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Optimizing Your Content For The Featured Answer Box

In Today’s video we’re keeping with the keyword theme, but we’re specifically going to talk about how some keywords return a featured answer box in Google’s Search Results page. Some people might call this the rich answer or direct answer box – as it stems from the knowledge graph.

We’ll answer the questions, what is the featured answer box and what are the different types, why is it important to consider optimizing for, and how to structure and optimize your content in order to obtain a placement in this box.

So let’s dive in.

What is the featured answer box?

The Featured Answer box is often referred to as position 0 for organic placement. It is an organic result returned for a specific search term that Google deems best answers of the keyword or search query.

There are different types of featured answer boxes – three main types in fact.  The most popular being the paragraph snippet, then the list snippet and then the table snippet – you’ve likely seen all of these in search results one point or another. We’ll dive into more detail on each of these types when we look at how to optimize for them.

Before we get into that, I want to quickly touch on the importance of these featured snippets and why you should be paying attention to them and trying to optimize for them.

Firstly, they can increase click through rate by up to 400% compared to a first place organic placement. This means if you were ranking at the first place of the organic results for a keyword and you then achieved the featured answer box, you could get 4x the amount of traffic from that single keyword. Of course this means that there will be a lot more eyeballs on your content and brand – demonstrating authority and trust within your industry, which is another huge reason to be focusing on and optimizing for featured answers.

Another reason to optimize for featured answers is because that is the type of content that Google likes. If Google thinks this content best answers the search query, the better you do to align your content with what they think is the best, is only going to help your overall site authority, and visibility when scaled across all your content on your website.

So the big question now is, how? How do we obtain a placement in the featured answer box? How can we optimize our site and our content to be considered.

To answer this question, we need a few things:

1. Long-form content that covers the topic in detail. We need to establish this content as an authority on the topic, and this is easier if you have excellent long-form content. It’s possible without it, but it helps to have it.

2. A first-page ranking. Almost all of the results in the featured answer boxes are from pages that are already ranking on the first page organically for that search term. Focusing on the basics of SEO – improving site and page authority and content.

3. Reverse engineer the content of the featured answer box and optimize yours to match. What I mean by that is we need to look closely at the featured answer box that is there right now.

So lets assume we’re trying to obtain placement for the search query “When should I retire.” This is a pretty general, top of the funnel keyword, that many financial services companies may want to target. The first thing we need to do is the see what is being returned now.

In this case, it’s likely a paragraph snippet, with references to specific ages and and some sort of absolute answer. If you explore the content on the page, it’s likely long-form content with a specific heading somewhere – maybe the page title, but possibly a header 2 or 3 – that specifically asks the question you searched for. Under which, is the answer that Google returned.

This is typically how to optimize for a paragraph snippet – as these types of snippets are often returned for “what” or “when” or “why” type questions. In this case, create long-form content that covers the topic in detail, and call out specifically the question or query that you want to to obtain the featured box for in a heading or sub-heading, and be direct with your answer under that heading.

For most “how to” related queries, you’ll likely get a list snippet – so focus on producing a list in your content. For comparative searches like best or top or something vs something, you may end up with a table snippet, so consider building that content out into a table.

Remember, the content in the featured answer box is what Google things is the best answer for this search query – that means there is a lot we can learn from the result that’s already there.

I’m going to leave things here for now, I may revisit this topic in the future so if you’d like to hear more about featured answers please do let us know.

Hope everyone is having a great day and we’ll see you next week.

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Adam Bate

Adam is the older brothers here at SEO Brothers. While he is not deep diving into optimizing websites, he's hanging out with his wife and three children in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada.

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