Research Outline

Search Engine Instant Answers


To identify the most-used instant answers and features on Google to inform the client’s search engine priorities.

Early Findings

Top Instant Answer Notes

  • Although within the first hour of research, no specific statistics on which answers and/or features are most popular, most-used, or most-requested could be found, some notable items were found. For example, Posci highlights “Twenty-four questions Google answers before you finish typing.” Their top 10 include answers and features that are high on the ask-list for users: conversions, calculations, definitions, translations, weather, countdowns, results (like sports scores), ages, birthdates, and distances.

Notable Google Statistics

  • The search engines processes more than 63 K searches each second, or over 3.78 M searches a minute. Google processed nearly 88% of all desktop-based searches in October 2019.
  • About 12% of searches on Google are done through voice commands, though this is expected to increase to nearly half in the coming year.
  • Only 27% of Google visitors live in the US, so it’s recommended that global searches are taken into consideration (and specific regions, as noted by the client’s search engine user base).

Google Answer Box Optimization

  • This article from SEO Clarity details how to optimize Google Answer Box questions. The Answer Box is one of “over 810 unique possible features on a Google SERP,” and appears as a featured snippet at the top of the results page (below ads). The Answer Box is the search engine’s option for a direct answer to the question – without the need for clicking any of the links given in the results.
  • The top results with Answer Boxes on the search engine come from: Wikipedia, WebMD, AllRecipes, Mayo Clinic, HealthLine, WikiHow, Amazon, Youtube, Investopedia, and Microsoft.
  • The questions most posed (earning Answer Boxes) are those starting with “How” (12.5%), followed by “What” (7.4%), “When” (0.9%), “Where” (0.8%), “Who” (0.6%), and “Why” (0.4%).
  • Notably, Answer Boxes are not standardized between devices, and some boxes may appear on either/or mobile and desktop or on both, though not all will.

2019 Google Trends (US)

  • This list provides the top five trending items in a wide variety of categories on Google for 2019. It could be analyzed to determine what categories or terms to prioritize for different types of searches.
  • This link provides the categories and topics that are currently and recently trending on Google, as well as access to previous years’ research and research related to other regions (outside the US), as well.