How To Use Google Question Hub To Build Your Content Strategy

One of the things real estate agents struggle with in digital marketing is coming up with ideas for content.  Most know that content is a cornerstone of a strong digital marketing strategy, but are lost when it comes to coming up with fresh content.  

What if I told you that there’s a tool that will tell you exactly what questions people are asking Google related to your service?  What if I told you that tool was actually provided by Google and powered by their search data and AI platform?  Meet Google Question Hub, a free beta platform they provide to website admins to research questions that People Often Ask in Google.  

What is Google’s Question Hub?

The primary function of Google’s Question Hub is to help content creators identify questions that lack answers in Google.  Content creators can input their transactional keywords into this tool and Google will provide a list of related questions.  These questions are informational queries that share two qualities:

  1. They are receiving at least some consistent search volume in Google
  2. Google does not have enough pages indexed that answer them sufficiently

This is a powerful tool that real estate professionals can use to identify content gaps in Google’s index, as well as what topics users are searching for that are related to their products, services, and location.  Google uses the articles submitted by users in Question Hub to answer questions in their ‘People Often Ask’ section of search result pages.  

What Do I Need to Get Started With Google’s Question Hub?

In order to use Google Question Hub, all you need is a website you manage under your Google account in Google Search Console.  This is the only requisite to gain access to the platform.  If you have a website but do not have Google Search Console installed, go to https://search.google.com/search-console/about to get started.  It’s one of the best free SEO tools, it’s provided by Google, and it can really help you dial in your SEO campaigns. 

How Do I Use Google Question Hub?

Google’s Question Hub is very simple and straightforward to use.  Once you verify yourself as a site admin by selecting one of your Google Search Console properties, that will take you to Question Hub’s dashboard.  Once you’re in, follow these steps:

  1. Search A Topic – On the dashboard homepage, you’ll see a search bar labeled ‘Search Topics’.  Here is where you want to input some of your transactional keywords.  If you’re a commercial real estate agent in NYC, try ‘NYC commercial real estate.  If you’re a rental agent in Boston, try typing in ‘Boston apartments’.  
  2. Select A Topic – Press enter, and you’ll be sent to a page that lists a group of related Topics and keywords.  Click on any Topic that applies to your products and services, and you’ll be taken to a page with a list of questions that people are frequently asking Google related to that Topic.  You also have an option of following specific topics so you can easily find them when you log in next time.  
  3. Select A Question – Look through the questions related to each topic, and select a few that would interest your target audience.  You can click the Save button under that question to easily navigate back to the Question when you return to Question Hub. 
  4. Write An Article That Answers the Question – Write an article that answers the question and post it to your blog.  You’ll have to post it to a website as an article in order to submit the article to Google as an answer.  You can’t post an answer to your social media feed as Google does not accept this format.
  5. Submit the Article in Question Hub – Once the article has been written and posted, go back to Google Question Hub and find the Question you saved for the article.  Click on Submit underneath the question, and copy/paste the URL of the article into the popup window.  

It’s important to note, that submitting an article to Google via Question Hub does not guarantee that it will be used as the answer in the People Often Ask section.  The article needs to be well written, informative, and adhere to proper NLP guidelines to be considered.

Which Questions Should I Answer in Google Question Hub’s Results?

Google has not provided much insight (surprise) into their ranking algorithm for Question Hub.  However, knowing its primary function we can assume that questions are ranked by some combination of search volume and indexed results.  The higher the search volume, the higher it will appear in the results.  Inversely, the lower number of pages that Google has indexed for that question, the higher it should appear in search results.  

If we assume this, the questions that appear higher in Question Hub search results are likely those with higher volume and lower competition.  There are a few ways we can confirm if that is the case:

  1. Identify Keyword Volume – Using a keyword tool (my favorite is Keywords Everywhere Browser Extension), identify the monthly search volume if any for that particular query.  Keyword tools often lack depth in search volume data for long-tail informational queries, so you can break down the question to more basic keywords to help identify monthly search volume. (i.e. ‘Is housing market going to crash in FL?’ gets 0 monthly searches, but ‘housing market FL’’ sees 8,100 monthly searches. See: screenshots below)
  2. Identify Keyword Difficulty – Keyword tools will often give you an idea of keyword difficulty, but sometimes it’s best to type it into Google to find out for yourself.  Search the question in Google and make note of:
    1. The number of Search Results – Make note of the number of search results indexed for that query.  This can be found below the search bar on search engine result pages (see: screenshot below).  Most questions will have 1M – 10M pages indexed.  The lower number of indexed pages, the less competitive the keyword is, thus easier to rank your content. Compare different questions in Question hub in terms of the number of indexed results.  Select the questions with fewer results, and you’ll have less competition to outrank with your answer.
    2. Page 1 Competition – Have a look at the first page of search results, and assess the domain authority of the websites on page 1.  Are there any websites on Page 1 with a DA of less than 60?  If all competitors on Page 1 have a DA above 70 or 80, it will be tough to crack page 1 for that query.  If there are just a few websites with a DA under 60, there is enough real estate on page 1 to compete for.  You can see that our example from above has several websites on Page 1 with lower DA scores, indicating that it will be feasible to be featured in the top of search results for this particular query/question.

PRO TIP – The monthly search volume and MOZ DA metrics shown in the above images were generated by ‘Keywords Everywhere.  It’s a browser extension that will show you these metrics on search result pages, and also allows you to pull search volume, CPC, and keyword difficulty for 100,000 keywords for only $10.  Well worth it for any real estate pro focusing on digital marketing.

Answering Multiple Questions With One Article…Can It Be Done?

Yes!  In many cases, it may be better to combine similar or related questions into one article that covers the topic more broadly.  This allows you to create articles with higher word counts, which is a positive ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.  Also, by grouping questions together, Google will value the content more because it addresses multiple related queries for one topic instead of covering just one individually.

In the screenshot below, the 3 questions that are highlighted are related to ‘Is the housing market slowing down in FL?’’.  All of these questions relate to Florida’s housing market, so you can pick one as the main question of the article, and pick 2 more questions as related subtitles and subsections of that article.

Conclusion

If the content is part of your real estate digital marketing strategy, which it should be, Google Question Hub will be a valuable resource for you.  It can be tough to outrank national competitors for top transactional keywords such as ‘Florida real estate, but one thing the national giants can’t do at scale is going hyper-local.  That’s why these long-tail informational keywords are a great way for real estate agents and brokers to generate traffic, build their brand, and establish credibility to their local audience. 

With Question Hub, Google is telling you directly what questions those national brands aren’t answering, but your audience is still asking.  Plus, it takes the guesswork out of coming up with content ideas.  

About Zach Parker

Zach is a digital marketing expert, solopreneur, and Owner of ProSource Media. As a crypto holder and owner of several investment properties, he closely monitors market and data trends in both real estate and blockchain. Zach covers Market Watch at Realty Biz News

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