Over the last six months, you will have seen more and more results in the SERPs accompanied by a rich snippets answer box. There are many variations of these, however the most common is a simple text box, answering a question.
What is a Google Instant Answer Box?
A Google Answer Box is one of Google’s SERP features. It is usually displayed in a light-gray box, on the left above the organic results. The aim of a Google Answer Box is to directly answer a question.
Research has shown that the Instant Answer results received 32.3% of all clicks on page one; therefore they harness significant opportunity and excitingly aren’t as hard to achieve as you may think: this is where your content marketing comes into play.
The two main stipulations are that your page has to rank on page one of Google and the content must answer the question.
How to Get a Google Answer Box
1. Understand which questions your users ask
Looking within the Search Analytics report in Search Console is a good place to start as you can filter the Queries to see questions users are searching for which trigger your site to appear in the SERPs. This data can easily be exported and as you can see below ‘What is a decal’ is your most popular question.
2. Create a page to answer the question
Next, you need to create content with the question at its core. This way Google knows that specific landing page is dedicated to the question and answering it for a user – the more information you can put into support your answer the better. This alone will help you to achieve a higher ranking for the term. In addition to the basic content on your page, consider linking to relevant resources (on or off your own site), including related images (with alt tags) – anything to build the page into the ultimate resource for the question you’re answering.
At the moment, there are three types of Google Answer Boxes:
- Paragraphs – Answering questions and often has a small image on the right-hand side. A brief answer or snippet of information.
- Lists – A numbered or bullet point list with a small image.
- Table – A table of results good for comparisons etc.
3. Answer the question in the first paragraph
It seems unnatural to write in such as way, however, if you can use the first paragraph of your article to answer the question, you’ll have a higher chance of gaining the Instant Answer Box. Structure it so that the questions appear too: ie “A decal is a….” or “The word decal means…”.
If you’re ever unsure of the best way to structure your initial paragraph, see who currently holds the Answer Box and how that content is structured.
4. Optimise your content
Your page will need to rank on the first page of Google to be eligible to show in the Google Answer Box, therefore your on-site optimisation is key.
As mentioned earlier in the guide, ensure your meta title and description feature the core keywords (in this case the question) and are within the character limit. This is why creating a separate blog/page for the question you’re trying to target is the best strategy.
- Select a query that already has an Answer Box. If the content is poor and you can improve on it, you’ll have a stronger chance of showing.
- Format & language are important. Feature the question in your response – keep it concise and easy to understand.
- Be factual and accurate in your response.
- Don’t give everything away! You still want the user to click-through to your site, so entice them to visit within your response.