This week is about content strategy.
Increasingly, when you search on Google, people are typing in a question. “What is ___?” “How do I ___?” “Why is ___?”
If you’re lucky.. or your content is that good.. you may find your content as a rich answer. Rich answers are something that google is increasingly using when doing Google searches.
Try it. Search:
- How tall is Barack Obama?
- What movies are playing?
- What time is the Peanuts movie playing?
- Where is Bradley University?
- How do I bake a cake?
- Define SEO / What is SEO?
- 7^3 / What is what is 7^3?
- How do I get to Jump Simulation?
Maybe a bit much to prove a point, but as you can see there are many types of rich answers. Some, such as movie or event times, are pulled from websites and require special code for Google to read.
Others, such as locations and directions, are pulled from Google My Business. Asking Google to define a word, or how or what something is, is typically pulled from website content.
How to get a rich answer?
Marcus Tober, Founder/CTO of Searchmetrics Inc. presented at SMX Advanced, urging that you stop looking at keywords and start looking at topics.
The best way to get your content as a rich answer is to phrase it so that it is an answer to a question. You do not necessarily have to be ranked #1 in order to get your content as a rich answer. Tober reports there are times when the #5 rank is the rich answer!
Tober recommends the following process for creating website content that may be more likely to become a rich answer:
- Identify a simple question
- Provide a direct answer
- Offer value added info
- Make it easy for users and Google to find
Rich Answer Example
A piece of content I ghost-wrote for Jump Simulation has a rich answer for the question, “What is a Standardized Participant?”.
While Google does not always cite a source of content, it did in this case, linking to the blog that it pulled it from.
If you notice, the sentence Google pulled for the rich answer snippet is not the first sentence of the blog. I would still recommend having the answer closer towards the top of the page, but it is definitely not required to be the first thing on there.
You also don’t want it to be the only thing. There is still another 500-ish words left on the blog – the value added information. It’s there if someone wants the depth.
When your question is the rich answer, Tober found that website traffic increased, and when it lost the rich answer, traffic decreased. This is a great way to gain traction to your website, especially if you are not ranked #1.