Position Zero Is Dead; Long Live Position Zero

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Posted by Dr-Pete In 2014, Google introduced the featured snippet, a promoted organic ranking that we affectionately (some days were more affectionate than others) referred to as "position zero" or "ranking #0." One of the benefits to being in position zero was that you got to double-dip, with your organic listing appearing in both the featured snippet and page-1 results (usually in the top 3–4). On January 23, Google announced a significant change (which rolled out globally on January 22) ... "Declutters" sounds innocuous, but the impact to how we think about featured snippets and organic rankings is significant. So, let's dig deep into some examples and the implications for SEO. What does this mean for Moz? First, a product announcement. In the past, we treated Featured Snippets as stand-alone SERP features — they were identified in our "SERP Features" report but were not treated as organic due to the second listing. As of Saturday, January 25 (shout-out to many of our team for putting in a long weekend), we began rolling out data that treats the featured snippet as position #1. SERPs with featured snippets will continue to be tagged in SERP Features reporting, and we're working on ways to surface more data. Here's a partial screenshot of our "SERP Features" report from one of my own experiments ... At a glance, you can see which keywords displayed a featured snippet (the scissor icon), owned that featured snippet (highlighted in blue), as well as your organic ranking for those keywords. We're working on bringing more of this data into the Rankings report in the near future. If you're a Moz Pro customer and would like to see this in action, you can jump directly to your SERP Features report using the button below (please let us know what you think about the update): Check Your SERP Features This change brings our data in line with Google's view that a featured snippet is a promoted organic result and also better aligns us with Google Search Console data. Hopefully, it also helps provide customers with more context about their featured snippets as organic entities. How does Google count to 10? Let's take a deeper look at the before and after of this change. Here are the desktop organic results (left-column only) from a search for "LCD vs LED" on January 21st ... Pardon some big images, but I promise there's method …

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How Low Can #1 Go? (2020 Edition)

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Posted by Dr-Pete Being #1 on Google isn't what it used to be. Back in 2013, we analyzed 10,000 searches and found out that the average #1 ranking began at 375 pixels (px) down the page. The worst case scenario, a search for "Disney stock," pushed #1 all the way down to 976px. A lot has changed in seven years, including an explosion of rich SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features, like Featured Snippets, local packs, and video carousels. It feels like the plight of #1 is only getting worse. So, we decided to run the numbers again (over the same searches) and see if the data matches our perceptions. Is the #1 listing on Google being pushed even farther down the page? I try to let the numbers speak for themselves, but before we dig into a lot of stats, here's one that legitimately shocked me. In 2020, over …

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Spot Zero is Gone — Here's What We Know After 30 Days

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Posted by PJ_Howland As you are probably aware by now, recent updates have changed the world of search optimization. On January 22nd Google, in its infinite wisdom, decided that the URL that has earned the featured snippet in a SERP would not have the additional spot in that SERP. This also means that from now on the featured snippet will be the true spot-one position. If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat the listing in the search results. This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show. — Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) January 22, 2020 Rather than rehash what’s been so eloquently discussed already, I’ll direct you to Dr. Pete’s post if you need a refresher on what this means for you and for Moz. 30 …

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Opting-Out of Google Featured Snippets Led to 12% Traffic Loss [SEO Experiment]

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Posted by Cyrus-Shepard Note: This post was co-authored by Cyrus Shepard and Rida Abidi . Everyone wants to win Google featured snippets. Right? At least, it used to be that way. Winning the featured snippet typically meant extra traffic, in part because Google showed your URL twice: once in the featured snippet and again in regular search results. For publishers, this was known as " double-dipping ." All that changed in January when Google announced they would de-duplicate search results to show the featured snippet URL only once on the first page of results. No more double-dips. Publishers worried because older studies suggested winning featured snippets drove less actual traffic than the "natural" top ranking result. With the new change, winning the featured snippet might actually now lead to less traffic, not more. This led many SEOs to speculate: should you opt-out of featured snippets altogether? Are featured snippets causing …

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Identifying Advanced GSC Search Performance Patterns (and What to Do About Them)

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Posted by izzismith Google Search Console is by far the most used device in the SEO’s toolkit. Not only does it provide us with the closest understanding we can have of Googlebot’s behavior and perception of our domain properties (in terms of indexability, site usability, and more), but it also allows us to assess the search KPIs that we work so rigorously to improve. GSC is free, secure, easy to implement, and it’s home to the purest form of your search performance KPI data. Sounds perfect, right? However, the lack of capability for analyzing those KPIs on larger scales means we can often miss crucial points that indicate our pages’ true performance. Being limited to 1,000 rows of data per request and restricted filtering makes data refinement and growth discovery tedious (or close to impossible). SEOs love Google Search Console — it has the perfect data — but sadly, it’s …

