SEO-friendly Articles? The 1 Smart Move You Need to Make

In short:

  • The kind of SEO you want is provided by the Google Answer Box.
  • Aiming for a top result on Google is your best chance at improving your content creation.
  • You’re already doing most of the work, so why not power up your SEO?

You can make some pretty accurate judgments about a field of interest once you find out what is the related holy grail.

Spoiler alert, for SEO, it’s the Google Answer Box. 

If you’re a newbie who’s curiosity was sparked by seeing some great accomplishments in a certain domain, the sooner you can pinpoint what the respective holy grail looks like and who are the people talking about it, the better your chances at learning what not to do. 

It’s only natural that stories of holy grails are full of failed attempts and persistent heroes. And there are hardly more persistent individuals than marketers aiming for that top result in a Google search.

What do you know about the Google Answer Box?

A minimalistic desk.
Photo by Jessica Lewis

Most small businesses feel defeated even considering that first spot, but would you believe there is something even better than it and more attainable? 

Among SEO buffs, it’s called position zero, or as the spoiler in the introduction put it, the Google Answer Box.

Never thought about the potential the Google Answer Box has to get your content the attention you want? You’re certainly not at fault since, quite frankly putting it, few have given it a fully-rounded thought. 

The good news here is that you’re among the early arrivals at this online pot of gold. So, let’s get right into what you should do to your content to make it fit the position zero.

Can I get my content to position zero?

To get your content to appear in the Google Answer Box you have to start to be a bit more thoughtful about what it is you’re putting out there after you’ve done so. 

It’s great that you’ve done your research and found some solid keywords around which you’ve written a killer SEO article. But you can get more out of it if you demonstrate a bit more patience and introspection and envision how the said article is going to hit the online medium. 

In principle, you’d want it to reach your target audience, right? Yet, the competition might be fierce. The owner of any new online marketing agency getting ready to make their presence known on the internet will know what I’m talking about. 

From the outside looking in, it seems other well-established websites have made a name for themselves and there are no more eyeballs to stir to your page. With a bit of time, that can be changed. 

Becoming a better content creator

To be fair, the long term effect of what the Google Answer Box does is molding better content creators. How so? It takes you back to the age-old basic problem-solving technique: question and answer. Or should I say, question and precise and concise answer. 

Since the new (but always foggy and unexplained guidelines, let’s be real here) advise that long-form content is the way to have the attention of Google nowadays, it’s easy for content writers to fall into the trap of going for a big word count while only sprinkling a few keywords in there. 

There’s your valuable content. 

However, the snippets featured in the Google Answer Box teach a different lesson:

Ask a specific question. Get an answer that’s to the point. 

Why follow groundless online SEO advice when you can look at what Google is doing right before your eyes? 

How to approach the Google Answer Box

Relaxed office meeting.
Photo by fauxels 

So, has the race for the number one spot in search results been called off?

It’s definitely tougher to attain. 

You’ve surely noticed more sponsored links pushed by Google at the top of the page. Therefore, even the so-called top position dedicated to content that isn’t prefaced by the subtle but unmistakable “Ad” only comes after 3 or 4 ad links. 

So, if we’re being real here, the top search result isn’t really at the top at the page anymore, is it? With all the ads crammed up there, what users are actually looking for is placed further down. 

With the Google Answer Box, you have to think differently. 

It still appears at the top of the search results page and as the featured snippets clearly show, it is intended to provide quick answers to whatever questions the user asks. 

Writing your content to accommodate a question and answer model seriously increases your chances of landing in the Google Answer Box simply because that’s the pattern on which the Google Answer Box operates on. At least for now. 

And getting your content in the Google Answer Box is the kind of SEO power that surpasses both ingenious keyword placement and web page optimization.

Here’s what you should do:

1. Scan your keywords

You probably have a list of 10 to 15 keywords right in front of you as you start writing your articles (if you don’t, you need to get on that fast), but surely they are not all carrying the same degree of significance in terms of search engine optimization. 

This isn’t your fault. You can’t realistically work with equally strong keywords. What you need to do is figure out which one of them you can envision in the Google Answer Box.  

First, you think of who could ask the questions. 

  • How old are they? 
  • When are they likely to ask this specific question? 
  • How is their language usage? 

Just like in real life, you should craft your answer differently if you’re responding to the needs of a young parent, an inquisitive college student, or the owner of a restaurant chain. Otherwise, you don’t stand a chance. 

Being smart is an option, being versatile is a must if you’re going to make this work.

Also, the cardinal rule for keyword research applies: be as specific as you can. A wide net will not do much for you. 

2. Google fallacies are your advantage

You’re at the 5th search and Google still isn’t putting you on the right track with your inquiry. Is it you for asking the question incorrectly or is it Google for misinterpreting it? 

Most likely, a bit of both, but if you insist on placing blame on something, you might as well put it on the cold, emotionless algorithm. 

However, you can make the best out of a common Google error

For instance, you ask a question and because you’re a human with a functioning brain you can immediately tell you got the answer to another question

Looks like you’ve found yourself a cool niche to create content for. And you weren’t even trying. You also deduce that for your question, which may as well be the question of many others, Google has offered an answer that is way off target. 

Do you see where I’m going with this? Your time to shine. Pin that question and make it a high prio to write an article around it ASAP.

3. Create content for Google

As already hinted at above, it’s not just about scoring the right keywords

Again, why read through dozens of articles shining buzzwords like optimization and technical SEO in your face without presenting you with a single actionable step? 

Forget about that. Be mentally present when you scroll around on Google and you will figure out how to make your content rank high on the search results page. 

It’s something you can do right now. Google anything of interest and you’ll notice the first links sharing a few characteristics. To be precise:

The kind of content Google loves

  • Straight answers
  • Clear solutions
  • Easy guidance

Therefore, what should your optimized content include?

  • Bullet points 
  • Numbers
  • Lists

And as much supporting media (images, graphs, videos, etc.) as it makes sense to have.

This is SEO. 

You were probably told to have patience with it before even fully learning what it means

But while waiting around to see if those H1 and H2 tags have had any effect at all on your latest post, you can go over the first step again and see what you can do better with your content creation strategy.

Blogging and SEO

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