Yes, there is such a thing as ranking #0 for a keyword.

That 0th position in the search engine results pages (SERPs) is also known as the featured snippet.

What's a Featured Snippet?

A featured snippet appears at the very top of the SERPs as a box.

While other results (excluding ads) in the results list display the title of the page plus a brief description, a featured snippet displays a larger segment of the content itself.

In a nutshell, a featured snippet gives Google users the ability to get a bird's-eye glance at the content before clicking on the link.

If you want to see an example of a featured snippet, just head over to Google and search for "how to cure bacon." The result at the top of the SERPs is a featured snippet.

You won't see that result if you conduct that same search on your smartphone, though. Google isn't fully supporting featured snippets on mobile platforms right now.

Give that one some time, though. Google is obsessed with mobile support so you'll likely see it in the near future.

How to Land a Featured Snippet

So how can you get a featured snippet?

Unfortunately, it's easier said than done.

You'll have to do some SEO work. The good news is that even if you don't achieve rank #0, the work you do will likely give you a nice bump in the SERPs.

So even if you don't succeed, you still win.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to rank #1 to hit rank #0.

In fact, many featured snippets are extracted from pages that rank #2 through #5 in the SERPs.

Why? Apparently, it's because Google values relevance over rank when it comes to featured snippets.

So if content that ranks #5 is more relevant for a particular search term than anything above it, Google will use that content to create the featured snippet.

So how can you create content that's more relevant than anything else at the top of the SERPs? For the answer to that, read on.

Get to the Point

One of the best ways to demonstrate relevance is by getting straight to the point in your content.

Don't beat around the bush. Don't get sidetracked. Just give your readers exactly the information that you promised them in the title.

Follow that advice and you'll find that Google's algorithm can more easily parse your sentences. When that happens, Google is likely to give you relevance points.

And that can land you a featured snippet.

Give Readers an Upside Down Pyramid

Another way to show that your content is relevant is by writing in an "inverted pyramid" style. That's a technique often used by journalists.

To use the inverted pyramid style, structure your content so that you give your audience a summary at the beginning and then offer more details throughout the piece. That's helpful to readers because they can get the gist of the article up-front, and then glean the specific info they need by reading on.

Use Longform Content

There are already demonstrated SEO benefits to longform content. It can also help you rank for position #0.

Longform content is content that's at least 1,200 words in length (but really, we see posts over 2,000 words rank the best in Google).

That may seem like a lot, but remember you're competing with other people to get a featured snippet.

"A lot" is required in this case.

Just be certain that you're not writing words only so that you can fill up a quota. Produce longform content where every word counts, not just for the sake of producing longform content.

Do Some Keyword Research

If you're already practicing good SEO, then you're probably already doing keyword research. Now, it's time to put some of that research to work so you can snag a featured snippet.

Use SEMRush or a similar tool to determine which keywords are relevant to your brand but aren't very competitive. Then, start cranking out content for those keywords.

With just a bit of keyword research, you might find some terms that are easy to rank for. Produce some great content relevant to those terms and you might hit position #0.

Answer Questions

Finally, answer questions.

Google loves to put the answer to questions in the featured snippet box. You can do a lot to get your page in that box if it answers a question that people are likely to ask on Google.

In fact, it's a great idea to make the title of your content the question itself. Then, ask the question within the content as well.

Of course, you'll also want to provide the answer to that question.

Wrapping It Up

You'll have to make an effort to rank for position #0, but it will be worth it.

Your page will be at the very top of the SERPs, it will stand out from the other organic links, and you'll gain some prestige because Google is highlighting your content as an authoritative source. There is a lot more to this topic, but these basics should get you started.

Published on: Mar 23, 2017