What is Google Quick Answers?
Google Quick Answers – highly-visible text snippet answers and links placed at the top of the Google SERPs – were observed to provide a huge boost in organic traffic. Quick Answers appear up to 40% of the time for some types of queries.
In September 2014 Google introduced a new method of presenting content relevant to “how to…” or “what is…” queries, where Google takes content from specific web pages and features it in the “Quick Answers” box just above the 1st organic result in SERP and just below paid listings. In addition to the content, Google Answers also provides a link to the page with this content. In its 2018 reintroduction to featured snippets, among which it includes Quick Answers snippets, Google defined them as a tool to “help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description and when they click on the link to read the page itself.”
In some instances, Google also adds an image from the page, in the top right corner of the Quick Answers box. We at Adobe noticed images appear when logged in Google account (a history of visiting a site triggering it), but sometimes even without a history, probably as a part of Google testing.
What makes content and links appear in Quick Answers?
Pages that Google selects for Quick Answers on our site are high authority pages with quality, well-structure content that is theme-relevant and optimized for a great user experience and answer specific questions closely matching the query.
Below is a sample page that is featured in Google Answers. This page was created to answer specific questions that users might have about a particular feature and has variety of quality content relevant to the theme of the query.
The page was optimized for a great user experience: a well-structured “How-To” guide (marked in red), a video tutorial, detailed explanation of the feature and its applications, links to related features, PDFs and other resources like help and support.
From the technical SEO standpoint, we need to ensure that page is a part of a site structure, is referenced from other pages with theme-relevant linking and is included in XML Sitemaps for better crawling (use HrefLang XML Sitemap if pages are present in multiple geos).
How high does the page need to rank in order to be featured in Quick Answers?
Usually a page that is ranking #1 in organic results would also be featured in Quick Answers. However, we also observe instances when our pages are in the Google Answers box, even when these pages are not top ranking pages in Google and ranking on positions 2-4. In such cases our pages are preferred for Quick Answers listing when they compete with authority pages that don’t have theme-relevant content and are not well-structured.
Google has recently noted that it plans to change the way featured snippets like Quick Answers work by introducing more than one featured snippet on a single SERP. This could potentially shift the strategy, as certain Quick Answer SERPs may now have several slots in which to appear, instead of just one.
Google Answers is making its way to Geos. Thus far we saw it appearing in countries with English as a primary language, for example, Canada, UK, India, Australia.
It’s interesting to note that when pages are positioned well for Geo targeting (with implementation of HrefLang Sitemaps and localization for local English), Quick Answers features content and local URLs in corresponding Geo SERPs.
Measuring the impact of Google Answers in BrightEdge
When Quick Answers were just introduced and we started to see our pages appearing there, we measured the impact in terms traffic and CTR from SERPs using Adobe web analytics and Google Webmaster Tools, and, not surprisingly, we saw solid increase.
What we needed to add was a more formal and easier tracking method that would allow us to understand how many of our keywords in the “how to” theme are ranking in Google Answers. BrightEdge platform is now enabling us to do just that.
Quick Answers ranking report is now a part of the Keyword report, where we can measure aggregate rankings of a particular keyword group.
Same report also provides details for each keyword in the group.
How to optimize for and rank in Google Quick Answers:
- Select a topic that is interesting for your users
- Create quality content relevant to the theme
- Structure the page with user experience in mind
- Implement SEO practices to achieve higher rank
- Provide useful information that can include videos, PDFs, details, and links to other relevant topics
- Yes – and don’t forget to provide a How-To list
- Measure the impact
I expect to see this post in the Quick Answers box soon.