Google Quick Answers are the boxes of information that sometimes appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for certain queries, and are supposed to provide searchers with the information or answers they are looking for right on the SERP. Most of the time these answers are pulled from a particular website, which is displayed at the bottom of the Quick Answer Box.
If you use Google even semi-frequently, you have probably seen Quick Answers even if you didn’t know what they were or what they were called. The next section will go over a couple common examples of the different types of Quick Answers.
While Quick Answers all serve the same basic function of providing answers to queries directly in the SERP, the content can appear in a variety of forms and show up for different types of queries.
Example 1: Lists
One of the most common types of Quick Answers is a how-to guide or list that pops up in response to a question. For example, the image below shows the current Quick Answer for the question ‘how to change a tire:’
If we visit the page where Google is pulling the Quick Answer from, we can see that they are just pulling the H3 tags from the page and presenting them in a list format.
This is the ideal scenario for the website because they are currently the number 5 organic result on the SERP, but because they rank for the Quick Answer they show higher than the websites that organically outrank them. Furthermore, the Quick Answer Google is serving provides a list of steps needed to change a tire, but it doesn’t show any of the details under each step and the Quick Answer doesn’t include every step. This means that searchers will likely have to visit the website itself to really know how to change a tire, which is exactly what Bridgestone Tires wants to accomplish with this article.
Example 2: Excerpts
Quick Answers pulled from websites don’t always come from lists though. Sometimes Google will crawl the text of a site and present the answer in paragraph form. Here’s an example of this type of Quick Answer:
Like with the first example, telescope.org is benefitting from Quick Answers because despite not being the top organic result, their site is being displayed prominently above the true number 1 organic position. However, one problem for telescope.org is that most users won’t need to actually visit their site, as the answer has already been provided. That said, ranking for the Quick Answers gets them more traffic than they would otherwise, and it gets their website’s name out there too.
Example 3: Quick Answers To Non-Questions
Despite being called Quick Answers, sometimes a Quick Answer Box will show up without a question actually being asked. This is seen most often when searching for keywords like recipes, such as ‘apple pie recipe’:
In this scenario, Google understands that when someone searches for an apple pie recipe they are most likely looking for directions on making one. Therefore, they’ve pulled a list together from bettycrocker.com that satisfies that implied intent.
Example 4: Facts From Google
For some search queries, Google will provide the answer to the question from an undisclosed source. An example of this is the question ‘what time is it?’
While this is great for users, it’s not what a website would want to see as the Quick Answer for a result they want to rank for. This keyword could have plenty of search volume, but if the Google Quick Answer is going to immediately answer the question, ranking number 1 for this term is not much more useful than ranking number 100 for it.
Example 5: Tables
Another common type of Quick Answer is a table. Below is the Quick answer for the search term ‘best slow pitch softball gloves.’
This is a great Quick Answer because the information is well organized and cleanly presented, and encourages the user to click-through to the site.
Example 6: Downloads
The last type of Quick Answers that we’ve seen is Quick Answer boxes that link to specific product pages or downloads. For example, if you search for ‘download Photoshop,’ the Quick Answer looks like this:
I personally haven’t seen too many of these Quick Answers, and only ever for branded searches, but it’s possible Google could one day expand the prevalence and scope of these kinds of Quick Answers.
We’ve already begun to explain the importance of Google Quick Answers, but there are actually a lot of compelling reasons to try and create content that will show up as a Quick Answer. Let’s explore the main reasons now.
Optimizing your content for Google Quick Answers isn’t as difficult as you think. Keep the following 9 things in mind when developing and structuring your content:
For example, the question ‘why is the sky blue’ is asked a lot, so Google serves a Quick Answer.
Whereas a question like ‘does the ocean have a bottom’ has very few searches and doesn’t have a Quick Answer Box appear.
If we go back to our example about how long it takes the earth to revolve around the sun, we can see the page from where the Quick Answer is pulled from displays the answer right at the top of the page and clearly answers the question.
You can use SEMrush to check the Featured Snippets your site ranks for. Just enter in your domain, click on the Organic Research section of the left-hand menu, and then click on Featured Snippets.
You can also use the Brightedge Datacube to see your Quick Answers. Type in your domain, go to Content Strategies, and then select Quick Answers.
That’s it! Hopefully you’ve learned more about what Quick Answers are, why they matter, and how you can start ranking for them. If you’re looking for professional assistance to help your business rank for Quick Answers or need help with any digital marketing need, feel free to contact us at any time.