For a few years now we’ve witnessed Google focusing on better understanding and answering users’ questions. Google has started giving good answers additional exposure in search, suggest related questions, and try to answer questions in various visual ways (i.e. knowledge graph and carousels).

Hence giving the best, most useful answer to your audience’s questions will help you achieve more search visibility, more clicks and more brand awareness.

Here are the whys and hows of optimizing your content for questions.

Google and Questions

We’ve seen questions and answers featured in search results in at least two separate sections:

Google “Answer Boxes” / Featured Snippets

Google is doing their best to answer users’ questions right within their SERPs. For most informational queries (and all question-types search queries) Google will show a box containing a quick answer.

These featured snippets as Google calls them include a link to the website where they got the info from.

This is an incredible traffic generating and branding opportunity. Being featured may result in a tenfold increase in traffic once your website appears in the answer box for a competitive phrase. That’s how we noticed that IMN website has been placed in a quick-answer box: By a sudden search referral traffic boost to a few of our blog posts which we spotted via Google Analytics daily email report.

bNVoPnKZQVCNc5EcsAv6

Answer boxes can come in a few styles:

1. Paragraph

ixQji9jwRGClyDL1m7fn

2. List

CeXpjAl2Tza5fAxP3DG8

3. Table

NQ300AjaQ9iDyltADfNN

Now, I’ve seen people rightfully criticize Google’s practice of using part of their content within SERPs.

w9BOUnPRoqEsZGUFW342

Google does allow a way to remove your site from featured snippets but use it at your own discretion:

“You can opt out of featured snippets by preventing snippets on your page using the <meta name=”googlebot” content=”nosnippet”> tag on your page. This will remove all snippets on your page, including those in regular search results.”

I for one have that “if not us, then them” philosophy in this respect, meaning that if you are not there, your competitors are, so it’d better be you! We’ve got to go with the flow!

Note: A recent study from Ahrefs shows that featured snippets steal clicks from “organic” search results which is something we all suspected anyways, so if there’s a featured snippet showing up for important terms, it’s obviously better be you featured than your competitor.

Google Related Questions aka “People also ask”

Google suggests related questions for many informational queries allowing people to refine their search.

gsNvCfc7SOm4PnRQE9jjYou can click each of these questions to expand the line and see the answer. The answers offer a link for further reading and invite the users to run another search for this question in Google.

Bk89buTUT22EabcgUkVU

Note: In many cases (although not always), the page linked to from the question box has that question almost verbatim in the page title and / or its heading.

Once you start expanding those lines to read the responses, Google will offer more and more questions dragging you down the rabbit hole where you’ll find yourself expanding more and more questions to find the answers:

Mktbn0o1ToW7zsHdRFph

Whether you are featured or not, it’s important to be aware of these “special” results because they are most likely affecting the click-through and visibility of non-featured results. For example, for some (though not many yet) SERPs, it doesn’t even make sense to fight anymore, because there’s too little or even zero visibility for organic results.

A1im3GjySJO9eXjWqusD

There are two tools out there that effectively monitor these two “featured” results within Google SERPS:

Serpstat uses visual labels to flag search queries triggering all kinds of featured and “universal” results including “People also ask” and answer boxes. You can filter keyword suggestions to only show you particular types of featured results:

ppicRPwtSmG7fmiNuvpY

SEMRush has a similar feature showing you how “special elements” are distributed within search queries.

Optimizing Your Content for Questions

Tools to Research Questions

Serpstat

Serpstat has a handy “Questions” section that pulls Google Suggest results and identifies questions. You’ll also see a neat tag cloud showing you which words tend to appear in questions for your core keyword. It’s a very helpful way to dig deeper into those queries and organize them to plan your content strategy:

t6l3lQDeQfCaznSEWJe8

Clicking any word in the tag cloud will take you to the list of questions mentioning the word:

immSPDKuQVCm0mv3iS3l

Answer the Public

Answer the Public breaks your core query into related questions, visualizing the report and even grouping it by the question word. The questions are organized by question modifiers:

  • Which..?
  • Who..?
  • What..?
  • When..?
  • Why..?
  • How..?
  • Are..?
  • Where..?

