How to rank in position zero
Some call it position zero, some call it the answer box, Google calls it a featured snippet; whatever terminology you choose, the fact is that it’s doubled in prevalence in 2016 and has increased fivefold since it launched in 2014. If you can secure position zero, you stand a chance at achieving a 114% boost in click-throughs from organic search for high volume terms. Clearly, this is something law firms need to be focusing on for their campaigns. So let’s find out more about position zero and how to get there.
Since Google introduced featured snippets in 2014, they’ve become one of the holy grails of SEO.
Featured snippets are succinct answers to user queries displayed at the top of Google’s search results, occupying the coveted “position zero” in SERPs.
Unlike quick answers and knowledge panels, featured snippets use third-party information to answer queries and include the source page’s title and URL.
Featured snippets come in all shapes and sizes, including:
- Numbered lists
- Bulleted lists
- YouTube videos
The potential benefits of landing a featured snippet are huge:
- More traffic.
- Greater SERP visibility.
- A healthy boost to your credibility.
Voice search also leans heavily on featured snippets to answer user queries.
Also, because featured snippets aren’t necessarily plucked from the top result, you can sometimes edge out competitors on vital keywords.
Why fight over Position 1 when you can snipe Position 0?
Unfortunately, occupying position zero is easier said than done.
What we do know is that your content matters.
The brevity, formatting, and – most importantly – subject matter of your content all factor into whether Google considers your website snippet-worthy.
Voice search is here to stay, and it has hit the mainstream in a big way.
Voice search is also clearly on Google’s mind. Google made 10 big announcements at I/O 2017, and four of them involved Home and Google Assistant.
Voice search is also already having a big impact on SEO as we know it.
There’s strong evidence that voice search optimization is intricately connected to Google’s featured snippets, which occupy the coveted “position zero” in SERPs.
In other words, if voice search optimization isn’t already part of your SEO strategy, it’s time to fix that.
AI-Backed Speech Accuracy Is Now (Almost) on Par with Human Accuracy
In May 2015, Google’s Sundar Pichai announced that their speech recognition error rate was at 8 percent thanks to their investments in machine learning.
Now, according to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report, Google’s speech recognition is even better — their English word accuracy rate is now a staggering 95 percent, as of May 2017.
That number also just happens to be the threshold for human accuracy. Sure, it’s still slightly more error prone than typical human dialogue, but the gap is shrinking quickly.
Put into perspective, this means that Google’s AI-backed voice recognition has improved by 20 percent since 2013. And they’re still making “significant breakthroughs” in speech recognition, according to Pichai at I/O 2017. He says we’ll continue to see “error rates continue to improve even in noisy environments.”
How to Prepare for Voice Search in 2019 & Beyond
At its core, optimizing for voice search is similar to the SEO of yesteryear. You need to:
- Create robust, compelling content that answers your users’ most common questions and solves their pain points.
- Adopt long-tail keywords optimized for semantic search.
- Use Schema to mark up your content and tell search engines what your site’s about.
- And, for goodness’ sake, you must be optimized for mobile.
What might be different from your usual SEO strategy is that now you also need to pay special attention both to creating detailed answers to common questions and to answering simple questions clearly and concisely.
Brevity, context, and relevance are essential when optimizing for voice search.
A good strategy that’s already been adopted successfully by many websites is to:
- Create content or a webpage with a headline that asks a common question.
- Immediately after the headline, provide a succinct answer or definition to the question.
- Use the rest of the page to provide further elaborative detail on the topic.
The genius of this strategy is that the rich, robust webpage ultimately appeals to Google’s ranking algorithm, while the short-and-sweet information at the top of the page is optimized for voice search and might even become a featured snippet.
Would you like a Voice Search Ranking Report? Click Here and fill in the information and we will run a report along with recommendations on how to improve your Voice Search ranking.
Click on the link if you would you like to download the white paper “Position Zero Ranking-Voice Ranking SEO”
Edward Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A.
President and Managing Partner
ForLawFirmsOnly Marketing, Inc.
Ed can be reached at
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