Have you been optimizing your content for questions? There are a few powerful reasons for you to start doing it now:
Just to reinforce the latter point, Google is going a bit insane with understanding and featuring questions in SERPs. Here’s just one of their recent experiments showing a multifaceted featured snippet, addressing a possible follow-up question (courtesy of Barry Schwartz):
All branded questions may also be labeled based on possible sentiment.
** Most basic and how-to questions are going to have informational intent (simply due to the essence of the question format: most people asking questions seek to find an answer, i.e. information). But there’s always a chance there’s a transactional intent there that you may want to make note of, too.
For example, “What’s the best CRM” may be a query reflecting a solid commercial intent. Same goes about “How do you use a CRM?” Both can be asked by someone who is willing to give the software a try, and this needs to be reflected within your copy and on-page layout.
“People Also Ask” is a newer Google search element containing related questions to a given query. It’s not clear how Google is generating these (it might be due to enough people typing each question into the search box), but what we do know for sure is:
With that in mind, People Also Ask results are important for content marketers on two fronts:
To collect as many People Also Ask results as you can, give Featured Snippet Tool a try (disclaimer: This tool has been developed by the company I work for). It checks your domain’s important search queries and generates “People Also Ask” results for all of them:
Search results give us lots of cues beyond People Also Ask boxes, provided you use smart tools to analyze them. Text Optimizer is a tool that extracts terms and concepts from SERPs and uses semantic analysis to come up with the list of questions you may want to include in your content:
I believe that is partly what Google is doing to generate those “People Also Ask” suggestions, but this tool will give you more ideas than “People Also Ask” boxes alone.
It supports Google and Bing. You can also copy-paste your text in the tool and it will suggest terms and questions to add to optimize your content better for either search engine.
Google Suggest is another search-based tool for content marketers. Google Suggest auto-completes a user’s query based on how other users tend to complete it. This way, we can safely assume that all Google Suggest results have a solid search volume / demand, simply because they ended up in the suggest index.
The problem with this one is that you need to know how to start typing the question to see it properly completed:
There’s a workaround that forces Google to autocomplete the middle of the query:
Another way to discover more question-type Google Suggest results is to play with the following tools:
Serpstat Questions is a solid keyword research tool allowing you to generate hundreds of niche questions based on your core query. What’s helpful is that Serpstat allows you to sort results by the question word:
…and filter questions by a popular term in the tag cloud, making it easier to make sense of those multiple results (and optimize for several questions within one content asset):
Ahrefs is another multi-feature SEO platform that allows users to research related questions with one of its recent updates:
If you end up with too many Google-suggested questions, run your list through Serpstat’s clustering tool to break those questions into meaningful groups based on relevancy.
Quora is undoubtedly one of the largest sources of questions out there. In fact, it forces users to post new discussions in a question format, so everything you see there is questions.
Quora’s search functionality is highly confusing though. It has an intricate architecture based on topics (many of which overlap) and it won’t show you most popular questions over time. Its search ranking algorithm is a weird mix of personalization (based on your chosen interests and connections), recency, activity, and probably something else.
Because of this, I rarely use Quora itself. Instead I use Buzzsumo Question Analyzer. It aggregates results from all kinds of discussion boards, including Quora and Amazon Q&A. Furthermore, it analyzes your query and generates results for related keywords allowing you to expand your search and see the bigger picture:
Twitter is an amazing source of content inspiration few content marketers are really using. One of the must-have Twitter search tricks I always use within my social media monitoring dashboard is Twitter’s question search:
Type [brandname ?] (with the space in-between) into Twitter’s search box and you’ll see all questions people are asking when discussing your topic / brand / product.
If you want to get a bit trickier, monitor your bigger competitor’s tweeted questions, too. This will enable your team to be on top of everything your potential customers cannot figure out when buying from your competitor:
Cyfe (disclaimer: this is my content marketing client) is a social media dashboard providing an easy way to monitor multiple Twitter search results within one dashboard. You can use it to monitor all kinds of tweeted questions around your core term or brand name:
Reddit AMAs offer another great way to pick up some interesting questions to use in your content. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a good reliable way to monitor Reddit for keywords (while restricting to a particular Subreddit) but I’ve been using Twitter monitoring for that.
You can use Cyfe to monitor the #redditama hashtag in combination with your core term. Or you can set up an alert inside My Tweet Alerts. The tool has a pretty unique set of options allowing you to find tweets based on keywords, hashtags, and even words in users’ bios. It sends email digests of most recent tweets making the alerts harder to miss.
For Reddit AMA monitoring, you can set it up to search for tweets that have the #redditama hashtag in them together with your main keyword. Or, to make it more targeted, you can only monitor those tweets published by Twitter users with your keyword in the bio:
Here’s an example of the announced AMA on a related topic of my interest:
All I need to do is to open the AMA thread and scroll through comments in search for interesting questions to note for my future content ideas:
Niche question research provides an almost unending source of content opportunities. To name a few, here are some ideas on how you can use questions:
But it’s not really only about content:
Keeping our initial question categorization above in mind, here’s how question research may (or rather, should) involve multiple departments within your company:
You can download this worksheet with clickable links here.
Are you researching and optimizing for niche questions yet? Please share your tips and tricks in the comments below!
Powered by WPeMatico