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When you perform a search on Google, you will notice that the first result displayed is in a box and contains a more extensive meta description than the other results. This result is known as position zero, which refers to a richer result, highlighted by Google in relation to the others.
What is the purpose of this position zero?
Google’s role is to satisfy the user by giving a quick, relevant and clear answer to their question. The position zero therefore allows it to indicate to the user what it considers to be the most appropriate answer to his/her question.
An SEO opportunity?
This position zero offers great exposure to the page that is located there. Indeed, Internet users naturally favour the first results for their search. Therefore, to stand out from the competition and to be able to identify as a leader in the field, this position is ideal.
The only negative aspect of this position is that the direct display of the answer to their question does not encourage readers to click on the link to access the page. However, it is possible to counter this risk by anticipating the second intention of the Internet user, which would be to click on a link answering one of the “People also asked” questions. Thus, by providing the answer to one of the questions underlying the user’s search, you can position yourself in these “People also asked” which is just below the zero position, and thus double your chances of your site being visited.
Types of information displayed by Google in position zero
The Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base built from aggregated data found on trusted sites. Knowledge Cards, also called Answer Boxes, are extracted from this database, and give a general overview of the subject searched by the user. They offer structured information in the form of a card, with links for easy further research.
A Knowledge Card is usually displayed in response to the questions “who?”, “where?”, and “what?
As their name indicates, these answers are displayed directly in the zero position, without necessarily displaying their sources. Quick answers are often found following a search for the weather, the time, sports results, a celebrity, a definition, or even calculations.
The Google OneBox is sometimes displayed in the zero position. This OneBox gathers elements that are usually found in a Google tab, such as “news” or “shopping“. These are often images, videos, or articles on current events.
Featured Snippets, also known as optimised snippets, are a summary of the answer found on a page, accompanied by a link to that same page. They usually contain a title, a concise answer, and a URL.
Featured Snippets can be displayed in response to certain types of questions:
- What: the Featured Snippet gives a definition of the term searched for, provided that the term concerned is specialised, otherwise a Knowledge Card is displayed
- Why: only sites with the best explanation will have the chance to be in position zero
- How: in general, the answer to a “how?” question is too long to be displayed in full. The snippet then starts the answer, which encourages users to click on the link
- When: Featured Snippets can also be used for time-based questions
- How much: this is the last type of answer that can generate a Featured Snippet
The advantages of these Featured Snippets:
- Not only do they increase the visibility of a website, but during a voice search, these Featured Snippets are the only results that can be read
- Featured Snippets highlight URLs that are not usually in the first position (in 70% of cases), which gives visibility to sites that usually have less of it
How do you get into position zero?
There are various criteria that need to be met to achieve this position zero:
- The page should preferably be in the first results page of Google: according to a study by Ahrefs, 99.58% of pages in zero position are ranked in the 1st page of Google
- It should have a below-average loading time: to achieve this, you can, for example, compress your images as much as possible with the Squoosh tool. Pages in the zero position also contain fewer images and videos than the standard results
- The content should be of high quality and contain a short answer to the user’s question (about 50 words)
- The content should be unique, relevant, well-written, and preferably around 1000 words
- The keyword concerned by the search must be present in all strategic sections (title, h1, h2…)
Tools for analysing this position zero
Semrush : know if one of your pages is displayed in position zero
To determine if one of your pages is displayed in position zero, you can use the Semrush software by following these steps:
- Click on Organic Search > Positions
- Apply a filter to display a Featured Snippet (what, how, why…)
- Add a filter to retain only the first five positions
- Click on the SERP (Search Engine Result Page) preview to see the Featured Snippets
Google Search Console: check the impact of the position zero on traffic
Google Search Console is one of several tools that can help you assess the impact of the position zero on traffic:
- Click on Search Traffic > Search Analytics
- Select a 90 day period for your study
- Filter the list of keywords identified by Semrush
- Identify the traffic spikes, then compare them with the SERP history in Semrush. This will allow you to identify peaks that correspond to the appearance of a Featured Snippet
- Measure the height of these peaks to estimate the traffic differential that your Featured Snippet enjoys
Please note that Google Search Console only gives access to data from the last 90 days. If you don’t see a spike in traffic during this period, you can use Google Analytics to get previous data.
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