Direct Answer – How to Get Position Zero in Google

Direct Answer – How to Get Position Zero in Google

Who wouldn’t like to own the Direct Answers box? This SERP feature allows your content to be displayed above anybody else’s, increases your visibility, and improves brand recognition. The bad news is that getting featured in Google Direct Answers isn’t that easy. Yet, it isn’t impossible! Here’s everything you need to know to win position zero in Google search.

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No matter if your website offers hair care tips, presents training routines for marathon runners, or sells lettering and calligraphy tools – you can appear in Google’s Direct Answer box. All websites have equal chances to get position zero. To win this honorable spot, you need to convince Google you have topical authority in a specific field.

The good news is that your website doesn’t have to be in TOP1 or even in TOP10 search results to be displayed in the Direct Answer Box. What matters is whether your content allows users to find concise answers fast.

Providing the very answer is one thing. Leading Google bots to the source of this answer (ie. your website) is another thing.

Fortunately, there are some proven techniques that help you to increase your chances of being displayed above everybody else. But before talking about them, let’s see what Google Direct Answers really is.

What Is Google Direct Answers?

Displayed in position zero in Google search, the Direct Answer box is a small piece of content that gives an exact answer to the searchers’ query. It comes in different forms and shapes.

Sometimes Google’s Direct Answers Box includes 3-5 sentences, sufficient enough to give a brief insight into a particular issue a user is eager to learn about. Sometimes the result is presented in the form of bullet points or a list of steps to take. Other times, it’s a YouTube video – whatever suits the purpose better.

direct answers google

Regardless of its form, Google Direct Answers is considered a highly useful SERP feature that greatly increases user experience. Searches seem to love getting direct answers from Google. Actually, who wouldn’t love them? They appear in less than a second and are particularly relevant to the query.

It’s not clear yet how Google decides that a certain piece of content corresponds to a specific query the most accurately. However, when you check it for yourself, you will be surprised by how good the robots are at finding precise answers so quickly.

This is basically how Google’s Direct Answers box works for the users. Now let’s take a look at what is inside the very box for the website owners.

Since the tight race for winning the position zero in Google search has been on for at least a couple of years (and it will continue, no doubts about that), it must clearly be worth the effort. Those who succeed at getting the content featured in Google Direct Answers reap four huge rewards.

  • The highest position in SERPs – meaning that you appear above everyone else. Sometimes this singled-out piece of content is shown even above the paid ads, pushing all the rest downward.
  • Increased visibility of your brand – when you are featured in the Direct Answer Box, you can take it for granted that Google considers your website valuable and trustworthy. This also proves that your website rankings are favorable.
  • Increased brand recognition – once Google likes your website, you can expect it to appear in SERP more often, gradually increasing your brand recognition among the searchers. This may also result in getting you more traffic that is purely organic.
  • Beat the competition – what’s the point in scrolling further when the answer is right in front of you? – or rather your future prospects. You get all the clickthroughs for yourself.

Now, when you know the advantage you get from winning position zero in Google search, it’s time for you to learn a few ways to optimize your content for the Google Answer box.

seo services support

How Do I Optimize for Google Answer Box? 10 Tips to Achieve Success

As it’s typical of Google, it evolves continuously.

What used to be an effective way to increase one’s chances of being featured in Direct Answers, may not work equally well now. No worries, though.

We gathered 10 proven tips on how to get position zero in Google. Go through the list and see which idea is worth trying.

1. Answer Questions: How, When, Where, Why, Who

As the name suggests, the Google Answer box provides… answers. Just like in real life, the answers are induced by questions. This means that if you want to win this single-person spot in Google Direct Answers, you should throw more questions into your web content.

Placing why-questions in H2 and H3, you build a kind of scaffolding of your content so that Google reads and indexes it easier.

google direct answers

SEO TIP: Make sure H2 and H3 tags contain different phrases than the H1 tag. This way you can optimize your page for more phrases.

