When it comes to search engine optimization, ranking in the top spot is crucial for getting the most traffic.
However, as all marketers know, getting the coveted first position is challenging, especially when competing against some of the biggest brands in the world.
When you add pay-per-click advertising to the mix, some keywords may seem impossible to claim.
Fortunately, there’s another option: the Google Answer Box (GAB).
Focusing your attention on getting featured in the answer box can help you build stronger web traffic without having to invest so much time, energy, and money on a keyword.
So, with that in mind, let’s break down the basic elements of the answer box and how you can reach it.
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Why Target the Google Answer Box?
Ever since the answer box’s inception in 2015, it has become a coveted component of SEO marketing. There are a few reasons why you should pay attention to the GAB, including:
Rank Above Other Links
The answer box sits on top of all the rankings for a specific query. Even if another site has the top position on the page, you can still get above them by providing specific and relevant information.
Gain Voice Search Traffic
Automated assistants like Siri and Alexa often use the answer box to respond to voice queries.
Since these searches count toward your web traffic, you can dominate this kind of SEO. As more people start using voice search, this benefit will only become more valuable.
Improve Brand Recognition
One of the best ways to improve your standing within your niche is to become a respected authority. Being featured in the answer box regularly can help establish your brand as a valuable resource.
As a result, more people will seek you out when they need to know more information about topics within your industry.
How Google Answer Box Works
The purpose behind the GAB was to provide quick answers to commonly asked questions in a wide array of industries and niches.
Not all queries will generate an answer box, particularly those that relate to complex or broad subjects.
For example, asking, “How long to flip a house?” produces a featured snippet that gives a concise answer. Conversely, a query like, “How long to sell a house?” doesn’t have an answer box.
Basically, if a query has a clear and objective answer, it’s more likely to have an answer box. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t release information on how it chooses a link for the GAB, but the factors probably include elements like:
- Relevancy — Snippets that answer a question directly are more favorable than those that use generic language or ambiguous answers.
- Traffic — Google pays attention to sites with strong domain authority and a stable link network. So, websites that already generate decent traffic are likely to outperform those with limited visitors.
- Length — Answer box snippets are supposed to be targeted and concise. Rambling answers that run on for too many sentences won’t be able to fit in the box, so Google probably prefers shorter answers that get straight to the point.
Optimizing Content for Rich Snippets
While it’s impossible to know specifically how Google ranks sites for the answer box, there are a few strategies you can use to optimize your content for the GAB.
Keep in mind that organic optimization can take a while to generate results, so if you don’t get into the box immediately, don’t get discouraged.
Here are some of the best ways to optimize content for rich snippets:
Pay Attention to Your Niche
Some niches are more likely to have an answer box than others.
For example, the health, finance and government industries have far more answer boxes than retail and real estate. So, if you’re in a niche with fewer answer boxes overall, you must be more strategic about which keywords you rank for.
Find Keywords With Answer Boxes Already
The best way to know if you can get into a GAB is to establish if one exists already.
If there isn’t an answer box yet, Google probably won’t create one in the near future. In some cases, rewording the query slightly may generate a box, or viewing the query from a different perspective might as well.
Answer Multiple Questions
A FAQ section is useful for Google to tell that you’re an authority within a niche.
Having FAQ sections in most of your content (or on-site pages) can help Google index your site map more accurately. Also, FAQs related to a specific topic are more relevant for users, making them more valuable to Google.
Include the Query in the Answer
Another way to let Google know your rich snippet is relevant to a specific search query is to include the question in the answer.
So, if someone asks, “How to train for a marathon?” your answer should start with, “To train for a marathon, you must….”
Consider Who’s Asking the Question
Understanding user intent helps you create more relevant content that will generate a higher click-through rate (CTR).
The more targeted your answers are, the more likely Google will feature them in an answer box. While some answers are objective, you can frame them in a way that will engage readers with more in-depth information.
Research the Competition
Since most answer boxes will have stiff competition, you should see what other sites are doing to answer the query and determine how you can capture a reader’s attention better.
For example, maybe you need to make your answer more comprehensive, or perhaps you can add some entertaining language that makes it seem more appealing.
Another point to consider is that optimizing for the answer box is just one element of your SEO strategy.
You must also pay attention to every other component, such as providing high-value content, using keywords strategically, and adding visual elements. So, don’t use these tactics to supersede any others you should be using.
Get Answer Box-Worthy Content From Rock Content
Writing for the answer box is easier said than done, particularly if you’re not a professional writer. Fortunately, you don’t need to take English Lit classes at the learning annex.
Instead, you can connect with world-class writers in every niche via WriterAccess. We’re offering a free two-week trial, so you can experience answer box-worthy content for yourself and start getting more traffic tomorrow.