Ranking at Position Zero – How To Dominate Google Featured Snippets

By vishy | SEO

Aug 20

The search featured snippets is the new position #0 organic search result. 

Google Search "featured snippets" are a massive opportunity that content creators are using to get massive Click-Through-Rates in the SERPs and drive massive amounts of traffic to your site.

Featured snippet results are now showing up more and more at the top position in the SERPs for a large number of search queries.

It seems like Google is moving towards providing quick and brief answers within its SERPs to users - using Search Snippets.

In this post I will explain exactly what a featured snippet is, and how you can take advantage of it to rank ahead of your competition on page one.

What does a Featured Snippet look like?

Search snippets appear when people ask queries that are seen as questions by Google.

Here's an example of what a featured snippet looks like....

As you can see from the example above...

  • people get the answer they are looking for in brief, without visiting your site.
  • If they want to read more - then they just click right through and land on your site to consume the entire content.
  • These results are almost like a sneak preview of content from your site embedded directly inside the SERPs in a short summary.
  • They display a quick summary of content from your page, your page title and link to your site.

Get The Unfair Advantage of Ranking at #0

The search featured snippets are also called by many as Ranking at Position #0

However, because not many people still know how to get to this spot effectively, they're a great way to outrank your competitors.

The only pre-condition and requirement before you attempt to get to position #0 is that your page has to already be already ranking somewhere on page 1.

In other words, you need to be already found somewhere on the top 10 listings - preferably in the top 5 to 7 spots.

If you are, then - doing a sereis of simple tweaks, will jump your rankings right to position #0.

Just follow the simple formula here!

This is Better than Ranking at the #1 Spot!

When your page gets gobbled up by Google to appear in a Search snippet - you get listed in a giant block right on top, that gives you massive visibility as compared to any other listing on the page.

In addition, your site is also listed as a regular result down the page.

So, you effectively get listed in two places on page 1 - with Rank #0 being a huge block of space.

Featured Snippets should NOT be confused with the Knowledge Graph listings

Knowledge Graphs do not appear within the organic SERPs, but rather appear on the rights side of the SERPs, shows as under.

Here is an example of a Knowledge Graph listing...​

When are featured snippets displayed?

Featured snippets are triggered by searches that ask a question.

However, for the query to show a search snippet result there should have already been enough search queries similar to it by users in the past.

So, if the query IS of a question type - but, it is a "never seen before question query"... that is - Google has never seen anything like it, or similar to it, in the past - then you wont see a search snippet result for it... or at least not just yet.

And, if over timeenough people perform a similar question based search query and the query volume builds up over time - then Google will find the answer - and eventually start showing a search featured snippet at the top of the results for that question query and any similar queries.

Examples of Question Queries

Here are some some examples of queries that trigger the search featured snippet result...

– Who….?
Who is the best poker player?
 
– What…?
What is the best plugin for backups in wordpress?
 
– Why…?
Why do birds migrate?
 
– Does…?
Does the sun rise in the east?
 
– Can….?
Can an atom be destroyed?
 
– How…?
How do I tie a knot?
 
– Are…?
Are crocodiles amphibians?
 
– Is….?
Is it safe to buy bitcoin?
 
– Do…?
Do I get a tax rebate for a donation I made?
 
– Was…?
Was the moon landing real?

How does Google manage to do this?

Google is using Rank brain to gather the intelligence. Rank brain uses seed data and machine learning (deep-learning) to look for patterns of information and facts.

With the Hummingbird algorithm - Google has already has built "entities" around topics and they have already built "entities" for websites as well.

Google understands the questions and the AI part of the algorithm uses the entity databases (that they have built over a period of time) - to find the correlations between them - to serve you the rich snippet result that answers your query right on top!

Its now a relatively simple ​task for Google to match the question based queries with theses entities - if a pattern match appears.

Google is using natural language spoken queries (just as though you would talk to an engine asking it to find something).

How to use this to your advantage

Since Google AI is looking for patterns inside the page (its just following a specific set of parameters it looks for) - if your page can feed it this pattern, Google will rank you right on top in the featured snippet.

All you need to know - is how to give Google the exact same formula it is looking for in your page!

You can do this by constructing your page in a particular manner, by placing the answer to the question query that you are trying to rank for - in a set manner on your page, in a pattern that matches specific content and code structure.

  • If you create the content block on the page exactly with the formula I will talk about - then Google will recognize the pattern, and rank your page in the top spot at position zero!

The First Step - figure out what the "Question" is.

What is the actual question people have in their minds when they search? Although a bit tricky, the result is fairly easily achievable.

