We've experimented a lot with featuring content on Google Answer Boxes at BlueGlass. BlueGlass Search Strategist  Sam Hurley took an in-depth look into how to secure Google Answer Boxes. He was looking specifically at car reviews, as these have a large number of answer box listings. 

He found some common themes:

  1. You don't have to be the number one listing in Google in order to secure answer boxes
  2. It’s easier to replace an existing answer box, than it is to convince Google for the first time that your answer deserves to form a new answer box. (Hint: SEMrush is great for finding these opportunities!)
  3. Formatting in Q&A format is key – having a question as a headline and answering that question in a concise way within the body of your content using bullet points, bolding etc. This makes it easier for Google to pull out the key points.

Appearing as a Google Answer in what is commonly referred to as “position zero” can be a great way to leapfrog your competitors to the top of the SERPs and capture as much traffic as possible. Below I share our go-to actionable plan that you can use to get started with using SEMrush to help you get your content featured on Google Answer boxes too.

  1. Put your domain into SEMrush
  2. Navigate to Organic Research > Positions

  3. Apply an advanced filter to only show for ‘SERP features’ and select ‘featured snippets’

    These are the SERPs that AutoExpress currently have featured snippets appearing. Great. Now what? Now we identify where the gap is compared to competitors…

What SERPs do we rank in the top 10 for that have a featured snippet that we’re currently not in? This is where the opportunity is!

Our 8 Step Process to Identify Opportunities

  1. Input your competitor domain:

  2. Complete the same filter process as above and export into Excel:

  3. Put your domain into SEMrush and grab all of the keywords you rank in the top 10 for, excluding brand terms too (although you can include these in if you think competitors are outranking you for your brand):

  4. Merge the 2 excel downloads into a single excel document and insert a blank column in B in your competitor data:

  5. Rename your tabs to the following:

  6. In cell B2, do a Vlookup using the formula “=IFERROR(VLOOKUP(A2,’Our Rankings’!A:B,2,FALSE), “no”)”:

  7. Finally, filter out all of the cells in B that say ‘no’. This will allow you to see which keywords you rank in the top 10 for that your competitors are dominating the knowledge box for:

  8. Next step is to optimise your content as outlined in the previous section

There you have it - now you can start going to secure those Google Answer boxes for the phrases and questions in your industry and leapfrog your way to the top!

Author Photo
Kevin GibbonsKevin is founder and CEO at Re:signal, an SEO and content marketing agency in London — specializing in driving organic growth for ambitious brands.
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