5 Easy Steps To Use Answer The Public To Optimise Your Content
Published onJun 27, 2019byGertie Goddard
If you've stumbled across this blog, you've probably been researching ways to optimise your content for Search. This post will show you how Answer The Public can help you understand what your potential customers are typing into search engines so that you drive relevant traffic to your site.
What on earth is Answer The Public?!
Whilst there are a whole host of powerful SEO tools out there, Answer The Public has got to be one of the easiest to use, and simplest to understand. This is because it is powered by the “suggested searches” or predictions that you normally see when you perform a Google search. Here’s an example:
Here, Google is trying to predict what you might like to know about “content marketing” (a head term), based on what other people have searched for. However, what you can see is clearly limited to 10 suggestions. And this is where Answer The Public steps in:
Screenshot from Answer The Public, displaying information as a “visualisation” (left) or as “data” (right)
As you can see in the image above, Answer The Public is a long-tail keyword tool that maps out all of the available search information (not just 10!), and organises it under sub categories including:
Questions - e.g. “what” “when” “can” before the keyword
Prepositions - e.g. “for” “is” “near” “with” after the keyword
Comparisons - e.g. “and” “vs” “or” after the keyword
Alphabeticals - e.g the keyword, followed by every letter of the alphabet
This is otherwise known as a “search cloud” and provides a nifty insight into the questions/phrases your target audience is typing into the search engines.
How to use Answer The Public in content marketing?
Just sporadically typing a few head terms into Answer The Public, downloading the results, then building a content strategy around this, will only get you so far though. If you want to use Answer The Public for SEO, you need to be much more strategic.
With this in mind, here are 5 easy steps to use Answer The Public to optimise your content:
Step 1: Get rid of your persona bias Step 2: Conduct some keyword research Step 3: Identify top opportunities Step 4: Optimise for answer boxes Step 5: Get creative and measure results
Step 1: Get rid of your persona bias
We’re all guilty of using our “gut-feel” when it comes to our target audience. However, being presumptuous can be costly when it comes to keyword research and content marketing. You may be, inadvertently, applying your own personal bias onto your prospects - people you haven’t even met yet!
It’s therefore vital you leverage well-researched buyer personas when using Answer The Public. Buyer Personas help build an accurate picture of who your ideal customers are; their personal attributes, goals, and challenges. Only from this can you really start to understand their pain points and relevant topics… then you can use this information in Answer The Public - to inform what you feed into it, and what you choose to take from it.
Step 2: Conduct some keyword research
Write down a list of general, unspecific head terms that pertain to your buyer personas. Think carefully about both the topics they are interested in/will need assistance in, but also the journey that will lead them to you.
Start feeding them into Answer The Public, and combing through the results.
“Hopefully, you’ll start to see some real specific, deep-dive questions about the target subject thrown back at you right away. That’s great, but it also means there are probably lots of answers already out there too.” writes Ste, SEO Manager at Noisy Little Monkey.
“Either way, pull out the terms that are close to the subject you’re looking for and feed those back in. You should start closing in on phrases that are getting more and more focused for the subject you’re looking for.”
Step 3: Identify top opportunities
Now you have a variety of optimised long-tail keywords, you need to (1) investigate how many people are actually searching for them, and (2) work out how competitive they are. Answer The Public provide darkening green dots as a measure of how popular a search term is, but you need to be cautious! This is because fresh or trending terms (but low volume in general) can appear above higher search terms.
Darker green = more popular
Therefore you can feel a lot more confident in your research when you sense check against other tools such as SEMrush, Google’s Keyword Planner or Uber Suggest. These tools will give you visibility on search volume, cost per click (CPC) and competition:
Example from Keyword Planner
Top tip: You can also get a chrome web store extension such as Keywords Everywhere, that squirts Keyword Planner data straight into Answer The Public. A nifty shortcut!
From here, you can spot the best long-tail keywords where the search volume is high, and the competition is relatively low (see my stars there?). Et voilà! You have some great optimised titles you can write content around.
Step 4: Optimise for answer boxes
Whilst not essential, it’s really worth performing an answer box analysis at this point.
Quick outline: An answer box is a clear “box” of information (or rich snippet) that appears at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) when Google deems content to be the best answer to a query. Hence, they provide a huge search advantage and are, understandably, very desirable.
Open an incognito window, and start typing each of your chosen long-tail keywords into Google. What do you see? If there isn’t an answer box there, brilliant (you can go for it!), but if there is one that doesn’t mean you should feel disheartened. There are still many ways you can beat the competition to the top spot. Find out how here: How to get a Google Answer Box.
It’s important to acknowledge that using Answer The Public to optimise your content is only one stage in your digital marketing strategy. In order to measure the impact of work, you need to track your content’s performance against SMART Goals, and continue to monitor and fine-tune into the future. It’s not a case of “it’s published now let’s forget about it"!
Here are some questions you should be considering:
This blog is ranking well, but hasn’t got an answer box. How can we optimise it to achieve this?
Why has this page got a lot of traffic but has a low conversion rate/ high bounce rate?
Have I got blogs that are self-competing for the same long-tail keywords?