The very first step - is that you need to think of users typing in "questions" in the Google search - that you must answer the question.

And, then all you really need to do is "answer the search query" that people type in.

Finding the related question that people have in their minds when they search - may be a bit tricky to grasp at first.

When people type a query into Google - it really is a question they are asking in your minds, right?

You need to "discover this question" for that query.

To understand how to structure your content on your site (using the formula I give you) - you need to first think of the queries people will type into Google - AND what those queries would look like if they were fully written questions.

You need to think of queries as questions being asked.

Ask yourself - what really is the question a person is asking with his query?

Lets look at an example -

A query like this...  best plugin for backups wordpress

Is really someone asking the question... what is the best wordpress plugin for backups?

Now, all you need to do is answer this question, by structuring and adapting your answer (content and code on your page) to this question.

Even though people just punch in a search query you need to map it to a question that is in their mind.

You need to figure out what that question is as a first step - and then construct your page as an answer to it in a specific structure that I will talk about shortly.

Examples of Search Queries (and Questions)

Even a simple keyword search query, can be made out into a question that is in the mind of a user when they type their query into the search box.

Here's an example...

Here's another example...

A query like this... 

online marketing ideas plumber

Can really be thought of as the user actually asking the following question...

what are some marketing ideas for plumbers online?

And, one more example...

Understanding more Complex Queries

More complicated keyword queries, may be a little more difficult to figure out, because people mostly type in shorthand type brief queries - instead of actually "talking" out a naturally spoken query type search.

Here's an example...

- side effects vaping long term

can really be thought of as...

- what are the side effects of vaping in the long term?

Multiple Questions from Queries

Some Search Queries can actually be thought of as being derived from multiple questions in the minds of different users.

This implies that a keyword query could be interpreted into logically having more than one question.

For example...

- python course discount code

can be seen as, arising from the question...

- What is the python course discount code?

OR

- Can you list some python course discount codes?

So which question do you pick to base your answer on your page?

To decide which question you should use to create your answer on your page - is actually quite simple.

As a rule of thumb you should always pick the question that has multiple answers to it. 

Why?

Because, Google is favoring questions that have multiple answers to them, and is "seeing" the query that is asking the question with multiple answers - rather that the question that has one answer.

So, Google favors pages that have content that gives multiple form of answers - because it has already picked the question that demands multiple answers.

The Magic Formula

Question + Answer = Search Featured Snippet

How to get Google to Accept Your Page for the Search Featured Snippet

Google's Rank Brain (Artificial Intelligence) is searching for specific patterns within pages that meet with and match its requirement to get into the featured snippets.

So, if you want to get into the featured snippet - you will need to answer the questions, with specific patterns on your site.

You can do this by presenting your content in a particular format (that I talk about below) and with specific HTML code that the Google AI eats up and locks into!

The content, that answers the question should appear together in one content unit sandwiched by the code I give you below.

Note that...

  • The Answer can be anywhere on the page. It doesn't have to be on the top or bottom etc.
  • The content on your entire page should be relevant to the term
  • The answer to the question, that you want to rank for should be put together and structured all in one unit that is laser focused and placed all together in one specific spot on your page.

Obviously, you should have all the other on-page optimization elements covered at the very basics. If you need help, you can read my post on How To Do An SEO Audit. Although, the post is about an overall SEO Audit - I cover on-page elements very extensively. You may even download the ebook version.

The On-Page Structure Google is Looking For

So what do these structures that you insert in the page with the answer to the question look like?

Google understands multiple content structures on pages (with the related answers) so it can treat them as units providing the answers for search featured snippets.

Below is a list of FIVE key structural elements within which Google seeks answers to be embedded if the page is to rank in the Featured Snippet area.

Paragraphs

Enter your text here...

The Code for Paragraph Unit

<H2>Answer to the Keyword question</H2>
<P>
You need to give your answer to the question with the keyword in it. You should include trigger words, facts and statemtns you can find that support your answer. You should typically have around 100 words in your answer.
</P>
<P><IMG SRC="http://yousite.com/keyword.jpg"; ALT="keyword" /></P>

 

Table

The Code for Table Unit

<H2>The Answer to the Question Here</H2>
<TABLE>
<THEAD>
<TR>
    <TH>Name</TH><TH>Description</TH><TH>Info</TH>
</TR>
</THEAD>
<TBODY>
    <TR><TD>1. Item A</TD><TD>description for item A</TD><TD>other info of item</TD></TR>
    <TR><TD>2. Item B</TD><TD>description for item A</TD><TD>other info of item</TD></TR>
    <TR><TD>3. Item C</TD><TD>description for item A</TD><TD>other info of item</TD></TR>
</TBODY>
</TABLE>
<P><IMG SRC="http://yousite.com/keyword.jpg" ALT="keyword" /></P>

