How to Get Extra Organic Search Traffic with Google’s “Related Questions”

seo

Most SEOs go after the most competitive traffic from Google.

Years ago, that’s all there was, but Google has created many new features—many of which can be used to get extra search traffic.

The best part about these features is that most SEOs never even try to take advantage of them.

If you’re smart, you’ll want to take advantage of them.

Want to get extra organic search traffic? This handy little guide will teach you how to use Google’s “Related Questions” to get more traffic.

I want to single out one of these features in particular—the one that’s relatively new:

Related Questions. 

You might have seen these when searching for various terms. They appear as small boxes within the search results themselves (usually around the 4-5th spot).

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When a searcher clicks one of the questions, it expands to show a brief potential answer as well as a link that the searcher can click for more information:

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These links will get high click-through rates.

For the rest of this post, I’ll further explain how related links work and then show you how you can increase the chances of your site showing up in these searches.

Why you should care about “related questions”: It’s a neat feature, but is it worth spending time and effort trying to show up in related questions?

The fact I’m writing this article means I think the answer is yes.

While it’s a fairly new feature, it’s grown incredibly fast.

Moz started tracking “related questions” in early 2015 when they were first rolled out. They showed up on just over 1% of queries.

But since then, there have been massive spikes in the number of queries with related questions, and that upward trend could continue:

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At the end of 2015, related questions were showing up for just over 8% of all queries that Moz tracks (that’s a very significant portion).

When do “related questions” show up?

The tough part is finding out which searches related questions actually show up for.

From the name, related questions, you might think that they would show up only for searches that are phrased as questions.

In fact, it’s the opposite.

Related questions rarely show up in the search results of queries that are specific (like other questions).

Instead, they show up often when the search query is a broad term.

For example, if you search for “US food pyramid,” you’ll probably see this:

image16

From Google’s perspective, the searcher is looking for general information when they enter a broad term.

In order to help them find a more specific path to learn about, Google provides common questions (and answers) with the “related questions” box.

Take a few minutes to search for a few general terms in your niche, and see if you can get the “related questions” box to come up.

Even if you can’t find many, that doesn’t mean that Google doesn’t use “related questions” in your niche. Unfortunately, there’s just no easy way to find them at the moment.

That being said, you can still implement things that should let you take advantage of this extra traffic source, so keep reading on.

Where related questions and answers come from

It’s time for us to do a little investigating.

Let’s say someone searches for “gyro sauce.”

They’ll see a “related questions” panel like this one:

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Let’s expand one of the answers and take a closer look at the answer and link:

image12

It’s clearly a relevant answer to that question (a tzatziki sauce recipe).

It makes sense that Google pulls this answer from the data it has for the related question query: “How do you make tzatziki sauce?”

In fact, that Allrecipes article does rank #1 for that query.

So, that’s it, right?

Not quite. In fact, many of the answers that Google links to are not in the #1 spot for their own query.

However, almost all are on the front page.

Take the query “search engine optimization backlinks” as an example. There are a few related questions within the results:

image05

When we click on Search for: What is a backlink?, that webopedia page shows up as the 4th result.

image03

Clearly, you don’t need to rank #1 for a related query to still get chosen to be featured in a related question. However, ranking high will help.

How to get your answer to show up in related questions

There hasn’t been very much in-depth analysis done on “related questions.”

That being said, it’s clear from just looking at enough of these related questions that there are a few main factors that lead to answers being selected:

  • Authority for the related question query – Just as we have seen above, if you rank better for the results of the question, you have a better chance to appear in the “related questions” section.
  • Schema (rich text markup) – “Related questions” are part of Google’s knowledge graph, which we know uses schema to understand content better. It’s not necessary to be chosen as an answer source, but it’s probably not a coincidence that most answer pages use schema.
  • Clarity and relevance of content – For Google to provide an answer to a question like “what is a backlink?”, you need something like “a backlink is…” as a heading (or even just as bolded text) somewhere on the page. For example, the answer to that gyro sauce question was taken from a section called “directions”:

image00

So, where does that leave us?

You get page authority mostly from the backlinks to your page and site. Start with my advanced guide to link building if you need help.

I also won’t go into the clarity of your content much because it’s pretty self-explanatory. Have clear headlines, and emphasize the important parts of your content naturally.

You don’t need to force in certain keywords, just maintain a simple and clear format. If you’re writing naturally, you’ll do this automatically.

The most interesting factor for you here should be the schema markup because a lot of the sites that rank ahead of you on these related questions won’t use it. It’s an extra opportunity to increase your traffic from these related questions.

Understanding schema

If you’re already familiar with schema, you can skip this section. But you still might want to read it for a quick refresher.

Schema refers to a specific type of rich text markup, which is essentially an HTML code that doesn’t show up to readers.

The markup was designed to help content creators explain their content better.

It’s not very widely used, which is probably why it is not a ranking factor. However, Google definitely draws upon it for features such as rich snippets and for understanding pages better in general:

image02

Those pictures, ratings, reviews, etc., can all improve your click-through rates, which could improve your search rankings indirectly.

