Steps to getting into Google’s Answer Box
- Provide the Correct Answer
- Structure Your Content
- Clean up HTML Markup + Add ‘HowTo’ Schema
Need more information? Keep reading!
What Is Google’s Answer Box?
Introduced in 2015, Google’s Answer Box is the holy grail for internet users. You ask, and Google answers.
Appearing above the organic search results on position zero, this box features a snippet of content borrowed from a site Google thinks provides the best answer – not necessarily the #1 ranking result. This not only reduces the user’s need to explore the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) but provides a direct answer.
For brands and businesses, Google’s Answer Box can be a challenging road block though. If searchers get their answers easily, why would they go to your site?
Why Does It Matter?
We live in a digital age where instantaneity matters. You want answers and you want them fast.
If you were making a chocolate cake, you wouldn’t reach for a recipe book or call grandma anymore, you’d reach for your phone and ‘Google it.
Google’s Answer Box is the top of the top; it simultaneously beats every other search engine result, grabs your attention and gets clicked on the most by internet users. Getting your content featured is an opportunity to increase your brand awareness, traffic, sales and countless other things. Not to mention, digital assistants like Alexa and Siri pull their voice search results from answer boxes.
So, it’s important. But how do we get there?
Find The Keyword Sweet Spot
Step into the mind of the online world. What are people asking, and what answer do they want back? The key lies in the words.
Using search analytic tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, you can determine which phrases users are searching for and how this can trigger your content to appear in the SERPS. If your subject is too broad – such as a single piece of universal knowledge,- Google will probably answer it without a citation back to your site. If your topic is too narrow with a low search volume, your answer will lack relevancy. In both cases, your site will be ignored so it’s important to find a happy medium.
So what’s your best bet? Leapfrogging the competition. If there is a current Answer Box for your query, you can effectively earn the throne by providing stronger content and a relevant answer by reformatting your content and site.
How To Hit That Answer Box
We know what an Answer Box is, and what type of keywords we’ll be targeting, but what are some actionable steps that will help our sites feature in that elusive position?
1. Provide the Correct Answer
Who would have thought? One of the most important steps to featuring in an Answer Box is to actually answer the user’s questions. Incorrect answers will rarely feature and if they do, they’ll be brought down quickly by Google. Content is king, and writing insanely good web copy is key.
- Keep answers clear and concise
- Keep answers below 100 words (rule of thumb)
- Target keywords on-page
- Make sure your spelling and grammar is on point
Google’s purpose is to serve correct and useful information to the user, and if you’re not doing that, enjoy being just another blue link in the SERP.
2. Structure Your Content
Everybody loves a list, right? Google is no different. Serving your content in easy-to-consume formats will boost your chances of featuring in the Answer Box. So, use:
- Numbered lists
- Unordered lists
- Tables to display your data
- Graphs or charts
Structuring your content via these methods ensures it’s easily consumable to both users and Google. You get your Answer Box and the user gets their answer. Everyone is happy!
3. Correct HTML Markup + Add Schema
Having clean HTML is crucial. It enables Search Engines to understand your topic, and to check you’ve provided the correct answer. Things to look out for include:
- Use H1 through to H6 tags – putting target question in a heading tag and the exact keyword in H1 will improve chances of featuring
- Keep HTML error free – use w3Validator to check your page.
- Serve information on a platter to crawlers via ‘HowTo’ Schema Markup.
- Make sure your site is FAST
- Optimise images with ALT Text, Title & Image Name
Google loves it when we make things easy for them. By having clean HTML along with Schema Markup, we’re keeping it simple for all parties.
P.S. Shout out to the nerds, your work doesn’t go unnoticed.
We actually did a little experiment with one of our own blogs on How to Rank PDFs using the steps set out above and voilà!
Why You Don’t Want To Be No. 1
Getting into Google’s Answer Box is all about optimising smart, not hard.
You don’t have to be ranking #1 in the SERPs results to hit the Answer Box. If you optimise well, focus on your customers’ needs and concentrate on the important things, you’ll gain that Answer Box throne in no time.
P.P.S. We’re also the answer box that comes up if you search for the cutest robots… And that’s pretty cool too.
Been knocked out of your Answer Box position, or have a burning question that no one else can answer? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll help you out.
Or drop us a line or two to see how we can help on a larger scale – we’re not digital architects and knowledge leaders for nothing.