Ordered List

The Code for Ordered List

<H2>The Answer to the Question Here</H2>
<OL>
<LI>This is an answer to the question that was queried with keyword</LI>
<LI>Put another answer to the question here</LI>
<LI>Do include trigger words, LSI, facts, statements etc.</LI>
<LI>You should have at leaqst 4 items in the list but try to have as many as 7 or more </LI>
</OL>
<P><IMG SRC="http://yousite.com/keyword.jpg"; ALT="keyword" /></P>

Unordered list

The Code for Unordered List

<H2>The Answer to the Question Here</H2>
<UL>
<LI>This is an answer to the question that was queried with keyword</LI>
<LI>Put another answer to the question here</LI>
<LI>Do include trigger words, LSI, facts, statements etc.</LI>
<LI>You should have at leaqst 4 items in the list but try to have as many as 7 or more </LI>
</UL>
<P><IMG SRC="http://yousite.com/keyword.jpg"; ALT="keyword" /></P>

Pragraphs Hierarchy

This is the most complicated one but the most powerful of the content structures for rich snippets.

The Code for Paragraphs Hierarchy

<H2>Answer to the Keyword question</H2>
<H3>Answer #1 to the question</H3>
<P>Explain your answer #1 with trigger words</P>
<H3>Answer #2 to the question</H3>
<P>Explain your answer #2 with trigger words</P>
<H3>Answer #3 to the question</H3>
<P>Explain your answer #3 with trigger words</P>
<P><IMG SRC="http://yousite.com/keyword.jpg"; ALT="keyword" /></P>

Some Tips...

  • Images are not required for each of the units above - but they really help a lot!
  • How to do xyz - type queries are very good for list. All you need to do is just answer the question in steps.
  • Make sure to include a list 1, 2, 3, 4 and it will work very well! Google favors the list type of answer over any other answer block type.
  • Pricing tables are good for comparing things
  • Just answer the question naturally and you are good! That is what you need to remember.
  • Answer the query in the format that is most natural to the question. Answer like a human would!
  • You can place the image anywhere in the structure.- image ideal aspect ratio is 3:4 (think portrait orientation)
  • Image size / width should be 1000 pixels. While this is high, it is favored.

The Featured Snippet Formula

The entire formula for ranking in the featured snippets really comes down to this structure...

  • Have a main headline that answers the keyword
  • Then write the full answer that comes within the content of the structure
  • Place an image with the keyword in the file name.

Following this is really easy. Remember you have to already be on Page 1 for the keyword search, to use this technique. It works wonders and I've ranked several client sites on the featured snippet with just this ste-by-step method.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you want the ebook version with source code snippets - please make sure to sign up below. 

I will also be adding more advanced versions of this method. If you want to be updated, please make sure you optin.

As always - happy to help with any question and would love to hear your feedback!

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About the Author

” Do, or do not. There is no try.” – So that’s my favorite quote (for now at least). I dabble in all things tech, although I work a lot with SEO, Internet Marketing, eCommerce, eLearning, SAAS… yada yada yada the list goes on.

If you like what you read, just sign up. You never know what secrets of the universe I reveal when I’m down a couple of spicy woks.

Leave a Comment:

(6) comments

Jenny

Vishy .. you continue to impress with your posts 🙂 wow! I just learnt how to crush my competitors. This is like FREE traffic. The steps are pretty solid, and I’ve heard rumors about this method, but never really had access to the code and system to make it happen. I’ve seen some of what other competition was doing in my niche but never could really figure out the whole search snippets / featured snippets thing! NOW I CAN! Thanks 🙂

Reply
    vishy

    Thanks Jenny 🙂

    Reply

Very useful information here.
I am seeing many Zero positions for review keywords. How to do that ?

Reply
    vishy

    I’ll be writing a post for that shortly. Make sure you optin to get the alert!

    Reply
Dave

Hello Yeti!

Great post but I have one question 🙂

On one forum (let’s skip the name) you wrote that “there’s also actually a layer of sites ranking in search snippets algorithm that is invisible (think of it existing behind the SERPs) but can be revealed.”

How we could reveal it? Is there a way to do that?

Thanks,
Dave.

Reply
    vishy

    Hi Dave – that is an advanced technique that I will reveal shortly. Just make sure you sign up on my list. I may do some video training shortly. See you around hopefully 🙂 cheers!

    Reply
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