Google’s Rich Answers and How It Can Benefit You

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When it comes to blog posts, we are by default always aiming to rank number one in Google. But it is possible to get better than number one – really!

The answer is to make the most of ‘Rich Answers’ – the correct term for the featured answers/snippets you will find in the information box when you search for a specific term or question.

This feature is nothing new, but it has become an even more prominent part of Google for instructions, answers etc.

Google splits the results for rich answers into three categories and will appear as:

Featured Snippets

These answers are extracted by Google from third party websites and are displayed above any organic search results. For example, if we were to type in ‘how to jumpstart a car’:

featuredsnippet

You will notice a featured snippet from dummies.com (even though Halfords ranks at number 1.) The information is incomplete, encouraging readers to click through to the site for further information. As you can imagine this is great for driving traffic to dummies.com. Whilst original data is used in the example snippet above, Google may also use other formats such as charts, tables, sliders, maps and forms. However, in some instances you may deem it more useful to be ranking at position 1 for this term rather than appearing as an answer as people may not click through to your site if they have already read the information they were looking for.

Answers provided by Google

Although these are not useful for your website, it is important that you know for simple questions such as ‘How many states are there in America?’ Google will draw answers from official data or public domain sites such as Wikipedia.

googleanswers

Basic Snippets

These are often shown within the regular web search results. However, you need a basic knowledge of HTML to implement the mark-ups in your content using schema.org.

Those are the three categories of Rich Answers; however the opportunity for SEO for you will lie within Featured Snippets.

So, here is the question you are thinking:

How Can I Get a Featured Snippet for My Site?

It does appear, though, that all the pages we saw appearing as Featured Snippets were in the top 10 of Google’s results. In recent years, user engagement and content quality have become important ranking factors but, as the Moz data suggests, high quality links remain the top contributor to ranking. More recently, Google has also started using artificial intelligence as a contributor to ranking with a new algorithm they call RankBrain. Find out more on how to get higher rankings here.

Content wise, what you can do is:

  • Answer common questions
  • Make it easy for users to get the answers they want
  • Consider making content modifications
  • Make sure that Google discover these pages quickly, by sharing them in Google+ etc. and by using the URL Submit tool in Google’s Search Console.

Good luck!

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