Yes, We’re Still Talking About Relevant Content
Content marketers have been writing about relevant content for years. Nina Hale has even published a few articles on the subject, like this one about the rise of relevant content back in 2017, or this one on how the push for relevancy is “killing” the keyword, and even more recently how Google’s newest algorithm update favors relevant content.
While the idea of creating relevant content seems simple, the actual practice of writing intent-driven content can be like staring into a black hole. How does a marketer know what’s relevant? Where does one topic end and another begin? Does relevant content just mean long-form content?
There will never be a straightforward, one-size-fits-all answer to these questions, but thinking of relevant content in terms of micro questions provides a structure that makes content creation a little easier.
What Are Micro Questions?
Micro questions are the contextual, unasked questions that implicitly surround your main topic. Think of answering micro questions as anticipating your searcher’s needs: they explicitly searched for one topic but will likely have questions surrounding it that they need answered to truly understand the topic in its entirety.
For example, if a person searches for “how to potty train a puppy,” relevant content needs to provide more than just a paragraph on letting your puppy outside at regular intervals. In order to be truly relevant, the article also needs to answer:
- What age should you start potty training a puppy?
- How often should I be taking my puppy outside?
- How do I still go to work with a puppy in the middle of potty training?
- Does puppy potty training differ by breed? If so, how do I potty train a Golden Retriever?
- Do I use a kennel? If yes, how do I use a kennel in training? What kennel do I need?
- What about puppy pads? Are they helpful or a hindrance?
- Can I train my puppy to use a bell? If yes, how do I do that?
- Do I need to try something different if I potty train in the winter with snow versus the summer?
- Does nutrition or hydration play a role in potty training?
- What about treats and praise as rewards? How should I use these tools? What kinds of treats are best for puppies in training?
How to Identify Micro Questions
1. Internal Site Search
Internal site search is a treasure trove of content ideas, but for some reason it is often forgotten. Take a look at your analytics to see actual questions your site visitors ask because they can’t find content with the answers. Then group those questions into topics, answer them, and voilà! Relevant content!
2. Keyword Research
Keyword research is an obvious source of micro questions. Some of the keywords you discover in the keyword research process will be explicit questions, while others will be implied. Either way, group these questions into topics and be sure to address them in your content to provide the most well-rounded, relevant piece possible.
3. The SERP Itself
There’s really nothing better than going to Google to understand what it thinks is relevant. People Also Ask, auto suggest, and especially content on high-ranking pages for each topic spell out the micro questions you need to consider when writing relevant content. Take time to read through those top-ranked pages and jot down what you learn from each one. Those learnings become the micro questions you need to answer to make your content relevant.
What Does This Mean For Marketers?
Mapping out micro questions might seem like a tedious step in the already arduous process of content creation, but knowing your micro questions actually makes the writing portion much easier. Identified micro questions act as an outline, eliminating the writer’s block that often accompanies a blank page by providing writing prompts.
Well-rounded content with micro questions that are answered also provides a better user experience, which encourages higher engagement rates. A high engagement rate coupled with relevant content that accurately addresses all the little surrounding sub-topics will give your content the best chance to rank on the top of search results.
Finally, discovering micro questions often uncovers related topics that can be saved for later content creation. This helps solve the “what do I write next” question, and can help you create a depth of content on business-critical topics, which in turn can help rankings in the long run.
Creating relevant content by identifying and answering micro questions is a powerful method for producing high quality, helpful content that will keep searchers and Google coming back for more.
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