Want to get found on Google in 2014? Start answering questions - SmartBrief

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Want to get found on Google in 2014? Start answering questions

4 min read

Marketing Strategy

Every wish you could see the future? Google has given us enough insights to start to see that future coming into focus — and if you want to make sure your website, blog and content gets ranked on the first page of Google’s search engine, then questions have to be your focus for 2014.

Google is changing their search engine. If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed a few TV ads where users actually speak to their smart phones, asking, “Google, find me a great Italian restaurant nearby.” Flash to the screen and you see the images generated from the search.

That actually sounds pretty compelling, doesn’t it? After all, we don’t think in terms of keywords, so why should our search experience focus on just a set of words However, there is one challenge facing Google in moving to what they call contextual search.

Currently, all content, links, posts, videos and images are attached to keywords. But Google needs those results attached to questions. In case you missed it, Google’s latest Hummingbird update is their effort to retrain us to connect questions with content.

For example, if you were looking for an inbound marketing agency in the Philadelphia area, you might type in “Inbound Marketing Agency Philadelphia,” which doesn’t exactly describe what you want to search. What you really want is to ask this question, “Who are all the inbound marketing agencies in the Philadelphia area?” Or “Who are the biggest, best or most successful inbound marketing agencies in the Philadelphia area?”

The faster you get your marketing team to start creating content with these questions in mind, the faster you are going to rank on Google, get found by people looking for you and get leads for your business.

There is good news; you already know the questions you want to get ranked for. They are the same question your prospects and customer have been asking you for years. If you’re not sure you know the questions or you want to test your assumptions simply ask your prospects, customers and clients.

If you are an IT services firm, one of the top questions might be, “How much should I be spending to outsource my IT if I own a small business?” Or, “What types of services do small businesses typically purchase from an IT Services firm?”

Want Page 1 rankings on Google? Then you need to create the content that answers those questions.

Here are some examples of how content answers questions.

  • Free Report – The 10 Most Common IT Services Budgets For A Small Business
  • Video – 3 Ways To Ensure You Never Overpay For IT Services
  • E-book – The Comprehensive Guide To Selecting An IT Services Firm For Your Small Business
  • Tip Guide – The 9 Secret Questions You Need To Calculate Your Monthly IT Budget
  • Infographic – Picture IT: A Typical IT Service Plan For Small Businesses

Creating content is a first big step, but there is more work to do after the content is ready for prime time. You need a landing page on your website for the new content to live. The page has to be indexable with the long-tail, question-oriented copy.

You are going to need a visual call-to-action button that gets a visitor’s attention. You need delivery and confirmation e-mails for the educational content, and you need a series of three lead nurturing e-mails for people who download your content.

These e-mails, delivered every three days, present more educational content to your prospects as they continue their remarkable experience with your firm and move down the sales funnel.

If you want leads, this is how you get them. Old-school SEO tactics are quickly evaporating. Link building, keywords, technical features on your website just don’t drive as much new traffic as question-centric content posted on your site and shared via social networks including and perhaps most importantly, Google+.

For more tips and techniques on how to increase the amount of visitors to your website, leads for your sales team and new customers for your company, download this free report: “The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Guide.”