What Is the Google ‘Rich Answer Box’ and Can You Optimise Your Content for It?

By Google, SEO

Have you ever entered a search query into Google only to find that the answer is presented before the search engine results, and you don’t need to click on any links to discover what it is you need to know? Search results of this nature are known as ‘rich answer’ or ‘answer box’ results. Try entering common search queries into Google search, and you’ll discover that there are many results which render this type of result. The information can be presented as either a concise informational paragraph or a list of numbered steps. The way in which the information is displayed depends on the source from which Google extracted the content.



Knowledge Graph Optimisation (KGO)

Rich answer boxes exist thanks to Google’s ongoing endeavours to present users with the information that is the most useful and appropriate for users searching for any given query. The need for quick information has only been intensified by the rapid increase in searches made from smartphones and other mobile devices. With search being more easily accessible on the go, users are increasingly looking for quick answers to questions to help them with something straight away.

In the summer of 2012, Google launched Google Knowledge Graph, a system which is able to understand facts about people, places and things along with how each of these entities are related to each other. AJ Kohn, who came up with the term ‘Knowledge Graph Optimisation’, also put together a series of guidelines and tactics to help connect your site’s information to the knowledge graph, such as writing in a natural manner, using structured data where appropriate, working to be featured on powerful sources such as WikiHow or Wikipedia, and carefully considering any external linking activities

Creating Content for Answer Boxes

Google favours websites which make their content easily accessible and engaging for their readers, and not only should webmasters strive to structure and optimise their content in line with best SEO practices, they should also work to create great content that uses structured data to help search engine algorithms to understand what it actually means. Great content always begins with a genuine purpose, and more specifically, has a topic which is useful to a certain audience. Many website owners make the mistake of simply creating content in order to target keywords, however the priority when creating content should always be the value to the user.

Optimising for Rich Answer Boxes

When it comes to optimising your site for rich answer boxes and Google’s Knowledge Graph, content is most certainly king. Although keyword research should never be ignored when creating content, it’s important that you display content on your site which meets the needs and interests of your target audience. Carrying out research in order to create research based content through customer profiling and buyer personas will ensure that your website is able to provide content which gives different user types a range of answers to the various questions which they are asking.

The key to getting closer to appearing in Google’s Rich Answer Boxes is to make sure that you answer the questions your users are asking.