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Real estate on search engine results pages (SERP) is becoming more and more competitive for organic results. Aside from the whole other discussion about the expansion of AdWords ads, a main contributing factor to the heightened competitiveness is Google’s increasing preference of using “instant answers” or “answer boxes” as a search result.

Google Answer Boxes

You may not know them by name, but you have certainly seen them in the course of your searches. My colleague Mike Farney previously wrote a post discussing what an answer box is and how they can increase your site traffic.

Now, I’d like to continue this discussion by highlighting a few things to keep in mind when creating or updating content to give you a better chance to achieve rank zero (aka featured in an answer box before the first organic result).

  1. Before creating all new content targeting an answer box, always see if you currently have any content ranking on the first page where a competitor has the answer box.
  2. Look for opportunity. This should be done when creating any new blog post or article on your site, but especially if you’re looking to target an answer box. Think of questions that you often receive from prospective or current customers regarding your product.

Pro Tip: Some SEO tools will even be able to tell you what keywords you and your competition currently rank for in position zero, i.e instant answer box.

  1. Make sure to check out if there is currently an answer box or not. If there is, don’t be discouraged. If you rank on the first page already, and feel you can provide a more thorough and well laid out answer, then it’s worth a try. Worst case, you are providing more value on your website.
  2. Remember the three types of answer boxes: paragraph (the most common), list, and table. If you currently have a page that ranks well, but isn’t showing up as an instant answer (or the current instant answer is a paragraph but would be better understood as a list/table), don’t hesitate to change your layout to the preferred style. If it is actually easier to digest and provides more value, Google is bound to recognize that behavior change over time.
  3. Use all the characters Google allows in the answer box. This way, users will have to (and hopefully want to) click through to read the last few steps in your list or the rest of the paragraph on your site. If you don’t do this, you could possibly lose clicks to the answer box as users will have everything they need right there in the SERP.

There are plenty of opportunities for answer boxes and featured snippets in general out there right now. See how you can best take advantage of them now, because before long, this will become part of every content creators checklist. Talk to your Cazbah Internet Marketing Consultant today to help assess any opportunities you may have.

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