Answering a question with a question

It’s surprising how many people don’t really know how to use Google properly. I don’t mean people like my Mum, who’s got better things to do with her life (like make great Yorkshire Pudding). I mean people whose jobs are affected by Google, which (if you’re in marketing) means you. To understand how to “do better” in Google, it’s important to thoroughly understand how the search engine works.

There are plenty of books on the subject, but you don’t need them. Just have a read through some of Google’s own help section.

One of the things I often find curious is the number of people who type questions into Google, as if it’s some sort of online researcher. The best way to find out something is to type in as much as possible of the answer, not the question. So instead of entering “what is the capital of Peru?”, you should be entering “the capital of Peru is”, which will lead you to the sentence, somewhere online, that contains the answer.

But look at your own website analytics and you’ll see more people typing in questions than part-answers. How do we capitalise on this? By ensuring our websites aren’t just full of answers, but include the questions too. If you’re writing an article about your Blue Widget being the fastest on the market, maybe “What is the fastest widget on the market? The Blue Widget” might get a few more search clicks than “The Blue Widget is the fastest widget on the market”.

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