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Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 by Cynthia Freeney
Bruce Clay, the father of SEO, recently conducted SEO training at the Treehouse. The team is constantly working to learn new ways to refine our Contractor SEO skillset, in an ever changing world of online search. And one of the topics that was most discussed, was that of “Position Zero.”
Here we dig into what this actually is, and what you can do to help get your contractor brand to one of the best positions on the search results page.
Position zero is also referred to as rank zero or featured snippet. It’s a block of content served up along with search results in some informational queries, created as an attempt to provide relevant answers to these queries. One of the reasons why Google rolled out this feature was to help answer questions that were both typed or asked via voice, such as with Google Assistant. When you get your cell phone and ask “Hey Google, why is my basement wall leaking?” or any other such question, the Google algorithm will scout the web for a relevant, authoritative answer to your query. In voice searches, Google Assistant will read back to you the answer that was found in the featured snippet and cite the website where the content was found.
In typed searches, you will see something like this:
The reason why SEO specialists call it “position zero”, is because for a few months now, Google has been serving the featured snippet above all the regular organic search results, in response to search queries containing a question. Note that the featured snippet will not appear in all search results, only in some of the queries where the algorithm is able to understand that the intent of the person performing the search is to learn something. This is what we call an informational query. If instead of asking “do I need a sump pump?,” you search for “sump pumps for basement,” you will likely see results like the ones below, because the algorithm understands that your intent is likely to purchase a sump pump and not just to learn about them. This is what we call a transactional query.
Position zero results reach customers that are researching a particular topic. It will reach them whether they are searching on their desktop, mobile or voice, and it will provide relevant answers to their questions, giving you the opportunity to establish your company and brand as an industry authority. Furthermore, several studies conducted since the feature was rolled out show a substantial increase in click-through rate and organic traffic to sites featured in position zero.
Like everything that pertains to search engine optimization, getting your page to show up in position zero is far from being an exact science. Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula. With that being said, there are a few things that most featured snippets, or position zero results, have in common.
In this Moz.org article, Dr. Peter J. Meyers discusses two commonalities of featured snippets:
“First, you have to rank organically on the first page of results. Every Featured Snippet we've tracked also ranks on page one. Second, you need to have content that effectively targets the question.”
On January 22, 2020 Google rolled out yet another change that, according to them, is meant to de-clutter results. Now, websites that have content featured in position zero will not be shown for a second time in the first page of search results.
This is when things get tricky. Your website can rank in position zero, or on the first page of organic results. Not both any longer, with the most recent changes.
The world of search engines is ever-changing. Google dedicates a substantial amount of its time tweaking the algorithm in order to keep anyone from gaming the system. So, the work of SEO specialists is basically to experiment with different processes and see what works.
Luckily for our clients, the Treehouse has a dedicated team of SEO specialists working every day to find ways to increase your chances of ranking well in search results, including in position zero.
We have in-house programmers, designers and web developers building blazing-fast, eye-catching, search engine-friendly websites. We have link building and local search specialists ensuring consistency on all your local listings and increasing the portfolio of inbound links. We also have a team of content specialists to make your site as relevant and informative as possible.
All these efforts help increase the chances of your contractor website to rank and generate leads.
According to our Senior Web Content Specialist, Kristina McGovern, one of the greatest things you can do to help your website rank better is to consistently add relevant, local content. Treehouse clients have several widgets at their disposal, built into our system that, among other things, make it easy for clients to add content to their website.
As for the type of content that effectively targets the questions, Kristina, who has been studying the featured snippet since before it became known as “position zero”, observed that high-quality, highly-relevant blog posts have a good chance of ranking in position zero.
Our clients can use the Treehouse’s YouBlog blogging platform to add rich, informative, local content to their sites. In addition, our content specialists also write content for your website that talks about your services and is optimized for search engines. So even if you are not comfortable with blogging, the Treehouse’s content team is always making sure that your site has quality, relevant content.
For more helpful Digital Marketing and SEO tips especially developed to help Home Improvement Business Owners and their marketers, subscribe to the Treemendous Blog.