How and Why You Should Be Targeting Questions in Search
For years, the nature of search results has become increasingly complex. While it was once merely a place for standard, text-based results, search engines like Google now include maps, videos and a variety of integrated features and snippets in various SERPs and queries.
One example where this complexity is now ever-present is in the world of question-based search queries. Ever since Google’s BERT update, serving answers to various questions on-page – as well as related questions and answers – has become more prominent than ever.
In the spirit of these developments, let’s look at how and why brands must target question-based queries in various Google SERPs.
Google Is Now Prioritizing Answers to Questions
The fact is that search engine users across almost every niche are seeking information, and with that search comes questions. A huge part of why search engines are increasingly concerned about prioritizing this form of search query is that it simply delivers better search results. When users are pinging to Google keywords and/or phrases that resemble questions, serving them the most efficient information is simply common sense.
As such, ranking more prominently in various SERPs increasingly relies on being able to reach those who are in search of answers. While select keywords in your content may help (among other things) in ranking when your content is on-point, structuring key pieces of content to provide answers – or even focusing more on FAQs, as one example – can help improve your visibility.
Brainstorm These SERPs
Whenever Google displays its “People Also Ask” box in select results, this is an opportunity for brands to learn more about what people are needing answered. Just like Autosuggest helps content creators garner ideas for new and meaningful content, mining these SERPs for more information on related queries can further improve your ranking potential in select SERPs.
Once you’ve drummed up a list of questions based on these recommendations, you can then begin creating relevant content that can target one (or more!) of these related questions. The more answers you can provide with each piece of content, the more chances you have to rank prominently in question-based search results.
Format Content Effectively
If you want Google and other search engines to more readily index and display your answers in question-based search results, then formatting the content properly is key.
If you’re pinging to Google a veritable word salad with improper headings and subheadings, formatting and immensely large paragraphs, then this data may be considered less poignant: after all, if a simpler – but still accurate – alternative exists, the search engine will likely opt to use it instead.
Ultimately, optimizing content (whether it’s FAQs or a more generalized form of content) to include shorter blurbs that are easier to parse and ample formatting seems to have an effect on whether specific brands’ answers are featured in the People Also Ask boxes (as well as within position zero).
While this new world of optimizing content for multiple types of search results can be daunting, it isn’t as difficult as you might think. Ultimately, Google and other search engines want to see content that is optimized for the human experience. If you can make the answers you’re providing thoughtful, succinct and easily readable, then half the battle is already won.