2. Provide Brief Answers to User Questions

While providing the answer, try to be as concise as possible. Reply to the user straight away. Don’t write a long story to hide the answer somewhere in the middle of the text.

google direct answers box

In other words, don’t make Google robots scan the entire paragraph to find what it looks for because this decreases your chances of winning the Answer Box. It’s way better to explain the issue in the first few sentences that appear right below the heading.

3. Place Questions in the Title

This one is really powerful. Throwing a question into the H1 tag is something you should go for if you want to be featured in Direct Answers. By doing so, you provide Google robots with clear indicators for the topic covered on a particular page.

google position zero

Also, the title is displayed in SERP right below the Answer Box. This is proven helpful for the searchers too. Having their query displayed as a title gives them an unmistakable signal that the website is relevant and offers the solution they seek for. So, why would they scroll down if the answer is just one click away?

SEO TIP: Make the H1 tag short and sweet. Try not to go beyond 55 characters. Otherwise, Google may snip it a bit, displaying just a part of the entire title, especially if viewed on mobile devices. Oh, and better give up on using caps.

4. Analyze Your Competition

X-ray your competition.

Check whether their content is displayed in the Direct Answer Box. If it does, try to come up with a better and more comprehensive explanation of the topic they cover on their web pages.

What if the competition already did a great job with providing the answer? Well, there is always room for improvement, isn’t there?

Why would you attempt to write an answer to a question it’s already answered? Simply because when Google considers a particular subject to be easily convertible into the Direct Answer, you have a green light to win this spot over.

Just create a response that gives even better insight into the enquired topic.

5. Structure Your Content

Google robots – and humans too – love it when the web content is arranged neatly and chronologically. That’s why pages with bullet points, tables, and step-by-step manuals are preferred to those that lack such formatting.

position zero in google search

Whenever possible, adjust your content to the present-day audience who is always pressed for time. Use steps/numbers instead of describing a process in a few paragraphs. In the case of percentages and digits, put them into tables.

Basically, use all opportunities you have to make your texts easy to skim-read – this is what both Google robots and humans favor.

6. Add High-Quality, Relevant Images

Since the Direct Answer Box offers a limited space – it fits 100 words – sometimes you may think about adding some visuals to elaborate on a topic. This is when images come in handy.

how to get position zero google

Sometimes it happens that the image is pulled from the page automatically, but it’s not always the case. Therefore, always optimize the graphics for the right keywords to increase its potential of being displayed in the box.

SEO TIP: If the topic featured in the Answer Box is hard to win over, you may consider occupying the place with just an image. If the page the answer is taken from doesn’t have a relevant image, Google may try to find it in its Image library. This is the chance for you to jump in. Uploading high-resolution images and optimizing them for the right keywords should be one of your tactics.

Find out more about image optimization!

7. Place Keywords in Your Content

This one seems to be obvious, yet it’s also extremely important, and therefore it’s worth mentioning. Choose the right keywords for your brand and assign a few of them to each of your pages.

Use keywords across your website, placing them in:

  • the headings (H1, H2, H3)
  • page URLs
  • the text (make sure the keyword actually fits in the sentence/paragraph)
  • title tags
  • alt texts

Having the keyword included in H2 or H3 that is followed by a concise answer makes ready-made content for Google to place in the Direct Answer Box. Doing so, you almost give Google the finished “product” so it can take and display it whenever a searcher looks for it.

SEO TIP: If a keyword doesn’t fit naturally into the headings or the text, don’t use it. A text riddled with keywords doesn’t help anyone. This hasn’t been more true than it is now when the Helpful Content algorithm update is on. When Google sniffs at your content, it won’t convert it into Direct Anwer Box.

8. Create FAQ

This one is also immensely powerful. Google favors FAQs because this is another section on a website that is surrounded by structured data.

google direct answers faq

Additionally, FAQ already has a form of Direct Answer Box – a question followed by a short answer. This makes it an ideal piece of content to be displayed in position zero in Google search.

