Why Question Building Will Become the Hot New SEO Skill

You may have heard about the new digital home assistants, such as Amazon Echo. Google has one called Google Home, and it connects to Chromecast and Google smart home devices. One of the main uses of Google Home is the asking of questions. You fire off a question by starting with ‘OK, Google’ and ask it about your calendar, the weather, sports facts, or anything else you want. Not all answers Google returns will come from a business. But many will be answers that involve a product or service offered to consumers, such as asking where to go for the best steak in town, or how to acquire tickets to your favorite basketball team.

Build the Right Questions & Profit from Search

What resonates from this constant fielding of questions is that Google Home is demonstrating the next phase of search. Let’s examine voice search in a bit more detail: as the mobile phone era has evolved, people have been given the ability to speak queries versus having to type them in. Current research shows that voice searches contain significantly longer queries (4.2 vs. 3.2 words). With this in mind, it would make sense to explore the most relevant long-tail queries relating to your industry. Then you can work on answering those questions so your company will rank highest in mobile and Google Home search results.

Long-Tail Phrase Tools: Digging for the Most Profitable Questions

There are several tools that one can work with (or you may wish to delegate this activity to a search agency with experience in this area) to mine relevant long-tail phrases for your campaigns. Many are centered around Google’s autocomplete feature or its autosuggest feature. One that is easy to use is Ubersuggest. With this tool you can quickly generate a list of Google Suggest phrases then add them to your basket so you can download them. You can also expand on them to find more variations. Keyword Tool Dominator is a multi-tool suite that can help you with Google Autocomplete, Google Shopping, YouTube Keywords, Bing, E-Bay, Etsy and Amazon Keywords. For the Google Autocomplete portion of the tool, have Google fill in the blanks for you by creating queries that include asterisks.

For example, you can write ‘how to * horse’ and the tool will create queries based on Google’s autocomplete.

Here are a few questions the tool generated for this query:

  • how to be a horse jockey
  • how to be a horse rider
  • how to be a horse whisperer

Phrases generated by Keyword Tool Dominator are ranked by popularity and you can save and download them to a list.

Anticipate User Intent with Directly Answered Questions

Becoming familiar with popular long-tail queries in one’s industry and how to structure variations on them is a skill that marketers should acquire. (Digital marketing firms can provide a value-add to their customers by performing query research along with traditional key phrase research.) Step 2 in this new age of SEO for spoken search is to rank as the featured snippet in Google results. This is not always an easy task, but you can create pages on your site that directly answer questions, such as in this example provided by Search Engine Land. When you build pages on your site to answer specific questions in your industry, your goal is to go after the current SERP structure (traditional Google search rankings), with an eye to the future; which is increasingly personalized (enter Google Home and Amazon Echo).

What’s Next?

Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and others are leading us into a future where search results will become only one way to retrieve information. Digital marketers will need to do more than simple key phrase research to keep their campaigns relevant. Those who know how to tap into user intent will win now and in the new world of search that is dawning.

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