If you having been following developments in SEO, and in particular what direction Google has been heading in terms of determining the rankings of websites, you will have seen that ‘user experience’ has become one of the primary factors they apply.
For Google, it is no longer enough for a website just to have good information, it also needs to meet the needs of, and provide a better experience for, those who have searched, and then landed, on that website.
There are lots of complex solutions as to how a website might achieve these aims, however, there is one simple, and highly effective, method you can try, and that is to answer questions.
Questions, Questions, Questions
When we say answer questions, we mean the questions that get typed into Google’s search bar. When searching, what many people do is, instead of simply typing in a search like ‘dog training’, they will instead type ‘what is the best way to train my dog to stay?’, or ‘how can I train my dog to do tricks?’.
Within your niche or business sector, you will hopefully have ideas as to what questions your potential customers might ask on Google, and if you do, you are even closer to taking advantage of this.
You see, if you can create content that answers specific questions, then Google will soon recognise that. This will occur, not only via them crawling your website, but they will see that when a question gets asked, and the person asking lands on your website, they are staying longer, no doubt because the answer they were looking for is there.
Google Wants Answers
Google’s ongoing development and its many updates have brought it to a point where its complex algorithms can more easily understand when questions are entered into the search bar. If you try it for yourself and enter a question, you will see that it has underneath the words ‘People also ask’.
What this is doing is prompting you with questions which it believes is related to the one you entered. This tells us Google no longer sees a search as a mere string of words, but it can tell the difference between a ‘search’, and a ‘question’.
The significance of this is huge with regards to SEO for your website, because whilst all your competitors are out there trying to optimise for search terms, very few are optimising for questions.
This provides a massive opportunity for you to gain a ton of traffic, by providing answers within your website for all those questions people searching within your niche, are asking on Google.
How to Optimise for Questions
Ok, so you have an opportunity to outrank your competition on Google, but how do you do it? Well, there is a two-part process that you must follow.
#1 Compile a List of Questions
The first step is to research for as many questions as you can, that prospects might enter into Google. You could try brainstorming this yourself, but assuming you already have customers or followers on social media, why not ask them?
Present it as a survey or a service to them by saying that you want to answer their questions, and then ask them to submit them to you. Bear in mind, many of your followers will not yet be customers, so you are bound to get some that other prospects might ask.
Those of you whose website has its own search function can check the data from that by looking it up in Google Analytics. Enter ‘Behaviour => Site search => Search Terms’, and it will provide you with a list of all the search terms entered, which is bound to include some questions.
#2 Optimising Your Content For Answers
Once you have determined which are most common or likely questions that people will ask, you now need to create and optimise the content on your website to answer them.
The content can be blog posts or articles on your website and remember you do not want to have two or three lines of content. You want to answer the questions fully and provide as much additional relevant information as you can.
The more information you provide the longer someone coming to your website looking for answers will remain, provided it relates to the question they asked.
As for existing content, then it will pay dividends if you edit and restructure it so that it more readily provides answers to questions than it did previously. It should not need to be totally rewritten but make enough edits so that it seems like an answer to a question on your list.
One final tip is to utilise the snippets feature which Google uses in its listings. By using an SEO plugin such as Yoast, you can create or edit a snippet so that it appears to answer a question, or at least answer it in part. This way you are likely to see more people clicking through to get the answer to their question.