If your brain races the minute you lay down to sleep, just ask yourself one question. Something silly like, “How many green beans did I see today?”. Your brain will immediately stop its endless chatter in an attempt to answer your question. The chatter will resume but repeat the exercise 3 or 4 times and your brain will calm down enough to allow you to get some sleep. That’s the power of questions – they divert your thought process and refocus your thoughts.
Questions are a very human form of connection; they give voice to our endless curiosity for the world and others. We greet each other with questions (How are you?); start conversations with questions (what are you thinking?); most of our decisions are based on an internal matter (I wonder what if?). They are connectors that bind us to the world and to each other. Are questions good for SEO, though? Let’s put it another way…
… Does Google like questions?
Google has kind of a love affair with questions right now. The “People Also Ask” box that now appears in response to search queries is a testament to this. Yoast SEO Academy’s Fleur Heesen suggests that the BERT update in 2019 gave Google the ability to understand and recognize questions, even if they weren’t worded as such. Thus, a list of words such as “Homemade jam without sugar” becomes “What can I use instead of sugar in jam?”
Google is hungry for questions to answer right now, and as long as Google loves questions, questions will be good for SEO.
How can I use questions as part of my SEO strategy?
There are many different applications, and each product or service has niche issues that are unique. Here are some useful examples as part of an SEO strategy:
- And if I? One of the reasons cookbooks are so popular is because cooks ask questions we wouldn’t even think of. Fries and ice cream? Strawberries and balsamic vinegar? What questions can you ask that your customers haven’t thought of yet?
- How can I? The gift that gives forever, this one. It generates blogs, YouTube videos, step-by-step instructions, Tik-Tok videos. The key to success with ‘How Do I?’ is to provide precise, simple and clear instructions. Solving a problem for someone could lead to lifetime brand loyalty.
- What is? Require a simple, precise and concise answer, with links to more details if necessary. These are the kind of questions to include in FAQs, newsletters or product sheets.
- What is the best ? A great opportunity to encourage participation on social media platforms. Encourage people to share their experiences with different solutions/products. It’s a question that’s at the heart of many lively online forums, and the conversation can go on endlessly, tackling new topics as you go.
Where can I find questions?
Most questions tend to hide in the ordinary site. Once you alert your brain to look for them, they will appear everywhere. Make a habit of typing them and filing them for future use. While you’re building your natural archive, there are 5 free sources that are great for finding out what questions people want answered:
- Google Analytics. Use Behavior>Site Search>Search Terms to see what search terms people are using when they access your site’s internal search option.
- Ask Google. Just enter “Questions people ask” before your search topic. Or add a question to your search topic, such as “how to” or just “how”.
- Answerthepublic.com A delightfully quirky site that lets you enter a term and receive the Bing and Google generated questions people ask when searching.
- Talks. What queries do you receive regularly? What questions keep coming up when you talk to customers?
- Quora. This is the house of the question. It takes a while to navigate, but it’s a great resource for long-tail keywords and endlessly fascinating too.
- Questions are a powerful way to “divert” distracted searchers and focus their minds on your blog, video, post, etc.
- Google loves questions, so using questions provides more opportunities to appear in “People Also Ask” and featured snippets.
- Learning to “hear” the questions asked by your customers allows you to create a rich ongoing resource. It also helps you deliver relevant content.
- There is no need to pay for questions. There are many ways to get them using free apps.