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The Power of "Is": A Featured Snippet Case Study

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Posted by EricSerdar I’m not a literary scholar, but I believe it was Hamlet that said “to have a featured snippet or not to have a featured snippet?” Ever since featured snippets came onto the scene, sites have been trying to secure them. My team and I wanted in on this craze. Throughout our journey of research, testing, failure, and success, we found some interesting pieces of information that we wanted to share with the community. I’ll walk you through what we did and show you some of our results (though can’t share traffic numbers). It was Britney Muller’s webinar on Feature Snippet Essentials and the release of the featured snippets cheat sheet that inspired me to capture what we've learned. What are featured snippets? A featured snippet is the box that appears at the top of the search result page that provides information to succinctly and accurately answer your …

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Understanding & Fulfilling Search Intent - Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by BritneyMuller Google houses the world's information, and it's their goal to serve the best answers to searchers' questions. That means that understanding what your target audience is searching and why is more important than ever — but how do you effectively analyze and fulfill true search intent? In this brand-new Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller shares everything you need to begin understanding and fulfilling search intent, plus a free Google Sheets checklist download to help you analyze the SERPs you care about most. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we're going to be uncovering understanding and fulfilling search intent, and this is a really important topic to understand and better prepare your content around. I want you to think about this idea that Google houses the world's …

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Understanding & Fulfilling Search Intent

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Posted by BritneyMuller Google houses the world's information, and it's their goal to serve the best answers to searchers' questions. That means that understanding what your target audience is searching and why is more important than ever — but how do you effectively analyze and fulfill true search intent? In this brand-new Whiteboard Friday, Britney Muller shares everything you need to begin understanding and fulfilling search intent, plus a free Google Sheets checklist download to help you analyze the SERPs you care about most. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we're going to be uncovering understanding and fulfilling search intent, and this is a really important topic to understand and better prepare your content around. I want you to think about this idea that Google houses the world's …

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Using the Flowchart Method for Diagnosing Ranking Drops — Best of Whiteboard Friday

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Posted by KameronJenkins Being able to pinpoint the reason for a ranking drop is one of our most perennial and potentially frustrating tasks as SEOs, especially in 2020 . There are an unknowable number of factors that go into ranking these days, but luckily the methodology for diagnosing those fluctuations is readily at hand. In this popular Whiteboard Friday, the wonderful Kameron Jenkins shows us a structured way to diagnose ranking drops using a flowchart method and critical thinking. Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video Transcription Hey, everyone. Welcome to this week's edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Kameron Jenkins. I am the new SEO Wordsmith here at Moz, and I'm so excited to be here. Before this, I worked at an agency for about six and a half years. I worked in the SEO department, and really a …

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Some Featured Snippets may not appear as the top organic result

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If you follow my blog, you’ll know about the latest update to Featured Snippets on Google. An update which most of us probably didn’t see coming. I found that the “Featured” aspect of a “Featured Snippet” had been drastically reduced. While the result was still boxed-in, the ranking position had been demoted. This article explores this update, assessing how far-reaching it was in search results, along with some additional context involving classification. But first, a quick TL;DR : Featured Snippets that don’t appear in the top organic position are of a specific type. They have similar features to Knowledge Panels and trigger for a very small subset of queries. Looking at data for millions of queries across various segments, I was able to find some commonalities among the new Google Featured Snippets. Here’s what I learned. How have some Featured Snippets changed? The change involves some Featured Snippets showing in …

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How to Detect and Improve Underperforming Content: A Guide to Optimization

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Posted by SamuelMangialavori Content, content, and more content! That’s what SEO is all about nowadays, right? Compared to when I started working in SEO (2014), today, content is consistently one of the most popular topics covered at digital marketing conferences, there are way more tools that focus on content analysis and optimization, and overall it seems to dominate most of SEO news. Don’t believe me? Here’s a nice Google Trends graph that may change your mind: Google Trends screenshot for “content marketing” as a topic, set for worldwide interest. But why is it that content is now dominating the SEO scene? How vital is content for your SEO strategy, actually? And most importantly: how can you be content with your site’s content? Puns aside, this post aims to help you figure out potential causes of your underperforming content and how to improve it. Why content is key in SEO in …

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