Search engines are evolving. Search is not only becoming faster, it’s becoming more predictive and conversational — more like a personal assistant.
In the old days, search engine results pages (SERPs) presented little more than a collection of 10 blue links — the results of a search over web documents. These listings typically consisted of the URL along with a “snippet” of text and perhaps some other information. Search engines became quite adept at determining and displaying relevant and readable snippets.
As search engines began to incorporate search over data into their algorithms, results pages evolved accordingly. SERPs now feature engaging displays that include knowledge panels, answers to questions, rich snippets and more. In some cases, these enhanced listings are even actionable – such as a phone number on Google, which you can click to call (via mobile or Google Hangouts).
With the shift from search-over-documents to search-over-data comes a new set of challenges for search marketers. How can we create interesting and relevant content that will both surface in SERPs and also elicit a desired action?
The solution lies in determining what kinds of questions your target audience is asking and how to supply the content for each type of question.
What Kind Of Questions Can Your Content Answer?
It is possible to address many question types (as I have mentioned in previous posts that discuss form-based, or parameterized, queries).
However, to illustrate the overarching concept of optimizing content to answer questions, this post will only delve into a few specific examples. (If there are any specific types of queries or questions you are interested in knowing about, feel free to request it as a topic for Search Engine Land in the comments below or contact me.)
Here, I will address queries that deal with contact information as well as product search queries as they relate …read more