One of the most effective methods of adding content is to simply provide answers to typical questions that your customers are asking. Answers could be as basic as a single paragraph of text for simple answers right through to highly-detailed articles (such as the one you’re currently reading) if the question warrants it.
So how do you establish what questions you should be answering? There are four core strategies you can use for finding those questions:
As the name suggests, Yahoo Answers is an online database containing millions of user-submitted questions covering virtually every subject. To see what questions people are asking about your market, simply go to Yahoo Answers and type in your primary search-phrase.
Using our example, we’d enter the term ‘Boiler Servicing’ and here are the top 4 answers…
Without even browsing through the results we see there are four great questions being asked that we can provide answers to in our website. You can also be a bit more creative by using variations of your primary search-phrase, for example:
Potterton boiler servicing
Glow Worm boiler servicing
Baxi boiler servicing
This will bring up a whole host of different questions that might be relevant to specific boiler type or model, thus providing you with hundreds of unique questions to answer in your website.
One of the most obvious, yet under-used methods of establishing what your customers are asking is simply to go through all of the customer emails in your email ‘Sent’ folder.
If you look through all of those emails, you’ll probably find dozens of questions that you’ve answered for customers from the very basic such as ‘How long does it take to service a boiler?’ right through to the more complex such as ‘Can my boiler be moved from downstairs to upstairs?’
This method will also save you time as you won’t have to constantly answer the same question over and over again if it happens to be frequently asked. If you receive an email from a new customer asking an already answered question, you can either cut and past the ‘canned’ answer from your website into an email to them or simply send them the link to the relevant page on your website.
This is a neat way of finding out what questions your competitors are answering on their websites simply by using Google search.
Firstly, go to Google.co.uk and in the search box, enter your primary search-phrase and then simply add “FAQ” (in speech marks) after it, for example…
What this will do is return results in Google for website pages that are relevant to ‘Boiler servicing’ but with the condition that the page title contains the term ‘FAQ’. A quick search just through the first page of results for our ‘Boiler servicing’ example provides us with over 100 questions.
To ensure this method is effective, do not be tempted to simply copy questions and/or answers from your competitor’s websites and paste them into your website. Not only could this be seen as a breach of copyright but Google does not like what could be penalised.
This method is designed to provide you with ideas for questions that you can then re-word and add to your website – it is should not be used lazily as copy & paste way of creating content.
Once again, we’ll let Google provide us with a little inspiration for our questions (and content in general) but this time, we’ll be using their ‘Auto-suggest’ (AS) tool.
What Google AS does is predict what you are going to be searching for once you start typing words into the search box. For this to work, firstly ensure that AS is activated in Google.co.uk be typing any word into the search box and if AS is activated then a list of search terms that contain your word will appear underneath.
For our example, Google AS produces this result…
Okay, for our example we primarily see a list of location-based searches that Google assumes we’re going to want based on searches by other users. The down-side is that unless we can actually service customers in these areas (Bristol, London, Leeds, etc.), there is precious little point adding content to our website about ‘Boiler Servicing London’.
However, if you do offer services or products based primarily on a specific town, city or county then this technique can be very useful for example,
“How much does boiler servicing in London cost?”
“How do I choose a reliable boiler servicing company in London?”
If your business does target customers across the UK then we would strongly suggest that you only use geographical questions for your base location. For example, if you are a boiler servicing company based in London but covering the entire UK then only add question relating to London. Do not be tempted to replicate the same question repeatedly with different locations as Google could see it as web spam.
So what if you don’t want to target question by geographical location? Well, there is another way we can use Google’s AS feature to find more related search variations.
Again, go to Google.co.uk and enter your primary search-phrase but this time, move your cursor to the beginning of the text and add a space by hitting your space bar. Then, all you need to do is type in each letter of the alphabet, one by one (deleting the previous entry), and Google will deliver suggestions starting with that letter that include your primary search-phrase.
For our example, we’ve entered ‘boiler servicing’, then typed the letter ‘w’ before it and Google then serves us with suggestions of search terms that start with the word ‘w’ and include our primary search phrase.
You’ll see from our screen-shot below that this brings up a completely different set of suggestions and within those suggestions we see a couple of questions including, “What does boiler servicing involve?” and “What is boiler servicing?”
By going through the entire alphabet we can uncover scores of different questions that real Google users are asking. As a further example of this method, we’ve simply entered the letter ‘i’ before our primary search-phrase and again, Google helpfully gives us another set of suggestions which includes the questions,
“Is boiler servicing worth it?”
“What’s involved in boiler servicing?”
Hopefully this method will help you generate plenty of suitable questions that will form the basis of useful user content on your website.