Here’s how to create an FAQ to increase the chances of being featured in the Direct Answer box:

  1. Gather the common queries your users try to find the answers to.
  2. Prepare short and concise answers for each query.
  3. Format each question & answer for better UX.
  4. Optimize the title tag for the right keyword.
  5. Add FAQ schema.

SEO TIP: If you happen to include closed questions in FAQ, always begin the answer either with “yes” or “no”.

9. Create User-Friendly URLs

Matching a URL with the page content wins you extra points from Google. It’s just another way for the crawlers to check what topic a particular page covers.

However, if you use the same words in the URL, you double the good work. Just remember to use dashes instead of spaces, like in the example below:

direct answers google url

Nowadays, digital voice assistants are growing in popularity. Siri, Alexa, and Cortana are becoming more present – no-one can deny this.

You can find them not only on mobile devices but also in cars and homes. Do you know how they answer their owners’ questions? Simply by reading out loud Direct Answer box content.

Learn how to optimize your content for voice search.

Voice searches use long-tail keywords. Actually, they go way beyond that. Searches conducted orally resemble talking with a human being. This means that instead of giving just single words like “back pain relief ideas”, a user will say something like “Hey Google! What’s the best way to relieve my back pain?”

Focusing on long-tail keywords will increase your chances of getting featured in Google Direct Answers.

SEO TIP: With the growing number of voice searches, placing long-tail keywords on your pages is what you should consider a good SEO practice.

Now, with all that being said, you’re probably wondering if Direct Answers is the same as Feature Snippets. Short answer – no. Even though they have a lot in common, these two elements shouldn’t be perceived as the same thing.

When giving you a direct answer, Google focuses on showing you nothing more, nothing less but the very answer. As long as the answer is unambiguous and not open to interpretation, Google displays it in the Direct Answer box.

direct answers vs featured snippets google

No link to a website, right? This is a pure Direct Answer.

However, when there is some room for interpretation, when there is more than one way to do something, or when the data on a particular subject varies (doesn’t apply to currencies or weather), it’s more possible that Google displays Featured Snippets.

direct answers vs featured snippets

Are There Any Disadvantages of Direct Answers?

The aim of the Direct Answer Box is to show a user a quick answer, which Google is pretty good at. This means that when a user receives the answer on the SERP page, there is a great chance they won’t click on any of the displayed blue links.

Even though the risk of a decrease in traffic and website impressions is somehow present, it’s worth realizing one thing once again. Direct Answer shows a short piece of content. This means it works for one- or two-sentence explanations.

If you manage to catch the interest of a searcher with so few letters, they may click on the link out of pure curiosity – they may want to learn more about the issue.

However, if you still don’t want to take a risk, there is a way for your content to be blocked from being featured in Google Direct Answers. Here is a short, 3-step manual from Google support:

direct answers google block

Google Position Zero – The Takeaway

Truth be told, having a website displayed as number one on search results doesn’t mean that you have the top position. It doesn’t also mean that you can’t be higher.

With the growing number of ads and the wider space that Google devotes to advertising, trying to win Position Zero is worth a shot. Being displayed right below the search bar can bring you huge benefits like increased visibility and brand recognition.

Besides, having a piece of web content shown at the very top of SERP gives a clear signal that your website is legit, trustworthy, and authoritative. It helps your SEO, and it helps the users.

If you want to be featured in Google Direct Answers Box and still don’t know how to get position zero in Google search, let us know. Our team will do its best to make the box filled with your piece of web content.

This is an update of an article published in 2021. 

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Author
Copywriter - Gosia

Copywriter

A translator and copywriter that has been working in e-commerce for over 7 years. As a trained English teacher, she knows tricks to transform difficult topics into easily understandable articles. In her free time, she reads everything that is related to Scandinavia, looks for murals while riding on her bike, and from time to time shoots wedding/sports reportages.
Comments (1)
  1. This direct answer box can be tricky when it comes to traffic. My content once was displayed there and the organic traffic decreased!

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