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 search engine’s increasing preference of using “instant answers” as a search result. The most lucrative method so far is Google answer boxes.
What Are Google Answer Boxes?
You may not know them by name, but you have certainly seen them in the course of your searches. Google Answer boxes are those nifty and convenient immediate answers to a search query. They appear at the top of a SERP and have your search term highlighted in their answer , so you can easily find the answer you’re looking for.
Now, I’d like to continue this discussion by highlighting a few points to keep in mind when creating or updating content to give you a better chance to achieve rank zero (aka featured in a Google 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 Google 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. If you have a SEMRush account set up, you can go “Domain Analytics” and “Gap Analysis” to get a full, comprehensive report on some important SEO metrics you should be tracking. In these tools, you can also view what your competitors are doing as well.
Make the Most of Your Google Answer Box Result
If you’re targeting a post or specific page to gain a Google Answer Box result, or if you’re there already, here are some important factors you need to keep in mind:
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 Google 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 Google 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.