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Million Dollar Answer Boxes

We all hate them (if you don’t, your vote doesn’t count), but they are here to stay: answer boxes. Answer boxes are one of Google’s more controversial methods of taking content from webmaster sites and displaying it directly in their search results. But, like most things Google does that might be unsavory to webmasters in general, there are ways to profit from their behaviors. Getting an answer box that links to your site can be incredibly valuable.

We took the time to analyze the data from GREPWords and SERPScape to identify the most valuable search queries that have answer boxes. GREPWords provided the keywords (using the Question Finder tool) and SERPScape allowed us to correlate questions with other questions that have the same answer box because they ask similar things (such as “What time is…?” vs “When is…?”). Below are the most valuable answer boxes with links in reverse order. Value is determined by the CPC multiplied by Local Monthly Search of the keywords for which this answer box shows.

#6 What Time Does McDonalds Stop Serving Breakfast?

Value: $2,941,092/yr

ab-what-time-does-mcdonalds-serve-breakfast

#5 How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

Value: $3,537,756/yr

how to get rid of fruit flies

#4 How to Cook Bacon in the Oven

Value: $3,661,752/yr

how to cook bacon in the oven

#3 How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs

Value: $5,381,352/yr

how to get rid of bed bugs

#2 How to Make French Toast

Value: $5,727,816/yr

how to make french toast

#1 How to Get Rid of Acne

Value: $7,194,684/yr

how to get rid of acne


Interesting Takeaways

  1. The URL cited in the answer box is often NOT the top listing. This means that a good semantic answer on your site can give you essentially a #1 listing without having to do the other leg-work necessary to get there.
  2. There are almost always several variations of the same query for which your answer box will show.
  3. “How to” queries seem far more likely to generate answer boxes with links that other (who, what, when) queries.

Cracking the answer box code will be a huge win for any SEO or webmaster. So, do you have any tips or tricks on how to influence the answer box?


Comments


  1. WHAT TIME DOES MCDONALDS STOP SERVING BREAKFAST?

    The scraped answer doesn’t even answer the question. It’s about when McDonald’s STARTS serving breakfast, rather than when they stop. When I do this search right now (afternoon EDT), I’m getting a different version, which does answer it:

    “10:30 a.m. Why McDonald’s Doesn’t Serve Breakfast All Day. McDonald’s breakfast notoriously ends at 10:30 a.m. at most locations. After years of public outcry, the brand has started offering some items after midnight. CEO Don Thompson also said that the fast food giant was flirting with the idea of all-day breakfast.”

    It’s coming from here: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-mcdonalds-breakfast-ends-at-1030-2013-8

    I’m also getting a completely different scraped result for HOW TO COOK BACON IN THE OVEN.

    Yum.

    Reply

  2. I found many of them in SERP but noticed that not every one was accurate. It would be interesting to know how they choose the answers.

    Reply

  3. Sometimes even the websites from which they are taken is also questionable. I once bumped into a 404 🙂

    Reply

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