Instant answers are a type of search engine result page (SERP) feature that provides answers without requiring the searcher to click on a website.
They show up at the top of the results to help searchers quickly find the answers to informational queries. Occasionally, they will appear below paid ads.
They can provide information on a wide range of topics, including sports scores, weather forecasts, stock quotes, and definitions of words. For this reason, one instant answer may look very different from another.
For instance, here’s what shows up on desktop for the query “weather in Orlando.”
The interactive table above about the weather forecast looks very different from an instant answer for a definition:
The result on mobile for both of these looks very similar to how they appear on desktops.
How to Rank for an Instant Answer
Although searchers may not click on an instant answer, it’s a great way to foster brand awareness and educate people on new concepts.
You can maximize your chances of ranking for this SERP feature by:
- Understanding the intent behind a search query
- Using relevant questions as headers and respond immediately with the answer
- Making sure your content is up-to-date to provide the best answer
- Adding the Q&A schema to your content to help Google understand your content
- Focusing completely on the question and answer you want to rank for
We have a blog on when you should avoid ranking for an instant answer (and when you should go for it) if you would like to learn more about this type of SERP feature.
How Semrush Collects Data About Instant Answers
When we scan a keyword’s SERP, we identify whether or not an instant answer is present anywhere on the results page.
- Since we cannot currently collect URLs related to instant answers, we cannot say if a queried domain is featured and can’t save it as a position.