Isn’t it great when you need the answer to a burning question, type it into Google and it appears, fully-formed, just dying to be answered?
This is the power of Google Answers – a saviour to anyone wanting to know how many eggs go in the perfect omelette, how many British Prime Ministers there have been or how many seasons Desperate Housewives was on for…
So, if you’re a business with a product to sell that would benefit from ranking high in Google’s Answer Box, is there a magical SEO trick you can be doing to ensure you’re up there with the best of them? Do you want your answer to be the answer?
Read on to discover how you can reach that bar set high by Google Answers and land your knowledge into their famous box.
What Is Google Answers?
Broken down, it’s when you type your question into the search bar and are presented with an answer straight away, without needing to click on any links and research any further.
A popular one might be searching for the age of a celebrity, for example. If you type ‘How old is Meryl Streep?’ into the search bar, you’ll be presented with an Answers Box (before you’ve even finished typing the question) that lists the Oscar winner’s age and date of birth.
This function works in line with the Knowledge Graph.
The Knowledge Graph
The Knowledge Graph is an artificial intelligence tool that indexes Google Answers and is responsible for those fast answers (like Meryl’s birthday). It used to be very niche – only providing answers to commonly asked questions.
Now it’s a lot more diverse, which means businesses have every chance of being able to employ SEO strategies to get their answers out there – or indeed, get their services listed within the Answers Box.
If your website is the one that gives an answer to the famous Box – consequently suggesting that the searcher visits your site and, as a result, your product – then you want to make sure you stay in that prime position to drive more site traffic.
Types of Google Answers Boxes
The way information is displayed in an Answer Box can vary, depending on what is being asked or searched for.
From brief informative snippets to longer paragraphs, charts, lists, news stories and images, this really depends on what information is being provided.
Tables and Lists
For example, searching for sporting results will produce a table-style answer, giving the searcher a straightforward, tabulated outcome to their query.
Meryl Streep’s birthday will flash up in bold text under the search bar, but a tabulated answer will tend to come from a question that requires a series of facts.
Sports results again being the example, other types of tables might include ‘types of wine’ or ‘best universities in California’. The same applies here for list-like searches: Questions such as ‘How many counties are there in England?’ might provide a list, as would ‘What are the counties in England?’
Some might even search for ‘List of English counties’ instead. These Google Answers will generate numbers or bulleted results, typically.
Paragraph answers will come from who, what, where, and when-style searches. ‘Who is Meryl Streep?’ will bring up a chunkier answer explaining who she is in a few lines.
These Answer Boxes are the most common type, according to research. If listed or chart-style results aren’t already out there for Google to pool from, it will bring up a paragraphed response.
Think about how information is set out on your site for more of an idea on how your own answers will show up in Google searches.
Getting Your Company Into Google Answers
This may seem like common sense but one of the best ways to ensure your company’s information features prominently in a relevant Google search or enquiry is to clearly explain on your website who you are and what you do.
What’s the Trick?
By doing this, you’ll feature in a prime position, beating off the sites that tend to feature at the top of Google Answers (sites like Wikipedia, IMBD, and government websites, etc.).
This can be tricky. Even powerhouses like Facebook have a link to Wikipedia in certain question searches before they link to Facebook itself.
But you can ensure your website link appears below the Google Answers Box, along with company information, contact details and links to your various social media.
The latter snippets of information will appear to the right of search results, thanks to the way the Knowledge Graph is formatted.
Here’s an Example…
Jeep, for example, demonstrates this beautifully. Googling the car brand will bring up official links galore. First, you’ll most likely get a sponsored ad for Jeep – but a relevant and official one.
Underneath you’ll get links to Jeep’s official Twitter, along with it’s most recent four tweets. The right-hand Knowledge Graph box will come up with a non-Wikipedia description of the company, along with images and suggestions of other Jeep-related searches (Cherokee, Renegade, Compass).
Beneath this will be local dealerships, latest vehicle models, recent news articles, or press releases.
Googling ‘What is Jeep’s history?’ will provide you with a Wikipedia run-down, but beneath this will be a link to Jeep’s official site’s history page (‘SUV’s Through the Decades’) which is potentially more enticing for someone searching via Google Answers.
What are Your Potential Customers Going to Ask?
You know that phrase, ‘If you’re going to catch a killer you need to think like a killer?’
It applies here too (not the killer part). You need to get into the mindset of those out there that will be searching for your type of service or product.
