Recently, I discovered that AdJuice was appearing in Google’s Answer Box for search queries like what is SEO in layman terms?
Google’s Answer Box is the section that sometimes appears above the free search results and below any paid advertisements and which contains an expanded extract from a page which Google deems to provide a good answer to the question, either explicit or implicit, in the user search query.
Below is what I saw in the search results. AdJuice appeared in both the Answer Box and the organic results.
How Did I Discover We Were in the Answer Box?
The way I discovered we were in the Answer Box was not simply by conducting the above search query. The first thing I noticed was in Google Analytics that our page “What is SEO in Layman’s Terms?” was receiving more visits. I’m not talking gazillions – just enough for it to catch my attention. I then looked in Google Search Console and found that the page was generating more impressions and clicks than it had in the past. Clearly, something had changed and it was only then that I carried out a few test searches.
Why Was Our Page Appearing in the Answer Box?
When I first wrote the page many years ago, I realised that competing for the top spots in Google for searches like what is SEO? was not going to be easy, especially given all the big agencies and longer established SEO experts out there who had already written superb answers to the question. So I chose an angle where I thought I could compete for less competitive queries but which might still be used by people who were just trying to get an explanation of SEO in simple terms. The longer query “What is SEO in Layman’s Terms?” is more specific and therefore less competitive in SEO terms.
Also, the page picked up a handful of links from other sites. Again, not gazillions but probably enough to help nudge us into the Answer Box. I also answered exactly the same question that had been posted in Quora and was able to link back to my page, albeit a nofollow link.
Of course, this is all with hindsight. The Answer Box did not exist when I wrote the page. I just wanted to compete in the organic results.
How Do You Optimise Your Content To Appear in the Answer Box?
In addition to the above, here are some top tips for appearing in Google’s Answer Box:
1. Choose a topic relevant to your website and research in Google to see if Answer Boxes already exist for queries related to that topic.
2. Create a new page or enhance an existing page such that your page answers the queries even better than the existing Answer Box entries. On the web, answering better often means answering more comprehensively and going into greater depth.
3. Make sure your page, including all the usual on-page SEO elements like titles, descriptions, image alt text etc., is well-optimised for the specific query or queries you’re targeting.
4. Try and acquire links to that page, ideally using the target query in the link anchor text and also ideally acquiring dofollow links.
5. Use structured markup where appropriate.
6. Link to related resources (as I have below).
7. Make use of “how to’s” to answer as many closely related questions as possible which allows you at the same time to include various forms of the targeted search queries in your page content.
8. Last and perhaps most important of all, make sure the content is useful and written with the user in mind. Our page “What is SEO in Layman’s Terms” has an average read time of more than 6 minutes.
Optimize Your Site for Google Answer Box from Search Engine Journal
Optimizing For The Google Quick Answers Box from Search Engine Land
How to Appear in Google’s Answer Boxes from Rand at Moz.com
How to Optimize Your Content For Google Answer Boxes from Seer Interactive
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