If your brain is racing the minute you lay down to sleep, just ask yourself a question. Something silly like, “How many green beans have I seen today?” Your brain will immediately stop its endless chatter in an attempt to answer your question. The chatting will resume but repeat the exercise 3-4 times and your brain will calm down enough for you to get some sleep. That’s the power of questions – they hijack your thought process and refocus your thoughts.
Questions are a very human form of connection; they express our endless curiosity for the world and for 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 question (wonder what if?). They are connectors, connecting us to the world and to each other. Are the questions good for SEO? Let’s put it another way …
… Does Google like questions?
Google is kind of a love affair with questions right now. This is reflected in the “People also ask” box that now appears in response to search queries. Fleur Heesen of the Yoast SEO Academy suggests that the BERT update in 2019 gave Google the ability to understand and recognize questions, even if they weren’t phrased as such. For example, a list of words such as “Homemade jam without sugar” becomes “What can I use in place of the sugar in the jam?” “
Google is hungry for questions to answer right now, and as long as Google likes questions, questions will be good for SEO.
How do 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 that cooks ask questions we wouldn’t even think about. 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 can I?” Is to provide precise, simple and clear instructions. Solving a problem for someone could lead to lifelong brand loyalty.
- What is? Require a simple, precise and concise response, with links to more details if necessary. These are the types 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. This is a question that is at the heart of many lively online forums, and the conversation can grow endlessly, bringing up new topics as you go.
Where can I find questions?
Most of the questions tend to hide in a single site. Once you alert your brain to look for them, they will appear everywhere. Make a habit of entering them and filing them for future use. While you are building your natural archive, there are 5 free sources that are very useful for discovering the questions people want answered:
- Google Analytics. Use Behavior> Site Search> Search Terms to find out which search terms people are using when they access your site’s internal search option.
- Ask Google. Simply enter “Questions people ask” before your search topic. Or add a question to your research topic, like “how to” or just “how”.
- Respondrethepublic.com A delightfully original site that lets you type in a term and receive Bing and Google-generated questions that people ask when searching.
- Conversations. What requests do you receive regularly? What questions keep coming up when talking 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 “distract” distracted searchers and focus their minds on your blog, video, article, etc.
- Google loves questions, which is why using questions offers more opportunities to appear in “People Also Ask” and snippets.
- Learning to “hear” the questions asked by your customers allows you to create a rich continuing resource. It also helps you deliver relevant content.
- There is no need to pay for questions. There are many ways to source them using free apps.