Owning “Position Zero”: How to Win Featured Snippets

Joseph Volk / 11th January 2019 / Comment

What Are Featured Snippets?

A featured snippet is a box at the top of a Google search engine results page (SERP) where Google displays an excerpt from one of its top 10 results in hopes of giving searchers a quick answer to their question.

Featured snippets, known as “Position Zero” to SEOs because they rank even higher on the SERP than the ultra-desirable position one, are part of Google’s general effort to give searchers what they are looking for without them even having to click into any of the search results.

Winning a featured snippet usually results in a significant incremental boost in Organic traffic; in fact, experts estimate that nearly 9%of clicks in SERPs with Featured Snippets go to the URL linked in the snippet rather than to any of the Organic results.

At Wheelhouse, we’ve developed a tried-and-true set of content optimization tactics to identify, assess and win featured snippets.

Success Story: Turning Medical Expertise into Featured Snippet Gold

One of our featured snippet successes came from a large health care client with a content problem: they had a significant library of authoritative, detailed content written by medical experts, but had seen mixed results trying to gain search visibility. They were often outranked by competitors with less expert, comprehensive content but more Google-friendly articles, blog posts and other informational resources.

Our approach was to first identify a prioritized set of informational pages that ranked in the top 10 for queries with featured snippets. We then analyzed the content and our expert copywriters found ways to consolidate and re-arrange key information to craft more “snippable” sections in each page.

The end result was featured-snippet-ready copy that didn’t lose any of the depth and detail that is the calling card of the client’s brand.

In some cases, we had multiple rounds of revision before winning the snippet, and as is often true in organic search, sometimes it took a few months to win a snippet. However, with every snippet we won, we saw impressive gains.

One particular page won a snippet and within the first six months after winning the snippet saw exponential growth in organic traffic, establishing itself as one of the main avenues into the site for users unfamiliar with the brand.

To be precise, the page saw a 1316% increase in organic users and a 1307% increase in new organic users and became the second ranked organic landing page on the site, just behind the home page.

Across all the pages we optimized for featured snippets for this client in our initial rounds of content optimization, we were able to win over 70 new featured snippets, exposing those new “position zero” rankings to over 20,000 incremental monthly searches.

Success Story: Finding a Wealth of Snippets (and eCommerce Revenue)

Featured snippet optimizations aren’t just for informational content libraries: we’ve also found success by targeting featured snippets with eCommerce clients.

One of our eCommerce clients has a wide range of category-level pages for different seasons, holidays and other major life events. We saw an opportunity to gain search visibility and traffic for these pages by optimizing the copy with concise, essential information about each topic.

By studying the format, depth and other key facets of the snippets Google was already showing for each topic, we were able to produce optimized copy for each page that was primed and ready to win featured snippets.

This strategy was a huge success. We won over 60 featured snippets for these category pages, driving a 331% year-over-year increase in organic sessions to the pages that won the snippets:

We also found that featured snippets led to an increase in revenue for these pages, as the rich informational content that we created to help the client win snippets also helped to qualify and persuade customers. The pages that won snippets also saw a 213% year-over-year increase in organic revenue, an incremental gain of $146,209:

What Could Featured Snippet Wins Mean for You?

As we continue to explore new featured snippet winning tactics, our content specialists at Wheelhouse DMG are developing greater expertise in this area. We would love to help you identify featured snippet opportunities and choose the right optimization strategy to take full advantage of them.

Let us know how we can help you with featured snippets or other content needs, or attend one of our upcoming content workshops to learn more about featured snippet optimizations and other trending content strategies we’re exploring at Wheelhouse. Our next content workshop is coming up January 31st, 2019. Register and learn more here, or on the Facebook event page

By Joseph Volk