Relevance of question-based keyword and semantic search
Google receives question-based searches on the Internet every day. According to studies, there are billions of searches per day with approximately 8% in question form. This suggests that question-based search keyword is going to make a very huge difference for SEO strategy now. To get hold of the featured snippets, you can use such query-based keyword search to enhance traffic, earn backlinks, and convert your website into leads and sales.
Let us see how this works with Google, how a website is ranked under the featured snippet using such question-based keywords, and how Google gets the answers for this kind of search. Before diving deep, let us understand the basics of the algorithm that retrieves the results for the query keywords.
Google uses the power of semantic search methodology to identify the characteristics of the question keywords. The sections “searches related to” and “auto-suggest” in Google are facilitated by the semantic search. Semantic search is nothing but searching with a meaning; it represents a data search. It studies the keywords and the logic behind those and considers the intent of the user to display the results.
A semantic search considers: Language understanding, user intent, the direction of the query or the logic behind it, and the characteristics of the word. For every search, Google understands the language and selects the concerned objects from the query, and then, analyses set of relevant documents and displays the results for the user in the form of featured snippets.
Why do you need to define question keywords?
Understanding user queries might open ideas for optimizing existing content or developing new ones. Providing answers to all user queries is an effective way to enhance backlinks to your website and increase traffic. Relevant answers matching user queries sure does attract people to click and link to the concerned website to access product information. Aside, Google recognizes the effort to optimize content for a question-based keyword and enhances your visibility by providing a featured snippet.
When a search is done using question keywords, Google displays the most appropriate answers in the answer panel. The answers are retrieved from a knowledge base or from a website. The answers are in the form of featured snippets with a summary retrieved from the website along with its title and the URL.
Type of questions Google answers for
Semantic search methodology has transformed Google from a search engine to an answer engine. There have been continuous enhancements in this field such as voice search, artificial intelligence, schema data and query processing. This has made Google a smart search assistant that provides answers to the questions and not just links to the concerned websites.
As Google is now highly focused on voice search, those websites using accurate and structured data get the ranking under the featured snippet. The types of questions that Google answers:
- Direct Answer Questions (DAQ) – Questions that start with ‘Which’, ‘Where’, ‘What’, ‘How, ‘When’, and ‘Why’ get direct answers.
- Short Answer Questions (SAQ) –Example, ‘Why is water blue?’, now an answer snippet is displayed with an explanation as to why water is blue. Google gets the best possible answers to such questions.
- Long Answer Questions (LAQ) – When there is a question about a recipe, the answer is in the form of step-by-step procedure.
Now that you have seen the type of questions, how exactly do you identify such question keywords? There are keyword tools that can help define such keywords. All this done, the next step is to rank your pages for such questions.
To rank DAQs, optimize the following:
- Place the answer in the first sentence or paragraph.
- Mention the question and then the answer, so Google easily recognizes and tags to the web page.
- Avoid answering abruptly and make it perfect.
- Use solid answers and facts and not just elaborating unnecessarily and avoid plag content.
To rank SAQs, optimize the following:
- Provide the question that must be answered and then the elaborate answer.
- Keep the language style simple and easily understandable.
To rank LAQs, optimize the following:
- Lengthy answers can better be conveyed through videos. Explore the topic in-depth and provide with relevant and useful information.
- Step-by-step procedures are also handy with such questions. These steps increase the number of visitors’ attention.
- List type of answers and image-based are also helpful in such cases.
- Keep the main title of the page relevant to the question.
For both SAQ and LAQ, you must keep structured data such as videos, recipes, lists, voice data, Q&As, product information, which is essential for answering them.
There are certain question keywords that you must avoid answering. For direct questions, Google responds with direct and accurate answers. No Website links are provided. For such keyword questions, you need not optimize content as there is no focus on SEO. They are just answer boxes without the featured snippets. Google displays the answers from the Knowledge Graph and does not link back to any website.
Optimizing question keywords shifts your SEO strategy to a very good level. You gain upper hand among competitors using the featured snippets. Your answers displayed in the answer boxes by Google increases traffic for your website and gets your organic traffic. Go for question keyword optimization this year and enhance your organic traffic.