Questions, questions, questions.
Everyone has questions. And most of the time, they head straight to Google and other online forums to search for the answers.
Latest figures show that 14.1% of Google searches are question keywords:
Note: If you think that figure is low, bear in mind that’s 14.1% of 3.5 billion daily searches, which equals 490 million questions a day.
Furthermore, the most common types of question keywords were: “how” (8.07%) and “what” (3.4%):
But one thing that questions have in common is that they’re typically long-tail terms, most likely driven by the increase in voice search.
Whether it’s a quick question about how to grind coffee beans or an in-depth research question on the best ERP system to implement, people are searching for answers.
And that paves the way for you to step in and provide the best possible answers, and at the same time, introduce people to your product or affiliate offer.
But how do you know what questions people are asking? Well, that’s what this post is all about.
Because I’m going to show you four quick ways that you can scale your question-based keyword research and start ranking for these terms.
Why Question-Based Keywords Can Be a Goldmine
Question-based keywords can be an absolute goldmine for a couple of reasons:
1. High intent
The first reason is that question-based keywords often have a much higher degree of intent.
If you think about it, when people enter questions in the search bar, they’re often looking for a specific answer to a particular problem they have, and more importantly, they want it fast.
So it’s a great opportunity for you to insert your product, or an affiliate product, into the conversation and showcase it as a solution to their problem.
2. Low competition
The second reason is that, in most cases, question-based keywords have a much lower degree of keyword competition. And, as a result, you don’t need to create long-form content or build any backlinks at all to rank on the first page for these terms.
4 Ways to Scale Question-Based Keyword Research
In this section, we’re going to look at 4 tactics that you can use to scale your question-based keyword research.
Editor’s note: I’ll be using Semrush for the tactics in this guide. If you’re interested in the platform, my readers can use this link (aff) to get an all-access free 30-day trial.
1. Question-based keyword reports
The first tactic we’re going to use is question-based keyword reports.
Most of the top SEO platforms, such as Semrush and Ahrefs, allow you to enter a seed topic and get a question-based keyword report for that term.
For example, in Semrush (aff):
- Enter a seed term – e.g. “CRM” – into the Keyword Magic Tool.
- Then click on the Questions tab:
Now, in the report, you can see a comprehensive list of potential question-based topics that you could use to write an article or support page showing how your product or affiliate offer addresses a problem or answers a specific question.
At the top of the report, you can see plenty of the typical questions you might expect. For example:
- Why is a CRM important?
- What does CRM stand for?
- What does CRM mean?
But as you scroll down the page, you can see questions like:
- Why use a CRM?
- How does a CRM work?
So this is where you could maybe create a piece of content around the business case for using a CRM, as well as clarifying how a CRM works.
Then, as you scroll down further, you get even more specific questions like, “Can a CRM be integrated with an ERP?”
Here you could showcase how a CRM can be integrated with an ERP system and then show how your specific CRM integrates with ERP solutions.
Finally, if you scroll further down, you can see questions like:
- How to select a CRM system?
- How to maintain a CRM database?
At this stage, you could call out the different features that you might look for in a CRM and align them with your product.
Basically, the further you scroll down, you’ll often find lower competition, ultra-specific keyword opportunities to target.
Also note, you can see the keyword difficulty metrics, telling you whether each question is easy, possible, or difficult to rank for. And at the top of the report, you can see the specific breakdown of those metrics:
- Very hard: 85-100%
- Hard: 70-84%
- Difficult: 50-69%
- Possible: 30-49%
- Easy: 15-29%
- Very easy: 0-14%
And if you wish, you can filter your list for a custom threshold.
So, if you’re using Semrush or Ahrefs or similar tools, you can come in and just simply start checking and cherry-picking the keywords that you like and start building a question-based keyword list directly inside the application.
2. Mine the People Also Ask Box
The second tactic that we’re going to use is mining the People Also Ask box.
These days, if you enter a keyword into Google, more often than not, you’ll see these People Also Ask boxes:
These are literally the questions that people are entering into Google.
They can be great topics to write content around, especially if you’re looking for cluster content around some pillar pages, or even just standalone question-based topics to write about on your blog, or maybe a support page or something like that.
Now, you’ll notice if you click an answer, it expands the People Also Ask box, and gives your more results:
But if you’re searching multiple seed topics, you don’t want the hassle of researching, copying, and pasting keywords one by one. That would take forever, right?