You also need to consider how those doing the searching will actually want to receive the information via Google Answers. In terms of your prospective searchers, will your content, as it is on your website, actually satisfy the users’ queries? Will it ultimately answer their question in the directest way it can?
Remember that people have short attention spans, are impatient, and expect immediate results and quick answers from a Google search. This isn’t greed – it’s what we have gotten used to. Questions can indeed be immediately resolved and people don’t have the time or energy to spend minutes scrolling through what should be a simple answer.
Is the Truth Already Out There?
Research how you might appear in Google Answers. Conduct the searches that your customers might be planning on conducting – again, get in their heads, and see if there are already answers readily out there.
If there are, what’s the format of the answer? Is it the most effective? Is this how you want your own content to be displayed?
If there aren’t, would an Answer Box be helpful? Is there a need for one when it comes to your product or service?
It’s key to make sure your potential Google Answers aren’t going to be formatted and displayed in a non-effective way. What you don’t want is to drive away those searching for your service by delaying their information search with badly formatted answers.
Impatience comes into it again here: People will give up easier or find their information out using a different search term or in other ways.
If you Google ‘Used cars San Francisco Bay Area’, Google provides a Craigslist link specifically dedicated to the Bay Area’s used car and truck sellers. Underneath this is Auto Trader. Then, underneath this is a list of used car dealerships, namely Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and Toyota.
This list is actually potentially too specific, choosing instead to categorize by car rather than list companies that offer a variety of used car types. You might not necessarily want a Mercedes after all.
Once you have chosen your format, you need to work this into your website’s code and data in order to produce the Answer Box you think works best.
Structured Data and Meta Data
If you want to tailor and design what happens when you Google your company, your own Knowledge Graph Box can be tweaked via the structured data on your website. This assists Google in understanding what your business is, and is only beneficial to your potential Answers Box.
It’s technically out of your control whether or not your site is the source of information for the Answer Box. But you can curve things so that you are the next thing someone using Google Answers will see. Your meta description is the key here.
Make sure that this data is detailed enough to offer the information you want people to know when they search for you (or if they conduct a related search) via Google.
Think about what your web page offers beyond the question you are expected. This will drive people to you via Google. Use the meta description to your advantage here.
Being an Industry Leader via Google Answers
Which questions relate closely to your specific industry or service?
For example, a company that provides language learning services might want to include a page that lists the most spoken languages in the world. Alongside this, they may add information, such as which countries these languages are spoken in.
Then, if someone types into Google ‘What are the most spoken languages in the world?’, your chances of ranking high are greater. With something like this, it’s likely to be a lot more niche. This can work to your advantage.
If someone asks ‘What are the most commonly learnt languages in the world?’or ‘What are the most commonly taught languages in the world?’, then you are more likely – as a language learning service – to rank higher.
If you are one of the highest language teaching services on that answers page, think of how many clicks will follow. Include information about how your business teaches those languages so that it immediately draws in the person doing the research.
Pepper this with further information about your methods of learning, your credentials, your pricing, and your success rates. By joining forces with another related company – not a competitor – you can offer a referral commission and boost search rankings even further.
Products and Services via Google Answers
Are you a tech company that offers a downloadable product or service?
If so, you need to ensure your website provides the information to lead the searcher in the direction of the official download. Google Answers will presume that those searching for a software product, for instance, are actually hoping to buy and download it too.
Backlinks are your friends in this case. If you’re able to build a backlink profile that includes a download in your anchor text, your chances of appearing in results as the official resource are far more promising.
In this case, it’s advisable to make sure there’s a page on your company’s website that is optimized for downloading your product. All of this tells Google and the Knowledge Graph that you’re the go-to source for the official download.
As you’re cutting out the potential middleman of ads, you will receive all the profit here. If you direct your customers to purchase your product directly from your Answer Box – rather than from an ad or third party reseller – you won’t have to split the profits.
Getting SEO Right
Search Engine Optimization is key when it comes to driving traffic via Google to your business. You will rank higher and, as a result, bring in more clients and make more sales.
If you’re looking for a unique combination of strategy, creative marketing, and technical expertise (and a proven successful track record) contact TopSpot to find out how we can build custom-tailored solutions that allow you to expand your reach and profitability.
Our team is here to get businesses and their potential customers connected. Using exciting and innovating services, methods, and strategies, we are creating online customer experiences that people are talking about.
It’s all about having the edge. And with our help, we can assist you in the world of SEO, Google rankings, and Answer Boxes, ensuring your traffic is getting to you quickly and successfully.