make your page or post more likely to be chosen.

  • Optimize your content based on your audience. What questions are they commonly asking about your business? You can find some of this information in your Google Search Console, by practicing social listening, or by checking in with your sales team.
  • Do keyword research. Once you know what your audience is asking, dig into the keywords they’re using. This will help you generate a list of topics around which you can create content. This will not only increase your chances of appearing in position zero, but will also help your overall SEO by focusing your content creation efforts on high-value terms.
  • Write content that answers a question or explains a concept. Once you have some FAQs/topics in mind, create new content or optimize existing content to reflect information your audience is seeking.
  • Write digestible content. When creating a featured snippet, Google wants to give users a quick answer or explanation. Make sure you concisely answer the question and don’t write overly long paragraphs. Featured snippets are typically between 40 and 50 words.
  • Format wisely. Break up content using headers. This will allow Google to see what each section is about and potentially allow it to be used in multiple featured snippets. As a best practice, if a section is longer than 300 words, it needs a header.

Keeping up with the Google algorithm is a full-time job in itself. And while position zero certainly has some longevity, it’s not something businesses should rush to achieve without a plan in place. For many business owners, SEO can be a daunting, abstract idea. They know it is important and can lead to increased sales, but they don’t understand how to implement SEO strategy

Contact inferno today to discuss creating a strategy around your SEO efforts, including an SEO audit of your current website and recommendations for improvement.