Google Introduces Question Hub to Fill Knowledge Gaps
Google and other search engines frequently perform the role of answering questions asked by users. They aren’t looking for any site or content in particular, but an answer to a certain question. Recently, Google opened the Question Hub, which is meant to solve the problem of certain questions not being adequately answered by simply directing users to the most high-quality and popular search results. It was previously tested in India, Indonesia, and Nigeria starting in 2018. Publishers and brands that understand these questions can better design their content around answering questions, which will attract more search engine traffic to their site and improve the quality of their content.
First, Question Hub collected the variety of unanswered questions that Google receives. An April 2020 blog post explained that Google Search would now deliver a message on a small proportion of searches that there were no ‘great results’ based on that query. Google can judge whether questions are unanswered from a user feedback or by frequent bounce rates and repeated searches that don’t find a consensus satisfactory search result. Now, they are sharing this information with content publishers to create more complete and direct answers to these questions.
How Question Hub Helps
This represents an opportunity for publishers to gather information about what people are searching for and create pages that address their goals directly rather than trying to match broad keywords related to popular topics. Publishers can log in with their Google account and choose questions that they want to answer. They can enter questions in the interface or choose from categories that will fit their areas of interest, such as Arts and Entertainment, Beauty & Fitness, Computers & Electronics, Finance, Food & Drink, Health, and more. Unanswered questions in those categories from search engine users will appear and they can use this information to formulate answers.
After creating articles that address questions, users can submit them through Question Hub and review the activity and performance of questions and the answers that they provide to see how effectively Google is directing users to these answers when these questions are asked again. Google’s FAQ states that submitting a page as an answer is only for showcasing the performance of that page as an answer, and “It has no impact on your content’s ranking on Search or any other Google property.”
Using Question Hub Data Effectively
Access to unanswered questions may give publishers an edge in promoting their content and crafting it to fit what audiences are looking for. In particular, this adds the human element to searches where Google’s PageRank algorithm wasn’t enough to understand the questions the way people ask them. However, publishers should keep in mind that these questions may be unanswered because they are badly worded or can’t be answered meaningfully. While they let you create pages that are not competing for traffic with existing pages, the benefits of answering them may be marginal. They also need to keep their focus on questions that relate to their brand instead of pursuing answers that are outside their area of expertise. Answers that satisfy searchers on a site that doesn’t engage them otherwise will not help your conversion rate by getting them interested in your product or service.
Question Hub can be a great inspiration for new stories and a way to explore why current content isn’t effective. Doing a content audit of your site for existing articles that should answer questions can reveal how the keywords they contain don’t always match the text of unanswered questions from Google users.
Google is getting smarter and is able to recognize the most appropriate page for most queries, but it’s still driving to cover more and more searches that it can’t understand natively. Websites that want to increase organic search traffic need to make use of these tools to tailor their content to the interests of potential visitors.