Over the last few years, we’ve seen Google provide a lot more answers in position zero; the spot above the search results where they answer simple questions (such as answers to math questions). Now position zero just became a lot more powerful, and potentially a huge problem for some sites.
You can read more about these new “position zero” changes from this article on Search Engine Land.
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We’re all familiar with Google’s “position zero” results, where they give the answer to a simple question (such as a celebrity’s age or the current time in a given city). Items in position zero are a big part of what makes tools like the Google Assistant and Google Home so powerful.
Back in February, Google tested showing only the position zero answer with no organic results below it for certain queries, and now they’ve seemingly brought it back for good.
Google released the following statement about the new feature: “As always, our goal with search is to help people quickly find the most relevant information. For queries where we have extremely high confidence that a user is seeking a calculation, unit conversion or local time, we will show a single result to improve load time on mobile. Since our initial experiment in February, we worked to remove ads and improve the triggering quality for this experience to be sure that we’re serving users what they’re looking for, and we will still provide the option to tap to see more results.”
While this is mostly a good thing for users, it can be brutal for sites that offer that kind of information, or even those that have similar sounding content such as a dating site in London that will no longer show up for searches like “date in London”.
This doesn’t directly affect most of us for now (unless you run a site that helps with math or something along those lines), but I suspect these zero-only posts will continue to expand over time.
While Google can still send a ton of traffic to your site, this is another reminder that you need to diversify your traffic sources. Keep working on best practices for SEO, but also stay strong on social media, build your email list, and always find new ways to reach your target audience.