How to Be the Content in the Enviable Google Answer Box

How to Be the Content in the Enviable Google Answer Box

How do you get to be that answer? Start with lessons from Courtney Cox Wakefield, who talked voice search and the Google answer box in her Content Marketing World presentation Achieving Position 0: Optimizing Your Content to Rank in Google’s Answer Box. What is Google’s answer box? On the search engine results page, the answer box lists what Google deems is the best answer to the query. While brands in position one capture 26% of clicks for search results without featured snippets, they can capture 28.2% of clicks for search pages with featured snippets if their content is the featured snippet and position one. Next, Courtney says, “Take the questions that you found from your sales team, your frontline staff, or your call center and start typing them into Google.” Look at the contextual clues from Google through its people-also-ask and searches-related-to content to further inform your keyword list. Your competitor in search is the brand in the featured snippet for the keyword you want to rank for. Answer the question below it. I’ll click to visit the site providing the content in the answer box. How are you doing getting your content into the answer box?

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The keyboard and mouse may soon become relics.

By 2020, 30% of web-browsing sessions will be done without a screen as voice-first interactions rise, according to Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Predictions for 2017 and Beyond.

With voice search, your inquiry receives a single answer, which is determined by what’s in Google’s answer box.

How do you get to be that answer? Start with lessons from Courtney Cox Wakefield, who talked voice search and the Google answer box in her Content Marketing World presentation Achieving Position 0: Optimizing Your Content to Rank in Google’s Answer Box.

What is Google’s answer box?

On the search engine results page, the answer box lists what Google deems is the best answer to the query. It’s positioned below the search query and above the organic results. (Note: Not every search includes an answer box.) Interchangeable terms for the answer box include: “position zero,” “featured snippet,” and “instant answer.”

Courtney shows the search results for “why can’t my kid sleep?” The answer box includes content from Courtney’s employer, Children’s Health:

“It’s styled a little bit differently from other results that are on the page. The font is larger, it’s highlighted with this shadow around it, and the answer text is positioned above the blue link,” says Courtney.

Voice searchers will hear the excerpt in the answer box read aloud. Conventional searchers see the answer box as the top position on the page. As Courtney says, “…(I)f you’re in the right location, you’re going to get the most traffic.” She uses the famous quote from British real estate tycoon Lord Harold Samuel to emphasize that sentiment:

Courtney shares a visual from Ahrefs’ research on featured snippet data:

Courtney views the result with a positive lens. While brands in position one capture 26% of clicks for search results without featured snippets, they can capture 28.2% of clicks for search pages with featured snippets if their content is the featured snippet and position one.

How to be the Google answer

Step 1: Keyword research

While there’s a time and place for software tools – Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, etc. – Courtney says to throw them out in this step.

Courtney recommends you talk to customers as well as your colleagues in sales. If it’s hard to schedule time with them, Courtney says, “Just go sit in on a sales meeting or two. Those can be really insightful.”

In addition, “Speak to the people who work in your call center and the people that answer your phones at the front desk. They have information about your customers that the folks in marketing don’t,” she says.

Hone in on how people are asking their questions. As Courtney says, “What language are customers using when they’re asking questions?” Build your keyword list around those phrases.

Next, Courtney says, “Take the questions that you found from your sales team, your frontline staff, or your call center and start typing them into Google.”

Look at the contextual clues from Google through its people-also-ask and searches-related-to content to further inform your keyword list.

Step 2: Competitor research

“The competitors you have in the real world aren’t necessarily the competitors that you have in search,” says Courtney. Your competitor in search is the brand in the featured snippet for the keyword you want to rank for.

To start the competitive-research process, take the keyword list from Step 1. Type each into the search bar. Make detailed notes about the featured…

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