Optimizing For Google Quick Answers

What are Google Quick Answers?

Google Quick Answers are highly-visible text snippet answers and links placed at the top of the Google SERPs and were observed to provide a huge boost in organic traffic. Quick Answers appear up to 40% of the time for some types of queries.

In September 2014 Google introduced a new method of presenting content relevant to “how to…” or “what is…” queries, where Google answer box takes content from specific web pages and features it in the “Quick Answers” box just above the first organic result in SERP and just below paid listings. 

In addition to the content, Google Answers also provides a link to the page with this content. In its 2018 reintroduction to featured snippets, among which it includes Quick Answers snippets, Google defined them as a tool to “help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description and when they click on the link to read the page itself.” When users click on a featured snippet such as a Quick Answer, Google will take the user right to the answer text on the page.

In some instances, the answer box also adds an image or several images from the page.

Find How You Rank For Featured Snippets

Answer Box Images

Appearing in Google Quick Answers

Pages that Google finds and selects for Quick Answers on our site are high authority pages with quality, well-structure content that is theme-relevant and optimized for a great user experience and answer specific questions closely matching the query for the Google answer box. Below is a sample page that is featured in Google Answers.

This page was created to answer specific questions that users might have about a particular feature and has variety of quality content relevant to the theme of the query. The page was optimized for a great user experience: a well-structured “How-To” guide (marked in red), a video tutorial, detailed explanation of the feature and its applications, links to related features, PDFs and other resources like help and support.

Google Answers How To Guide

From the technical SEO standpoint, we need to ensure that page is a part of a site structure, is referenced from other pages with theme-relevant linking and is included in XML Sitemaps for better crawling (use HrefLang XML Sitemap if pages are present in multiple geos).

Google Answers Infographic

How high does the page need to rank in order to be featured in Quick Answers?

Usually a page that is ranking in the first position in organic results would also be featured in Quick Answers. However, we also observe instances when our pages are in the Google Answers box, even when these pages are not top ranking pages in Google and ranking on positions two to four.

In such cases our pages are preferred for Quick Answers listing when they compete with authority pages that don’t have theme-relevant content and are not well-structured. Google has recently noted that it plans to change the way featured snippets like Quick Answers work by introducing more than one featured snippet on a single SERP. This could potentially shift the strategy, as certain Quick Answer SERPs may now have several slots in which to appear, instead of just one. 

Google Answers Google Example

Google Answers Geo targeting

Google Answers is making its way to Geos. Thus far we saw a rise in answer box appearing in countries with English as a primary language, for example, Canada, UK, India, Australia.

It’s interesting to note that when pages are positioned well for Geo targeting (with implementation of HrefLang Sitemaps and localization for local English), Quick Answers features content and local URLs in corresponding Geo SERPs.

Google Answers Url

Measuring the impact of Google Answer Box in BrightEdge

When Quick Answers were just introduced and we started to see our pages appearing there. We measured the impact in terms traffic and CTR from SERPs using Adobe web analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, and, not surprisingly, we saw solid increase for Google Answer box. What we needed to add was a more formal and easier tracking method that would allow us to understand how many of our keywords in the “how to” theme are ranking in Google Answers.

BrightEdge platform is now enabling us to do just that to score a Google Answer box or two. Quick Answers ranking report is now a part of the Keyword report, where we can measure aggregate rankings of a particular keyword group. The same report also provides details for each keyword in the group.

Quick Answer Data Brightedge

  1. Select a topic that is interesting for your users. You can use Data Cube and Instant to find keywords with high search volumes that your audience is interested in learning more about. 
  2. Create quality content relevant to the topic. If your content doesn’t answer the question the user is looking for, you’re likely to miss out on the answer box.
  3. Structure the page with user experience in mind. If your page isn’t easily accessible or doesn’t load quickly, users will leave your page and move on. This is a signal to Google that your page isn’t a quality page.
  4. Implement SEO best practices to achieve higher rank for Google Answers box.
  5. Provide useful information that can include videos, PDFs, details and links to other relevant topics. Don’t leave your visitors hanging on one page. Offer other information throughout your page to drive them to remain on your site.
  6. Add a how-to list, a numbered list or bullet points. If your audience is searching how to complete a task, be sure to make the answer easy for them to understand with a short list of steps to take. An example is the list you’re reading right here, right now!
  7. Measure the impact. Track your page rank with Page Reporting.

For more information, download the free BrightEdge white paper on Quick Answers.


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