Think Inside the Google Answer Box
You’ve probably noticed that the search results page on Google often includes an information box that quickly provides a succinct response to your question or a brief description of the search term. Welcome to the Google Rich Answer Box.
It’s now being used more frequently to rapidly deliver relevant content without a user having to click through for the answer. From the perspective of the user, the Answer Box is convenient, avoids the need for an extra click and provides a shortcut to the information the user is seeking.
Instead of merely trying to rank No. 1 in search results, it may be more advantageous to develop content optimized for the Answer Box, which is known as “position zero.”
The content in the Answer Box frequently appears in the form of a list, chart or brief text that answers a user’s query. Google will draw this content from a trusted website that rates high in domain authority, a search engine ranking score that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine results pages.
According to Cognitive SEO, websites that were found in the first position in the search results accounted for one-third (33%) of all Answer Box information. Websites located in the top five pages of search results accounted for more than three-quarters (77%) of the answers.
Elevate Your Content
Follow these tips to increase your chances of having your content included in the Answer Box:
Answer authoritatively. Consider what specific questions your audience will ask, and which ones you can answer with authority. Directly answer the question near the top of your website page, then continue to answer it throughout the rest of the content.
Look for search terms related to your activities that already have an Answer Box. Then provide a superior answer or one that’s better formatted.
Create quality content. Content from sites with high search engine results page rankings are more likely to be used in the Answer Box.
Use Answer-Box-friendly formats. The Answer Box generally has content that is organized into a list, table, chart or a few short sentences, with the answer to the question reflected in the title of your answer. According to moz.com, featured snippets typically follow one of these formats:
- Paragraphs account for about 63 percent of all answer boxes.
- Lists in answer boxes usually include instructions, how-to’s and steps to complete tasks.
- Tables are used to convey data.
Incorporate SEO principles. Once you choose your keyword, create content that uses the keyword in the headline, body copy, meta description, tags, etc. Employ other SEO tactics to ensure your website ranks high in search results.
Elevate your domain authority. Domain authority is ranked on a scale of 1 to 100. To enhance your search result ranking and domain authority, include internal and external links throughout your content. Encourage thought leaders in your field to link to your content. Be sure that all internet references to your business contain accurate information.
Be the Hero
The benefit of being included in an Answer Box is that when Google associates your brand with the best answer to the query, it shows the user that Google trusts your company. But many search results don’t yet include an Answer Box, and this represents an opportunity. According to a 2017 study by Stone Temple, only 30 percent of 1.4 million queries tested show Answer Boxes.
Developing relevant content that directly answers a user’s query optimizes your chance of being included in Google’s Answer Box, which prominently displays your content and which could drive users to your website. By understanding Answer Box formats and employing the right strategies, your website content can go from position zero to hero.