Have you heard about Google’s “Rich Answers”? You’ve probably seen them. They’re those little boxes with succinct, direct answers to your search query that show up in your search results. They appear in different formats, such as graphics, slides, text answers, maps, calculators and so forth. They might be small snippets of text or rich snippets. They’re drawn from an existing website.
If you’re curious where Google gets the Rich Answer, here’s what they actually say about it:
“Where does the answer summary come from?
The summary is a snippet extracted programmatically from a webpage. What’s different with a featured snippet is that it is enhanced to draw user attention on the results page. When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.
Like all search results, featured snippets reflect the views or opinion of the site from which we extract the snippet, not that of Google. We are always working to improve our ability to detect the most useful snippet, so the results you see may change over time.”
If you are involved in SEO, your first question should be: Good for me or bad? It’s a little of both, it turns out. According to Eric Enge, the CEO of Stone Temple Consulting, “A rich answer is any attempt by Google to answer the searcher’s query in search results in a way not requiring a click through to a website.” Stone Temple Consulting publishes research on SEO and Rich Answers in particular. They have observed that Rich Answers are increasingly included in search results. So, it’s a good news/bad news sort of situation. Being in a Rich Answer means you get a lot of prominence, but you may not get click-through.
Pam Neely, writing for the Act-On Blog, notes, “Rich answers are not like other search results. They play by different rules, affect other rankings, and offer a major new opportunity for SEOs who know how to use them.” Neely then asks, “Should site owners worry about rich answers?” She says no. Rich answers that sites built using public domain information. In that case, Google may not include a link to your site if they use your site as the basis for a Rich Answer. So, rich, original content can be your path to being included in Rich Answers.
Two other articles worth reading on this topic: