Can the “zero position” on Google really make a difference?

Zero position ranking

I got a surprise the other day. I woke up to see one of my sites have a spike in traffic and I didn’t know why. It’s a hobby site that I work on from time to time. I set up the site in December 2016 over Christmas and I added topical keyword related articles to the site. I forecasted that people would search for certain keywords or questions related to the site. I did this as a part of my “content marketing” experiment for this site.

I know that content marketing works. But to be honest, I wrote the content and then I’ve left it in the background while I work on other projects.

In August 2017, the World Athletics Championships we’re on in London, with the men’s high jump being one of the attractions of the championships. I suspected that the rise in traffic was related to the event.

Here is a link to the page that gained additional web traffic.

Do I need to be tall to be a successful high jumper?

Below are some screenshots from my Google Analytics account and my Google Search Console.

Google search console showing traffic spike from the zero position ranking.
Google search console showing traffic spike from the zero position ranking.
Google analytics spike from the zero position ranking on Google.
Google analytics spike from the zero position ranking on Google.

As you can see, the numbers aren’t big. But what is interesting is the traffic growth (albeit temporary, it does show that preparing your site for topical keywords can have a positive impact on your website’s growth).

What happened?

I discovered that the main page that started getting the extra traffic was not only ranking on the first page of Google for its target keyword, but it was ranking in the “zero position”.

Zero position ranking
Zero position ranking

Up until now, I’ve never successfully had a site rank in the zero position on Google. But it is interesting to see the impact that the zero position has on a keyword with a relatively low search volume.

What did I do to get it ranking in the zero position?

To be honest, I didn’t optimise the post to rank in the zero position. All I tried to do was answer the question to the best of my knowledge and mark-up the content in a search engine friendly way. There are other experts that have a more thorough guide on ranking for the zero position on Google. When I become more familiar with it, I will also share my findings on this site.

One thing that might have contributed to the improved zero position ranking is the Wikipedia citation link, but I cannot say of that is a certainty.

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that the longer form of the content that I’m producing tends to rank better. Although, I cannot conclusively say that it’s contributed to the zero position ranking. But on the other hand, I do think that having the content structured in a way for that particular query did help.

Did the zero position impact conversions?

Currently, the site only gets conversions through email sign-ups. The more visitors there are to the site, the more conversions the site will have.

What’s my take on having the zero position as a part of your SEO strategy?

Ultimately, SEOs want to get as much traffic as possible. The zero position allowed my site to leapfrog the competition on the first page of Google. As a result, my traffic instantly doubled.

It would be ideal to research the opportunities that exist in any industries that you may be working in to see if your site can benefit from a zero position ranking as well.

If you have any experience with the zero position ranking, I’d love for you to share your findings in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

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