So instead, you can use a nifty little tool, a free Chrome extension, called SEO Minion.
Quick shout out to Steve Toth over at the SEO Notebook. I first found out about this extension from his SEO Notebook email list. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it, as he shares some awesome, actionable content every week.
Once you’ve installed it, you’ll see this box at the top right of the SERPs:
Click the “All Organic Results” dropdown and then select how many records you want to export. For example, you could essentially export the top 100 or 200 results from the People Also Ask box.
Once you’ve selected that, click “Go” and wait for it to gather and download the data. You’ll see a CSV file that’ll look something like this with four columns – PPA Title, Text, URL, and URL Title:
Now, go to column A and copy all of these keywords.
Next, open the Semrush Keyword Overview report, paste in the 100 keywords, and click “Analyze”:
Semrush will give you the search volume, plus the keyword difficulty percentage and a few other metrics:
You can now use this method to quickly gather search volume metrics and keyword difficulty for all of those questions that you just mined from the People Also Ask box.
Note: For every 100 results, you might only get one or two decent topics that are interesting. But if you use several seed keywords, you can come out with a nice handful of low competition, question-based topics to write about.
And that’s the second, really quick, easy way to scale your question-based keyword research process.
3. Mine Subreddits
The third tactic is mining subreddits.
There are a million and one subreddits for pretty much any topic, right? Just search for a topic related to your product, service, or affiliate offer. Or you could even search for your competitors or pain points for your persona.
The list goes on and on, so use your discretion here.
But let’s just say, for example, coming back to our CRM topic, if I enter in CRM, there’s a subreddit here with 5,600 subscribers to it, right?
So then, all you do is just enter that specific subreddit into the Organic Research report in Semrush (aff). Make sure the subfolder is selected, and then you can layer on a bunch of advanced filters.
For example, I’ve selected volume 20 plus, and then I’ve added an advanced filter to include word count greater than two:
If you scroll down the results, you can start to see some potential topics. Again, just looking for green or light yellow KD scores because they’re lower competition, you can see lots of comparative topics.
For example, you can see typical keywords like “HubSpot vs Salesforce” and “best personal CRM”.
But here’s an interesting one, “HIPAA compliant CRM” with 320 searches and it’s considered an easy keyword.
So that could be a good topic for a listicle or “What to look for in a HIPAA compliant CRM?” or something along those lines.
As you scroll down, you’ll see some comparative topics like, “best CRM for gyms” and “best CRM for contractors”.
Or another example question, “Is HubSpot HIPAA compliant?”
I’m not sure if it is? But say if it wasn’t and you’re a HubSpot competitor, then you could write a post saying HubSpot is not HIPAA compliant, but we are. And then show how you are HIPAA compliant.
That type of question-based keyword could be a good differentiator.
You can experiment by adding more filters, for example, to only search for keywords with specific modifiers like “best” or “top” so that you unearth different types of question-based keywords.
So, there’s plenty of subreddits to explore and mine more question-based keywords.
4. Mine high-traffic Quora threads
The final tactic is mining high-traffic Quora threads.
Quora is another forum that sometimes ranks really well for question-based keywords in its own right. So even if you just answer questions specifically in this forum, you can get good referral traffic that way.
But the way that we’re going to use it is to mine question-based topics.
So all you need to do is come over to the Semrush Organic Research report again, then:
- Enter the root domain – quora.com
- Set your keyword difficulty threshold
- Layer on some keyword modifiers
For example, for the question-based topic of beard oil, you might want to enter “beard oil” and “how” or “beard oil” and “best”:
As you scroll down the page, you can see plenty of low competition questions (with a green KD score) to target. For example:
- How often do you use beard oil?
- How often should you apply beard oil?
- How long does it take for beard oil to work?
There are plenty of other interesting questions from Quora that you might not have seen before in your regular organic research.
Again, click the “+” icon next to any relevant question-based keywords to automatically add them to your master keyword list.
Next, export the master list, add to your content calendar, and start creating briefs and assigning to writers.
So those are four really quick ways that you can use to find a load of question-based keyword topics.
Furthermore, if you’re using a tool like Semrush to load the PAA, subreddit, or Quora questions, you can build out your keyword list directly inside the Semrush Keyword Manager. Then export all those topics to a spreadsheet and start building out content around those.
Let us know in the comments which tactic you’re using to scale your question-based keyword research.