Which new SEO trends should you follow in order to try and quickly gain authority on Google? What makes search engines tick in 2019? Does anyone really know? Is there still a single SEO trick that will somehow make your application or website stick to the top of the results page? Can we assume that AI algorithms have taken over and now control the search engines in ways so mysterious that no human can comprehend or anticipate them? If there are no such tricks left, is there even a point in doing organic SEO?
So many questions, so few answers! While most if not all the black hat SEO tricks that used to work in manipulating the search engine results are now un-usable at best, publishers can still is to answer questions and take advantage of the answer box feature present on most SERP. Why would you want to do that? Because answer boxes are the first entry highlighted on a result page, that's why!
Search engines traditionally rank web pages (blogs, articles, etc.) based on their ability to answer to user queries. When that query takes the form a question (When was Julius Ceasar assassinated?) that can be answered with a relatively simple statement, then the result page will first show an answer box. The content of that box is what the engine considers the most relevant and direct answer to the question. The straighter and clearer the question, the better the answer. In the simplest cases, the search engine itself will take care of the answer. What's 2+2? 4, of course, says Google. Or maybe 5, according to Wikipedia. When the answer isn't too simple, the search engine will rely on what it does best to provide the answer: it will find the most relevant and reliable answer in its index. If the complete answer can fit in the answer box, then it will display it.
It is beyond the scope of this short article to cover the targeting of answer boxes for SEO purposes -- we'll get to this in a tutorial at a later date. In the meantime, keep in mind that this is one of the few areas of search engine marketing where you can still score major points against your competitors and win battles. If you or your business know how to answer relevant yet niche questions and problems, and if those answer that can be stated succinctly enough to fit in an answer box, then you can work your way to the top and bypass the typical rat race that has everyone in your line of business fighting for SERP ranking.