SEO has become a buzzword even the least digital-marketing savvy person knows. If your website doesn’t have great SEO, you won’t get anywhere! Gotta aim for that top spot on Google! Or do you? It’s no secret the digital marketing landscape is a different space than it was a decade ago, and what you need to know about SEO (and harnessing it to boost your business) has changed too. Here’s Zebra 360 Digital Marketing Agency’s hot-take on SERP position zero… and the featured snippets that are your newer goal.

The changing face of search

It’s true that, in the early days of digital marketing, occupying ‘SERP position Zero’ (probably best known to those outside the industry as ‘a spot on the first page of Google) was the be-all, end-all goal for most businesses. No one was going to wade through to page 10 to find you, after all!

That was a while ago, however. It was a world where smartphones were still fever dreams of their inventors, for a start! Voice search, influencers, vlogging and blogging, and so much more had yet to steal the scene. It’s also a world where Google hadn’t even yet imagined the measures it would need to take to stop scammers cramming fake or overblown SEO onto a page to get sites top positions they didn’t in any way deserve.

In short, our search and browsing behaviours have changed completely. We want fast, accurate and relevant info on the move. We certainly don’t want to sift through endless irrelevant topics to find our info, and ‘cheap tricks’ are more likely to cost business than drive it.

The new ‘on SERP’ information: Featured Snippets

This is why Google enacted a huge shift a few years ago. Featured Snippets. Think of the last time you typed a question into the search engine (or hopped on Cortana to ask). Notice how you will now see short blocks of info-rich text answering your question immediately? No need to sort through webpages and hope… the information is presented right to your fingertips on the search page.

It’s designed to cater to a faster-paced demographic looking for instant answers. It’s also a great way to boost consumer trust, when you’re the one answering those questions. Lastly, it’s been a way to clear up scams and spam sites and ensure the pages displaying first actually offer the consumer relevant content to their searches.

The most sought after place for these snippets to display, of course, is still at the top of the search page, before the organic listings for the keywords. This new ‘position zero’ may well be the only info the searcher will view, so it’s a coveted space. How do you get it for yourself? The answer is…complicated.

Marketing for position zero

There’s no ‘quick fix’ way to gun for position zero. Google got savvy to the scam-style, low-quality gaming that was being done with search engine rankings, and they now demand-and enforce- far higher quality content and no spam characteristics to rank well. They also don’t like to spill all their secrets in how they score for rank. Getting high snippet positions is something of an inexact science at the moment, requiring a different ballgame to organic listings. We’re sure to see this area grow throughout the year, too.

One key area to boost your chances of featuring well in snippets, however, is simply continuing with high-quality content and relevant, well-planned keyword research. Focus on long-tail keywords that flow naturally and answer relevant industry questions. There’s a few other things you can do that will help keep content prominent, relevant and visible, too.

  • Look local: Focusing on your local area gives you a niche you can exploit. Create content specific to the people who frequent your business most.
  • Stay fresh: Current, relevant and well-crafted content is key
  • Optimise for SERPs: Answer questions succinctly in the first few paragraphs of content for a quick snippet boost. Make sure you format to be easily readable by Google, too.
  • Focus on VALUE: Don’t get caught up in awkward keyword cramming. Opt to provide thoughtful, engaging content readers enjoy, with a natural, conversational tone.
  • Send social signals: Google hasn’t confirmed that highly visible social media content affects snippets, but trends seem to suggest it does. Don’t be afraid to leverage social media marketing to boost your bottom line.

Keen to get started on your Google Snippets journey? The savvy team at Zebra 360 Digital Marketing are here to help you craft a winning Position Zero strategy today.