LAydbQARYOxzh0nzPvzF

Grouping questions in such a visual way helps creativity a lot. It acts almost like a mind map:

qZuDwn0FRAqB84P8UAnW

Bloomberry

BloomBerry has been recently launched by Buzzsumo and I have found it one of the most unique and useful tools out there. It doesn’t research keywords, unlike other tools on the list, but it does something more:

  • It analyzes your base word to figure out related terms
  • It goes through hundreds of discussion boards (including Amazon q&a section which is my favorite) to find which related questions people ask there:

rwnIRmxSmilNb7FDnaaa

This way the tool helps in two ways:

  • Discover more terms to work with and create content around
  • Find more questions (beyond those enough people type into the search box for those questions to get into Google Suggest results).

Kparser

A newer tool in my question research arsenal, Kparser takes longest to run but it returns so many results that you’ll be lost. Look out for the left-hand links to filter keyword suggestions by the question word:

DHNWySQ3mxtu6KrAeKoQ

Tools to Monitor Questions

SE Ranking

SE Ranking is one of the most robust solutions when it comes to monitoring anything thanks to the sheer number of various tools it offers. To monitor questions in your industry, you can use:

  • SE Ranking rank tracker to monitor your and your competitors’ rankings for the question-type queries you have been optimizing for
  • SE Ranking social media monitoring feature allowing you to track which questions your customers ask on social media.
  • SE Ranking page monitoring feature that allows you to monitor important q&a pages (it’s a good idea to monitor relevant Quora and Amazon Q&A pages to spot new questions and answers and discover new (trending) content opportunities).

R7y6t0VRSOlZkNsxXRgO

Twitter + Cyfe

To monitor Twitter questions, use [?] operator which is supported by Twitter search. There should be a space between your keyword and ? for it to work:

sgZKPdZzTWShO33hJBW5

Then set up the search in your preferred Twitter monitoring solution. Mine is Cyfe because it provides a minimal dashboard which I can use to monitor an unlimited number of Twitter searches.

w5Itro8bTQuQbDTWXcXf

Note: Researching and monitoring which questions your customers are asking on Twitter will let you create engaging up-to-date content. What’s more, you’ll be able to address your customers’ needs in real time. That’s what expected from you these days. The Northridge Group reported that 42 percent of consumers expect a response to their customer service inquiry on social media within the hour, with 17% expecting a response in minutes. Report from the same company in 2016 claims that even more people use social media to reach companies online.

So it’s a good idea to prepare a boilerplate message catered to each social channel that informs the customer that you’ve seen their comment and that you’re working on a resolution.

Optimize Your Content For Questions

Featured snippets present a great opportunity for ecommerce websites to gain some additional search visibility for non-commercial queries. The first step is to actually go ahead and start working on a solid question-focused content planning and creation strategy. There are a lot of questions to answer in any niche. We are talking months of time commitment putting all the answers in writing and publishing them to the site. Plan out your team time and resources.

General Optimization Tactics

For each related question you come up, create a separate page to answer in much detail. If the question is too specific (hence there’s no way to write enough content to sustain a separate page), use jump-to “anchor” links to point users and search bots to the specific part of the page where you are addressing the question.

Optimize each page:

  • State the question verbatim on the page (It should be the title of the page, and / or a section heading, and / or an image alt text. Avoid keyword stuffing though!)
  • Answer that question in no more than two sentences (within one paragraph)
  • Below elaborate on the topic in a more detailed article
  • Focus on facts: numbers, years, place names (i.e. entities). Google likes accurate, specific answers
  • Structure your content well: Use lists, tables <table>, headings (h2, h3) and short paragraphs

If you are on WordPress, use Yoast SEO or an alternative plugin to keep an eye on the page structure, markup and query optimization.

Further reading:

Identify Current Easiest Opportunities

In most cases, pages that get featured are those that already rank high for that search query (1-5 top positions), so it’s a good idea to find which question queries you already rank for. It’s the lowest-hanging fruit for your website.

Look into your Google Search Console “Search Analytics” section to identify your site pages with the highest potential to get included into the “answer boxes”.

To see your question-related queries in Google Webmaster Tools, go to Search Traffic -> Queries and there filter “Queries” by various question words you are researching. Keep “Position” checked because the higher the organic position, the better your chances to get featured in the Quick Answer Box):

72qLMrttQKuFWHbtGue2

Your next step will be addressing the copy and basic on-page elements of each ranking page to try and push it higher in search results and get featured.

