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Have you ever entered a query into Google, and received an automatic answer? I don’t mean links to a site where you can find the answer—but the actual answer itself. Over the past year, Google has begun to pull content from a credible source, displaying it at the top of the SERP in the form of rich answers, and more specifically featured snippets.
Rich Answers Are on the Rise
When you type a question into Google, you are sometimes prompted with an immediate answer. According to a study by Stone Temple Consulting, Google returns rich answers to 35 percent of search queries. In the study, 855,243 search queries were examined back in December 2014, and again in July 2015. From the research, it was found that the number of questions Google answers with rich answers has grown, and is likely to continue to grow.
Types of Rich Answers
There are three different major categories that Google uses for Rich Answers. These include:
- Featured Snippets – These are results extracted by Google from third-party websites and shown at the top of the web search results.
- Answers provided by Google – Often public domain info, but sometimes from licensed data. These are also shown at the top of the web search results.
- Basic Snippets – These are often shown within the regular web search results. Implementation of schema can facilitate the process of getting these types of enhancements to your search listings.
So, what do rich answers mean for your SEO efforts? Let’s find out.
Get Your Website Featured in Google’s Rich Answers
If your company’s SEO plan is based off of long-tailed keywords or questions like, “When should I replace my furnace filter?” then you might need to change your strategy moving forward. If provided with a rich answer, users rarely click through to any of the other organic listings, even if you are ranked in the top 3 spots—which can be detrimental to getting new customers through organic search.
Google uses external data for 75% of its rich answers—and includes a link to its source. This means that if you create high-quality, proprietary content that will help to answer searchers’ questions, you could be featured as a rich answer. Getting featured in a rich answer can increase your site’s traffic A LOT. The CTR for clickable rich answers is two times better than regular SERPs that don’t include an answer.
Steps to Obtaining a Featured Snippet
You can no longer simply create content that will show up in the organic listings for a keyword or keyphrase. What makes Featured Snippets a unique opportunity for big wins is that obtaining a spot for your site isn’t dependent on your site’s authority. Which means you can attain a Featured Snippet for your site without having the highest authority out of the competitors, or without being the number one result in the regular SERPs—a win-win if you’re trying to jump above the regular search results and have your webpage featured as the expert.
You don’t want your company to simply be an authority, you want to be THE authority on the web. To increase your chances of being featured as one of Google’s rich answers, you should:
- Identify a simple question
- Provide a direct answer
- Offer valued added info
- Make it easy for users (and Google) to find
Stone Temple Consulting tested this method and had a 40% success rate for having their answers selected as Google’s Featured Snippet. They created videos that clearly answered each of their five questions AND added more value than the direct answer. Not only that, but they uploaded the entire transcript along with the video. Within three days, two of the pages were showing as a Feature Snippet, including:
Online Marketing & SEO from Blue Corona
If your site isn’t showing up in the Top 3 results of Google organic listings, you’re not maximizing your online real estate. As Google begins to answer more queries with Featured Snippets, it’s going to be harder and harder to achieve click-throughs to your site. Whether you need help starting an SEO campaign or improving your current strategy, our search engine optimization experts can help!
At Blue Corona, we offer online marketing services, including SEO. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
About The Author: Katie is an Organic Team Lead at Blue Corona. Outside of content creation and SEO, Katie enjoys stuffing her face with nachos, online shopping, and binge-watching Netflix.
View more blogs by Katie Birkbeck