It used to be that if you did all the right things SEO-wise and grabbed that #1 spot in organic search results, you would get a boatload of clicks. Ah, those were the good old days….before Google started cluttering up their SERPs (search engine results pages) with ads, local packs and answer boxes. Today, that prized piece of real estate on the first page only yields a 19% click-thru rate.
The biggest piece of prime real estate on Google’s search engine results page is still the answer box, also known as the featured snippet. The sites that reach the answer box all have one thing in common: they already rank in the top 5 on particular keywords and questions. They also have a high number of referral domains as well as high engagement, telling Google that they are a trusted and verified source for those keywords and questions. So it’s tough to get there.
However, in the past 12 months, the “People Also Ask” (PAA) snippet has started to dominate, with 79% of SERPs displaying PAAs. Why? Because most search queries are questions. And because of the growing popularity of voice assistants (Alexa, Google Home). According to Juniper Research, more than 70 million U.S. households — which is 55% of all U.S. households — will have voice assistants installed by 2020.
According to Search Engine Land, there are four ways to get your law firm content featured in the answer box or PAA:
- Create complete questions and answers.
- Use plain language
- Avoid any sales pitches.
- Add Q&A schema
In other words, you need to develop content that answers popular questions about your topic or service in short, plain language or as a bullet list. In addition, Google has heavily hinted about the importance of structured data (schema) — which are tags added to a website’s HTML to improve the way search engines read and display a page in SERPs — by basing many of its new search features on structured data.
As the space for organic search results continues to shrink, it will become increasingly important for law firm marketers to develop content that answers a search question as quickly and clearly as possible. If you don’t, someone else will reap the benefits.