Thoroughly research your niche answer boxes and related questions to discover more ranking opportunities.

Researching and optimizing for questions has lots of benefits which are beyond SEO: You get to understand your customer better and are able to better serve them. Besides, you build a linkable resource that can generate leads and bring repeat users to your site. So whatever your goals are, this guide will come handy.

Have you seen any of your pages rank in Google Answer or “People Also Ask” boxes? Please share your tips and results!

1708 COMMENTS

  1. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a great article… but what can I
    say… I procrastinate a lot and don’t manage to get nearly
    anything done.

  2. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished
    to mention that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your weblog posts.

    After all I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

  3. May I just say what a comfort to find a person that actually understands what they are talking about over the internet.
    You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    A lot more people really need to look at this and
    understand this side of the story. I was
    surprised that you’re not more popular since you certainly have the gift.

  4. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the
    book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the
    message home a little bit, but other than that, this is
    magnificent blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be
    back.

  5. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It if truth be told was once
    a entertainment account it. Look complex to more introduced agreeable
    from you! However, how can we keep up a correspondence?

  6. I am really impressed along with your writing skills as smartly as with
    the structure in your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize
    it your self? Anyway keep up the nice high quality writing, it’s uncommon to see
    a nice weblog like this one today..

  7. Hello There. I discovered your blog the usage of msn. This is a
    really neatly written article. I’ll make sure to bookmark it and return to learn extra of your useful info.
    Thank you for the post. I’ll definitely return.

    Here is my wweb page: TheIndianTimes

  8. D᧐ you mind if I qote a few of your articles as long ass I provide credit and sources back to your wеbsite?

    My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my vіsitors would truly bеnefit from somje oof the information you providе һere.
    Please let me know if this ok wіth уou. Cheers!

    Here is myy website: ameriϲa web loan settlement (Lavern)

  9. Today, I went to the beach with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave
    it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She placed the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her
    ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

    My page canadian online pharmacy viagra

  10. First off I would like to say great blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear
    your mind prior to writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my
    mind in getting my thoughts out. I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes are lost just trying to figure
    out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Thanks!

    Feel free to surf to my blog post; canadian cialis online pharmacy

  11. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will ensure that I bookmark your blog and will often come back sometime soon. I want to encourage one to continue your great writing, have a nice evening!|

  12. Do you actually believe so PR web links will useful for Link Structure? I never pursued my software application advancement company website but I would like to attempt that. Many thanks for sharing fantastic as well as comprehensive article.

  13. Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to shoot you an email. I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.|

  14. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyway, just wanted to say excellent blog!|

  15. Hi,

    I am contacting you today because I have jackpotbetonline.com site for advertising.

    Please check the websites where you can purchase advertising.

    jackpotbetonline.com are Daily updated & have good DA & DR.

    The following advertising options are available:

    . Text Links
    . Article Posting (max of 3 links per article)
    . Advertising Banner Space (468×60 or 250×250 banners)
    . “Best Online Casino slots” Review .

    Regards

  16. I seriously love your site.. Very nice colors & theme. Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own blog and would love to know where you got this from or what the theme is named. Appreciate it!|

  17. I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting! Carry on the superb works guys I¦ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my site 🙂

  18. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feed-back would be greatly appreciated.|

  19. Hi there, I do believe your website could possibly be having web browser compatibility issues.
    Whenever I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks
    fine however, when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.

    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, great site!

  20. Admiring the commitment you put into your blog and in depth information you
    provide. It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same
    unwanted rehashed material. Wonderful read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m
    adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  21. you are in reality a just right webmaster.
    The website loading velocity is amazing. It kind of feels that you
    are doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterpiece.

    you’ve performed a magnificent task in this subject!

  22. I like the valuable info you provide to your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and check again here frequently.
    I am moderately certain I’ll be told many new stuff right right here!
    Best of luck for the following!

  23. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.
    I’ll definitely return.

  24. Good day! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if
    you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for
    my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m
    having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!

  25. Simply desire to say your article is as astounding.
    The clarity to your submit is simply cool and that i can assume you are a professional on this subject.

    Fine together with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to stay up to
    date with imminent post. Thank you a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

  26. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform
    are you using for this site? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve
    had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good
    platform.

