Google’s related questions feature − also known as ‘people also ask’ − has seen staggering growth in a short space of time. The feature shows related questions that pop up in an expanding box in combination with organic search results. When the user clicks on a question, it becomes something akin to a featured snippet.
In the late summer, this feature was showing on around 1.5% of queries; by October, this was up to over 8%, representing a huge increase of over 500%. This suggests that the related features query is one of the most successful released yet.
Machines now act like people
The answers and the snippets are generated by machines, with Google using its expanding Knowledge Graph capabilities to take answers directly from the index; meanwhile, machines are also generating the questions. This suggests that Google’s capabilities in the field of question generation and answer response are growing rapidly, with the search engine’s ability to comprehend questions based on both semantic data and natural language clearly escalating.
Implications for marketing
What does this mean for online marketers? Along with other recent Google changes, content marketers now have to up their game. They should upgrade their website with the help of an agency such as https://www.elevateuk.com/seo-services, which specializes in Professional SEO services, and be prepared to invest in excellent, targeted and widely-shared content.
The era of the old fashioned ‘keyword’ may now be coming to an end, with a new phase of intent and meaning about to take its place. The search giant has previously said that its long-term objective is to create a search engine that behaves just like people behave, which is clearly now happening. Google can now like content that it knows people will like, and wants you to answer questions that you are in a position to answer well and authoritatively.
The implications build on what we already know. Content marketing continues to be key and requires product and service owners to write compelling and useful copy that answers users’ queries and genuinely positions their products in a natural way that truly represents the best solution. There are fewer and fewer shortcuts to doing this and the fundamentals will increasingly need to be addressed, rather than finding clever ways to skirt the system.