What Is Position Zero And Why Should You Care?

by Ben Austin Absolute Digital Media

Position Zero is a term which has been bouncing around the SEO world over the past year, but it is the statistics which run alongside this buzzterm which makes it even more concerning for SEO specialists. According to SEO guru Rand Fishkin, ‘we’re in a bit of a situation’.

2018 was the first year which recorded a decline in the number of organic clicks being directed through Google. When comparing February 2018 and February 2016, Google has seen a 20 per cent decrease in organic clicks.

In fact, according to Rand Fishkin, in February 2018, certain terms saw 34.28 per cent of searches were ‘no click searches’.  On mobile, a whopping 61.03 per cent. But, why?

The simple answer is the gradual migration of traffic to the bottom of SERPs. With new technologies such as voice search leading Google to revolutionise the way in which it displays search results, organic search results are being pushed further down the page.

First, there was paid search – and we all know just how well paid and organic search campaigns can work in tandem with each other. Sure, organic search results were pushed down by approximately four positions, depending on the competitiveness of the keyword, but that didn’t seem to cause any issues when it came to clicks.

However, as time has progressed, we have seen new introductions to Google search results, including the weather, flights, sports, hotels, celebrities and more. One of the latest introductions has been Google Jobs, and ‘Position Zero’ is where these search results are being displayed above the organic search results.

Where Are We Seeing These Changes?

A large proportion of these changes are coming from the more competitive keyword terms – those which can typically be responded to with a single search result. These single search results are currently being displayed at the top of search engines and are gradually attracting more traffic over time.

This is simply due to the fact that people are able to quickly and efficiently find the answer to their question, without having to even leave the search results page.

For example:

First, we see the paid search results…

Then, we see Google Flights…

Then, there’s organic…

So, What Does This Mean For SEO?

SEO needs to be smarter. We need to continue to not only produce compelling SEO campaigns which leverage the scraps of organic traffic which we are currently being directed to sites, but to also investigate and conduct ‘On-SERP’ SEO.

There are a number of different opportunities which can be capitalised on, including:

Featured Snippets

Featured snippets have been growing in prominence over the past five years and if SEO’s are not currently capitalising on these opportunities, then this is a key area which is currently missing out on gaining organic traffic.

There are three different types of featured snippet formats – paragraph featured snippets, list featured snippets and table featured snippets.

Capitalising on these are also incredibly important for voice search and as this usage continues to increase, featured snippets are likely to continue to grow even more prominent than ever before.

Barnacle SEO

Since the surge in Position Zero, barnacle SEO has become crucial. This is particularly true for location-based terms where Google is capitalising on phrases such as ‘Things To Do In…’. In order to obtain these Position Zero tiles, utilising other prominent sites as leverage should become a key focus.

Google My Business

This is particularly important for local businesses. As more individuals are using mobile devices and want to get in contact with businesses immediately, having an up-to-date, fully optimised Google My Business profile is more important than ever before.

As technology continues to progress, it is becoming even more important for SEO’s to become aware of how to optimise for search engine results pages, as well as clients’ sites. Taking advantage of all opportunities across On-SERP SEO is the only way to remain at the forefront of the digital landscape.


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