How to get featured in the Google Answer Box

By now you should all have seen the Google answer boxes come up in your search results, but just how do you get your site in them?
It’s still in it’s testing stage as the Google answer box has now made its way over to the UK since its inception to Google in mid-2014. It’s still debated over whether this is a feature that’s here to stay, but what we do know is that it can be hugely beneficial to driving traffic to your website.
But first, what exactly is this box?
The answer boxes display above organic search results in order to help users quickly see the answers to questions they ask; this can include definitions, quick summaries, formula, etc. In the majority of cases, this space has favoured the content of Wikipedia to quickly answer questions, however now other websites have been chosen to feature. What do you need to do to feature?
Optimise your pages
Place on the first page of Google organically
A lot of backlinks to your site
A good amount of content on your pages
Your pages should begin with the answer to the question that page aims to answer
Your content should be of greater quality compared to competitors
Low bounce rate
People clicking through from landing page to rest of website
People spending a large amount of time on website
Luck
Luck again in 3 months time
What’s already believed is that the answers are selected manually, and this archaic method of picking and choosing answers using a person behind a computer means that it can take between 2 and 3 months for your well-optimised page to feature in the Google answer box. This does however mean that it is imperative that your “answer” is clear, simple, and short, in order for this person to read it and choose it as the best answer to be featured. How are you supposed to be featured if you provide a convoluted answer right at the bottom of your page? No no no.
When your site is featured in the Google answer box, there will be a link to your website which means that users can click through to find out more. This is another reason why your answer only needs to be basic and short. It’s almost like a teaser for the rest of the awesome content you’ve got on your site. We’re over the moon at the moment as one of our clients Amplitude Clinical has just been featured as the answer to “clinical outcomes”. We built their site from scratch in December last year and initially they were not scoring on any of their keywords. Now, they’re top of Google’s organic search results, are scoring on over 15 keywords, and there in the Google answer box. We’re looking forward to seeing what effect this has on website traffic and whether this leads to further leads and conversions. Expect a case study in the future.
We’ll just quickly take you through the Hummingbird Algorithm. According to an article in The Huffington Post, ‘The key here is that with Google’s Hummingbird update last year, the prominence of semantic search and conversational searches has increased greatly. Google’s attempts at incorporating these aspects into its search results has seen a fairly dramatic increase in answer boxes, as well as in-depth articles and knowledge graph search results – all of which hinge on expert quality content.’
The algorithm does also take into account bounce and click-through rates, as well as time spent on pages, but now with the added semantic and conversational aspects, it’s going to be interesting seeing what kinds of answers are provided or chosen.
If you find that an answer is incorrect have no fear. All answer boxes feature a ratings feature where you can leave your comments or report the answer, so if a lot of people have a problem with an answer, it will be rectified.
It is tricky to work out what exactly prompts a Google answer box to appear, because it shows up for questions, one-word searches and even your typical generic searches. It is possibly tied in with the Hummingbird algorithm, but whilst it is still arguably being tested, it’s difficult to say. There is no guarantee that your site will be featured, but if you follow the guide above and ensure that you follow all the steps, you might just find yourself lucky in 3 months time.