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Writing Content for Position Zero

Google intro­duced “fea­tured snip­pets” in 2017—and mar­keters have been chas­ing them ever since.

If you’re not famil­iar with fea­tured snip­pets, they rep­re­sent one of the most sig­nif­i­cant ele­ments on the Google SERP. A fea­tured snip­pet pro­vides users with a quick answer to their query, with­out requir­ing them to actu­al­ly click on a hyper­link. For exam­ple, if you do a Google search for 33rd Pres­i­dent of the U.S., Google will present you with an infor­ma­tion­al box with Har­ry S. Truman’s name and pic­ture with­in it. You don’t have to scroll through any actu­al search results for your ques­tion to be answered.

It’s obvi­ous why these quick-ref­er­ence list­ings are help­ful for search engine users—but why are they of such inter­est to mar­keters? Sim­ple: They rank in posi­tion zero on the SERP. That is, fea­tured snip­pets are dis­played before the search results themselves—making this prime online real estate.

And yes, there are ways you can write con­tent that gets your brand into posi­tion zero. It won’t be easy—but with the right strat­e­gy and the cor­rect type of con­tent, it’s an achiev­able goal.

Content That Ranks for Position Zero

Here are a few strate­gies for writ­ing con­tent that will land you in those fea­tured snip­pets.

Answer Simple, Factual Questions

Fea­tured snip­pets are most often used to present sim­ple answers to fac­tu­al ques­tions. Of course, some ques­tions are going to be way too neb­u­lous, sub­jec­tive, or com­pli­cat­ed for any answer to fit with­in a small Google search box. But if you can iden­ti­fy those basic ques­tions your audi­ence is asking—something as sim­ple as, well, who was the 33rd Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States?—you’re on the right track.

Of course, your users prob­a­bly aren’t look­ing for infor­ma­tion about for­mer Pres­i­dents, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t basic ques­tions you’re qual­i­fied to answer. For exam­ple, if you run an account­ing firm, you might answer ques­tions like:

  • Where do I get my income tax return forms?
  • When will my employ­er send my W-2?
  • What is the max­i­mum home mort­gage deduc­tion?

Iden­ti­fy the ques­tions your audi­ence is ask­ing, then write con­tent that both asks and answers them—as clear­ly as pos­si­ble.

Offer Instructions

Fea­tured snip­pers don’t just answer ques­tions. They explain how to do things. For exam­ple, recipes and step-by-step guides often find their way into posi­tion zero.

That’s def­i­nite­ly some­thing you can use to your advan­tage. Make sure the con­tent you cre­ate includes how-to guides and tuto­ri­als. Ensure that you for­mat with bul­let points or num­bered lists. Offer your exper­tise to readers—because remem­ber: Google is try­ing to offer its users help­ful, sub­stan­tive infor­ma­tion. If you can assist with that, you may get a posi­tion zero rank­ing.

Define Terms

A lot of peo­ple use Google as a dictionary—and one way you can get a posi­tion zero list­ing is to define some com­plex terms, in par­tic­u­lar terms that relate to your indus­try.

For exam­ple, a con­tent mar­ket­ing firm might devel­op an online glos­sary, where they define such terms as:

  • Pay-per-click ads
  • Enter­prise SEO
  • Google Ana­lyt­ics
  • Buy­er per­sona

This is close­ly relat­ed to our first tip, about answer­ing questions—and again, the point is sim­ply to pro­vide users with clear, quick answers to their ques­tions.

Make Recommendations

Many search engine users are seek­ing a par­tic­u­lar product—and they want to ensure that the prod­uct they select is the best of its kind. So, offer­ing top 10 lists and best-of rec­om­men­da­tions can be anoth­er good way to make it into those fea­tured snip­pets.

Are you a used car deal­er? Write a blog post where you list your top 10 small sedans. That’s just one exam­ple of how best-of lists can help you rank for posi­tion zero.

SOURCE

By | 2018-01-29T09:27:49+00:00 January 29th, 2018|Industry News|Comments Off on Writing Content for Position Zero