Financial Services Brands Can Win in Google Searches by Targeting “Direct Answers”

Aug 02, 2018


BEST PRACTICES SERIES

Financial services companies looking to boost their online brand and traffic should focus on winning the prime place in Google search results called Direct Answers, new research from SEO and content marketing firm Searchmetrics reveals. Brands such as Bankrate.com, Investopedia.com, and Wellsfargo.com are already successfully doing this.

Per the study, which analyzed 25,000 US search results, Direct Answers (also known as Featured Snippets) show up in more than a quarter (27%) of finance-related searches, providing immediate answers to search queries. By comparison, they appear in 18% of health-related searches and less than 3% of ecommerce, travel and media searches.

Content from Wikipedia, a site that is highly trusted by Google, features most frequently in Direct Answers - making it into 14.1% of Direct Answers boxes shown for finance searches. However, several financial services brands also appear regularly, with Investopedia.com featuring in 8.2% of finance-related Direct Answers, followed by Nerdwallet.com (4.7%), Bankrate.com (3.2%) and Wellsfargo.com (2.8%).

On average, finance websites can attract around 2,622 clicks per month by appearing in a Direct Answers box, according to the data. And if the brands were to pay for those clicks using Google Adwords pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, they would need to spend around $5.17 per click.

There are even indications that appearing in Direct Answers could help brands win in voice search on smart speakers. Google Home, for example, only reads out one answer to a question – and this is usually the result that features as a Direct Answer in the search results.

Brands that want to target Direct Answers need to start by building a good understanding of the common questions that consumers are asking in their industry and to create high quality content that answers them according to Edwards.

Searchmetrics analyzed 25,000 Google,com (US) desktop search results across five different vertical sectors (finance, health, retail, travel and media) identifying how frequently Direct Answers (featured snippets) appear and related metrics.