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How Bloggers Can Benefit From Google’s Rich Answers

Rich answers

By digital marketing expert Jim Stewart of StewART Media

We’ve always been told that the aim for our blog posts is to be number one. That achieving first position on page one of Google through organic traffic is the target of any blog or online business.

Well what if I was to tell you that you can now climb higher than number one? – because you can! And it  makes a world of difference to your traffic.

I’m going to show you how utilising a particular feature of Google can help you to a prominent position on the first page of Google – making good use of Rich Answers.

What are rich answers?

If you’ve ever searched for a particular term, or have been seeking the answer to a particular question, you will have noticed that above the list of organic search results there is an information box.

This information box contains a short answer to your search query and is Google’s way of attempting to answer your search without requiring you to click through to a website. The official moniker for this box is ‘rich answers,’ but it is also referred to as ‘featured answers,’ or ‘featured snippets.’

The feature has been around for some time, but is now prominent for recipes, maps, some product searches, and quick answers.

Google splits the results for rich answers into three distinct categories:

1. Featured Snippets

Google extracts these answers from third party websites and displays them above the organic search results.

For example, If we were to type in a particular question:

Why bloggers can benefit from rich answers

You will see that Google has extracted the information from a third-party website, in this case bbcgoodfood.com. You will notice that the information is incomplete, encouraging readers to click through to the website for further information. That is great for bbcgoodfood.com!

2. Answers provided by Google

Also displayed at the top of the page, above the organic results, these are answers drawn from official data or public domain sites such as Wikipedia.

For example, if we were to ask the question: “How old is Malcolm Turnbull?” you would see this result:

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 2.24.31 pm

 

You can see it is a clear answer to the question provided directly from Google. The information provided answers the question directly, but Google also provides additional information that it thinks the reader may be interested in, such as fellow politicians underneath and an information box to the right containing personal details for Malcolm Turnbull.

Basic Snippets:

These enhance regular search results. The downside is that you need a basic knowledge of HTML to implement the mark-ups in your content using schema.org.

Further Reading

What are the benefits of rich answers?

The beauty of rich answers is that you don’t have to rank number one in organic search results to be the featured answer. The aim is to explicitly or implicitly pose a question then answer it in your content.

I recommend establishing the question, query, or key phrase, in the blog title, then answer within the first couple of paragraphs before sprinkling variations on the keywords or search query throughout the copy.

The results can be amazing.

We recently achieved a rich answer for problogger.net. The site was already ranking No.1 organically, but there was a rich answer above us that we aimed to depose. Our normal No.1 position appeared for about 50 different search phrases, but when we finally achieved the rich answer position it covered over 150 phrases. 

This means that Google will show the same rich answer far more often than it will show the same No.1 organic spot.

As an example, if you type into Google: “make money blogging,” you will see problogger.net has the rich answer result and the No.1 organic result. However, (at the time of publishing) when you type, “how do you make money blogging”, you will see ProBlogger has the rich or featured answer but organically the site ranks about No.6 or so.

How bloggers can benefit from rich answers

You can achieve the coveted ‘position zero’ on Google by analysing and understanding what users are looking for. You can do that with checking your own data and insights, surveying your readers, doing a keyword search, and keeping up with what others in your niche are doing.

It is also worth spending some time exploring what areas of your subject matter are lacking in relevant content and utilising this knowledge to hone your own content to meet the needs of the user.

Directly answering a user’s question can see you claim the rich answer spot and hopefully drive more users to your website; increasing site traffic, building your audience and brand awareness in the process.

Jim Stewart, CEO of StewArt Media, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques. What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t worth knowing.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
Comments
  1. Hi Jim….

    Great post about using Rich Answers. Between can you suggest me a good WordPress plugin to create rich snippets?

    • Jim Stewart says: 07/04/2016 at 1:09 pm

      For rich answers you do not need a plugin as there is no structured data involved. Depending on what your content is there are many different plugins that could help you, if it’s structured data you’re looking for in your content. For instance recipe plugins will typically format recipes with structured data.

  2. I have always wondered about these Rich Answers, today you clarified another riddle for me. I think the reward is well worth the efforts. I would love if you would elaborate on the whole process a bit more. Especially about framing the query and deposing the incumbent.

  3. This is clever SEO, for a small group of people. Thanks.

  4. hey… It’s a really useful post for SEO ‘s people. I also didn’t get the rich answers from google because I didn’t know that how I get it.. Now I am familiar with the tricks to get rich answers from google.. Thanks for sharing such useful articles with us.. Keep sharing with us..

  5. Rich Snippet is an area that I always want to get into, but never got chance. Your article gives me more reason to invest my time in this. Thank you!

  6. Hello Jim
    This post is actually amazing as it introduces a new challenge for all the Seo’s to get into this rich answer position :D
    But you just throwed a trailer, you didn’t get to the depth of this valuable subject.
    I am eager to know the various tools involved for achieving this and does any algorithm works behind this?
    Thanks

  7. Hey, Jim!

    Excellent cover of the important yet often taken as mysterious one!

    I believe that it has made it so clear and easy to understand the types of content that have the ability to turn out content to be selected as the Rich Answer.

    I will sure experiment all of what you wrote in here at my place!

    Once again, thanks for writing it!

    ~ Adeel

  8. This is really informative.I am new to blogging and was unaware of “Rich Answers”. Although,I have seen an information box on the top, whenever I put a query on Google.But,after reading your blog,I came to know of a great way to boost traffic on a website.Thanks !

  9. Adebayo Adebiyor Toluwase says: 07/03/2017 at 7:40 am

    I like this article. It more needful please repackage it into a info-graphic post. I will like to catch that from you.

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