Google is always trying to enhance their search engine by making it easier for people to find exactly what they are looking for.  According to Moz, they update their algorithms over 3,000 times per year when they add new features to their results page, updating the metrics that they use to decide which websites rank at the top, and more. 

The biggest change of 2014, was the introduction of Google quick answers which now appear up to 40% of the time.  In this post, we will review what quick answers are, why they are the key to organic traffic, and how to rank for them. 

What are Google Quick Answers?

Organic search results are typically displayed in one of 3 places.  They can either appear as a regular listing, they could appear as an image, or they could appear as a Google quick answer.  

Today, we are focusing on the Google quick answers section.  It can then be broken down into a couple sections.  They could appear as a featured snippet which appears when you Google a question like, “What are the types of digital marketing?”. 

Google Featured Snippet as a quick answer.

The other option is that they could appear in the “People Also Ask” section.  This section usually appears after the featured snippet but can still drive traffic to your website if you answer the questions that are being asked.  The “People Also Ask” section usually appears when a user Googles a specific term or a question.  In the example below, I Googled “SEO” and these are the first few questions that Google thinks I am wondering about.  

Google quick answers people who ask section

Why Do I Want to Appear in Google Quick Answers?

Google is always looking for ways to make it as easy as possible for a user to find the answer to their questions.  When they implemented Google Quick Answers, it made it extremely easy for the user.  You want to appear on the quick answers because they appear at the very top of the Google search results page.  By appearing here, you will see an increase in your click-through-rate and ultimately an increase in traffic to your website. 

The regular web listings, sometimes don’t appear until you are half-way down the search results page which is not very helpful for you if you are looking to increase your traffic.  By appearing in the Google quick answers, you will be seen as an authority on the subject. 

How Do I Optimize For Google Quick Answers?

If you are looking to optimize for Google quick answers, you can do a few different things.  

  1. Make sure that your post is answering the questions that pop-up when you Google the keyword that you are attempting to rank for.  You want to make sure that you are answering it thoroughly but not including fluff because Google will catch you.
  2. Put lots of bullets or tables throughout your content so that your content is easily scannable.  Google likes to see content that is scannable and easy to read.
  3. Make your paragraphs about 350-500 characters max.  This will help to make them easily scannable and to break up your content.  You can also look into putting headers wherever they might fit well.  By breaking up your blog into sections, you will start to see an increase in your user engagement.  Each header might be a question that appears in the “People Who Ask” section.
  4. Focus on user intent.  If a user is Googling “SEO” like the screenshot above, they are probably a beginner and looking for the basics.  You should have an FAQ page where you are answering the questions.  However, if a user is Googling a recipe for Chicken Alfredo, they are probably looking for a step-by-step guide.  In this case, you might want to have numbered content.  Understanding what the user is looking for will help you to rank in Google.
  5. Use alt-text on your images.  By using alt-text, you will have extra opportunities to use your keywords which will show Google that the post is really relevant to what the user is looking for.
  6. Link to other pages on your website.  By providing links to other pages of your website, you are making it easier for the user to navigate through your site and hopefully convert into a customer.
  7. Do your keyword research before creating the blog post.  By understanding what the user is looking for, and knowing which keywords you are targeting, you will be able to rank in Google’s quick answers.
  8. Look at the websites that are already ranking in the quick answers section for the keyword you are targeting.  If they have a bulleted list, implement that on your post.  If they have a step-by-step guide, then you should have the same.  Since they are already ranking for the keyword, you know that their strategy works.

Adding FAQ Schema Markup To Help You Rank in Quick Answers

Schema markup is a piece of code that you can put on your website that will allow you to show certain aspects of your business on the Google Search Engine Results page. By adding schema markup to your website, you will be able to stand out among the competition. If you are a local business, star-rating schema might be great for you. This will show your rating based on your Google reviews.

If you are looking to get into the Google quick answers, I highly suggest adding FAQ schema markup to the pages that you want to rank for. This schema will show a list of questions that your page answers. It also has a dropdown button that will show part of the answer.

After you implement the schema markup, go into Google Search Console and force Google to crawl the page to help the schema show faster.

Where Can I Get the Schema Markup Code?

There are many resources that will show you the code that you need to add to your website but I always prefer getting the code straight from the source…Google. You can use this website to find the FAQ structured data that you need.

You can also read more about the FAQ schema markup, on Neil Patel’s website.

Quick Answers Geo Targeting

Google is always looking for ways to show searchers even more relevant content, and that is why Google quick answers can change from region-to-region. Quick answers change to not only show you local companies, but they also change based on your native-language.

When you position yourself for local rankings, you may start to see an increase in traffic to your site coming from quick answers.

Where Do I Have to Rank to Be Featured in the Google Quick Answers Section?

Your regular web-listing does not have to be the top result to be featured in the quick answers section.  You can be ranking at the bottom of page one or even page 2 and still be appearing in the quick answers.  This is why it is necessary to make sure that you are answering the questions that users are searching for.  

If you want to start boosting your website traffic by being featured in the Google quick answers, reach out to an SEO agency like The MarketingU! We can help create quick answer worthy content to help you drive leads and traffic to your website! 

Matt Reif

Matt Reif is a digital marketing expert that specializes in search engine optimization.He graduated from Millersville University in 2018 and has been working in the digital marketing space ever since. He went from working for a large multinational company, to working for a small but industry leading marketing agency where he did search engine optimization for car dealerships.