  27. Sweet blog! I found it while browsing on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get
    listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem
    to get there! Appreciate it

  28. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting things or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I wish to read even more things about it!

  29. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your site?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  30. Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is just great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the rewarding work.

  31. Hello, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog site in Opera, it looks fine but
    when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.

    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that,
    excellent blog!

  32. I’m cuгious t᧐ find oᥙt whhat blog sуstem you happen to be working with?
    I’m having some small security problems wth my latest website and I would liке to fіnd sometһing
    more safe. Do you hve any solutions?

    My weeb ѕite 먹튀

  33. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your blog.
    You have some really good posts and I think I would be a good asset.

    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some content for your
    blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please send me an e-mail if interested. Many
    thanks!

  34. I dօ not even understand how I finished up right here,
    howevcer I assumed this post was great. Ι don’t recognise who you’re but certainly you aare going to a faous bloggɡer if
    you hɑppen to aren’t already. Cheеrs!

    My bllog poset … jasa backlink

  35. It is reasonable to state Sic Bo is really a wildly popular casino sport from
    Asia because you can theoretically win massive sums money on this popular video game (typically
    bet by people who have been at the minority with respect to
    the majority who bet the minimal quantity allowed by the
    casinos). It’s likewise reasonable to state that a lot of
    the younger players learn that this game in a bid to try and earn a quick buck.

    Many elderly players however are drawn from the
    fact which they could win big and they enjoy to attempt to increase
    their odds of winning huge. This really is how
    a Sic-Bo / Tai Sai game-play usually does occur.

    The trader generally begins away having ten or twenty or more championships, which are
    covered with a transparent cover. The dealer will subsequently place eight or seven dice
    into a reddish tote, which is subsequently passed around
    to those people. The intent of the game would be to allow people to try and remove the utmost amount of championships out of the board while perhaps not letting any one
    of the additional players remove some of the dice out of the boardgame.
    If a new player wins a jackpot, that player needs to replace each one of the dice they removed from your boardgame.
    When a participant accomplishes a jackpot, then they still
    must hold back till it changes until they are able
    to make an effort to eliminate another group of dice.

    The very first part of the gambling treatment is comparatively easy.

    The guidelines for betting are fairly common. Players are encouraged to place stakes which match with the overall casino’s total bank roll (perhaps maybe not their individual bet sums ).

    Irrespective of what the final bet sum is, all stakes
    have been played at an identical way – throughout the traditional, multi-line betting process at which the person gambling
    pays one line of currency plus gets a fitting field of money cash back.
    In virtually no limit game such as for example for instance sicbo,
    however, a new player can also fold their bets before the final bettors have a opportunity to shoot them.

    When a casino offers odds for certain matches, chances
    are often recorded in Roman numerals. There are a number of
    variations on the list of odds, though. For instance, at the No
    Limit Texas Holdem game, a new player can receive just two pairs, however, a few cards in the event the bud remains
    not small. From the No Limit Texas Holdem match, gamers may
    receive one card two cards in case their original wager was a pair.
    No matter type of chances, however, gamers ‘ are always educated to put their
    bets in line with the odds. This ensures that in case that their first bet wins, they will have the opportunity to
    select another bet in a better speed.

    Edge betting is really just a popular way in many casino gambling games.
    At an online casino game, a border bettor will often use two forms of bets – just one for a
    single apparatus, and just one for 2 units. In a video game, however, there aren’t any limits into the
    stakes. Edge gamers may frequently bet a number of times on the
    same guess, sometimes doubling, or tripling the initial bet level.
    Because of this, they’re a really good way when you have the chance to do so,
    and you can get off with having to pay out more winnings than your house pays out.

    When it regards choosing your finest stakes, contemplate
    the winning hands and the odds for every single and
    every. Both of these factors will be used to pinpoint which stakes
    will be the best. In most cases, when you’ve the opposite hand, you
    will possess the greatest odds of winning the marijuana; when you yourself
    have the ideal hand, then you also stand a very good prospect of winning the marijuana.
    For those who have a very high total score, then however, you have much
    less of a possibility of profitable the entire rating.
    This really is where most slot players end upward, since they usually do not want to
    reduce an excessive amount of money while they’re within the match.

  36. This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!