What Is Position Zero? Rank Zero Meaning | Featured Snippets

Position Zero is a feature that Google has implemented for several years now that provides information to users above the fold on Google. This information is provided in the form of a featured snippet that gives a summary of the “best” result for a searcher.  Position zero is a helpful feature for both SEO and visitors.  Visitors are given a brief on the information they are looking for, while a website is organically promoted.

As you might have guessed, the name position zero, comes from the location of the result in the list.  The top result on Google Search is known as rank one.  By appearing before rank one, the listing has become known as position zero.  However, you might formally see it listed as featured snippet.

Content for a snippet isn’t taken from the beginning of a page or even from just one paragraph.  Google has built a program that will search a page and gather a selection of the content from across the page that answers the search in a relevant and effective manner.  The program is even capable of reformatting the content into lists.

rank zero position featured snippet

Position zero is known by several other names.  Here are some of the most common names for this feature:

  • Featured Snippet
  • Rank Zero
  • Ranking Zero
  • Positioning Zero

It is important to note that position zero is different than an answer box.  Google has another feature, known as answer boxes, where an answer will appear to a question with no source link and just the information looked for.  Position zero is also called a featured snippet because it includes a portion of the website AND a source link.  In reality, what Google has done is provide more information that a user might want or need.

Answer Box

Why should you care about the position zero?  The answer is easy, because it is the first result that people see, even before paid results.  It is also larger than the other results, directing more attention to it.

A lot of people wonder if the answer to a question or a search is provided right on the homepage, won’t it destroy the click through rate?  No, there is no need for any fear.  In fact, people often get hooked by the small sample that they read and are more likely to click through to find more in-depth information.  Most websites that have a featured snippet have noticed higher CTRs.

Lastly, you should note that a competitor getting position zero could mean that your page will get less click throughs.  In most cases it is more than likely because most people like quick, and easy to digest information.  This is exactly what featured snippets was designed to provide. 

Now it is time to talk tactics, how do you wrangle your own featured snippet?  The first step to earning a rank zero is to get a position on the first page of Google results organically (i.e. not paid).  This will put you on track to earning that special snippet.  But this isn’t all that you need.

You will also need to have content on your page that answers the specific search or question being asked.  This content must also be organic.  You don’t need to spruce it up or worry about special formatting.  Google looks for information that is helpful and will even reformat it for the featured snippet if it deems necessary.

Any listing on the first page of results has the potential to become position zero.  A study found that even a rank 10 listing on the first page (the last listing) has a chance at becoming featured.  However, the majority of listings come from ranks one through five.  Rank one is the most likely to become a featured snippet with the likelihood of becoming a snipped descending down from there.

Search engine optimization is an important part of maintaining any website.  You want to get your website noticed and traffic sent to said website.  However, you won’t get any traffic if your website isn’t appealing to the user.  Having rich, organic content will help you to get more visitors but it will also make it likely that you will be featured in position zero on Google Search results.

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