But we’re not concerned with that here. Instead, we want to use schema to help Google understand our content better so that it is used for “related questions.”

Implementing schema to get shown in “related questions”

The reasons why most websites don’t implement schema is because it does take some extra work, but mainly because it’s scary.

If you’ve never used it before and you go to the Schema site, you’ll be overwhelmed.

I don’t want that to happen to you, so let me break things down and simplify them. I promise it’s not that bad.

If you go to the Schema.org library, you’ll see that there are hundreds of different properties that you could apply:

image07

Now, do me a favor: ignore them. Why?

Because 99% of them will never be useful to you, especially not for the purpose we have in this post.

There are, however, three important schema tags you do need to understand.

1. “itemscope”: This is a top level tag. You can put it inside any HTML tag to tell search crawlers that everything inside that HTML division (or span, body, etc.) refers to one specific topic.

You do not have to specify a value.

Here’s an example:

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The arrow points to the “itemscope” tag. That tells Google that everything within that div tag (in the rectangle) is related.

2. “itemtype”: One level down is the “itemtype” tag. For this one, you do have to specify a value.

When you add this tag to an HTML element, it tells the crawler that everything in that tag is one specific type of content.

Because of this, it’s often paired with the “itemscope” tag.

There are tons of different types in the Schema.org library:

image13

Again, I don’t want you to worry about them because for our purpose, we are focusing on getting our written content included in Google’s “related questions.”

The types we care about are:

You can see in the following picture that an “itemtype” of “WebPage” was applied to the body tag:

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3. “itemprop”: This is the last tag that you’ll need to understand and use.

The first two basically marked broad things about your content, but the “itemprop” tag lets you get a lot more specific.

Go ahead, and click one of those “itemtype” links I just gave you above in the bullet points.

You’ll get a list of different properties (guess what “prop” in “itemprop” stands for?):

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You can include as many or as few of them as you’d like. Just include enough to accurately describe your content.

Before we get into specific properties you’ll want to use in this situation, let’s take a look at the “itemprop” tag in action:

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Just like the other tags, you can add it do any HTML element. You simply include the property name in quotation marks.

There is one other variation you might see:

image01

You can add “meta” tags that have no other purpose than to describe your content.

In the case above, these meta tags each describe one aspect of the content in the div (that is marked with the “itemscope” markup).

Both the width and the height of the image are specified as 800 (pixels), and even the URL is explicitly labelled.

This is what I mean when I say that you can get as detailed as you want to.

Now, let’s get back to those three types of content that we’ll be using here. Each of them has many properties, but again, we won’t need most of them.

Instead, we’ll focus on a select few.

For “webpage”:

  • mainContentOfPage – Put this tag right around the actual body of your content.
  • about – This is a general tag that describes your content. You’ll need to describe your content in a few words (do it in a “content” tag in the same HTML element).
  • description – describes a particular section of content. Using the “content” tag again, you could say something like “lists the ingredients of tzatziki.”

For “article” or “blogposting”:

  • articleBody – Put in the tag that wraps around the text of your content.
  • about – This is a general tag that describes your content. You’ll need to describe your content in a few words (do it in a “content” tag in the same HTML element)
  • description – describes a particular section of content. Using the “content” tag again, you could say something like “lists the ingredients of tzatziki.”

Does it matter which one you should use? In my opinion, not really.

You can see that they are all almost identical. As long as you’re using them when possible, you’ll do fine.

Do you need to use schema for every piece of content? You don’t have to always use schema.

Here, we’re focusing on content that answers a few questions and that might get referenced by Google.

If your post doesn’t really answer many common questions, you don’t have to include markup (although it’s still a good idea).

Conclusion

SEO today is a lot tougher than it used to be.

But there are some opportunities to get extra search traffic that are much easier to implement than your typical SEO.

The related questions that show up in search results are one of those opportunities.

If you want your content to show up in those questions, implement the tactics we went over in this post, and you’ll have a good chance at achieving that. Focus on your typical on-page and off-page SEO, and start implementing the specific schema markup, as I showed you above, in your content.

If you have any questions about Google’s “related questions” feature, leave me a comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Comments

  1. I may sound noob, but this could be a plugin idea so that people like me could use it 🙂

    • I think it’s a great idea, I wonder if something like that has been created yet…

      • Hi, there is the free All in One Schema Rich Snippets plugin, I am using it. The code is validating in the checker that Google supplies, though my snippets are not showing in SERPs. I’ve heard it can take months to show, if they do at all. Also, you need to have a certain amount of them to ever show. I don’t know what that amount is.The plugin in is very easy to use and inserts a small summary box at the end of each post, which I don’t like, but it’s there.

        Here is a link to the plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-schemaorg-rich-snippets/

    • peter martire :

      Thanks for the good read.

      I see this as being a good thing for the average “joe” with some good content, as you mentioned the links can pull from further down the SERP. However, I DO realize that those instances still are founded on good SEO practices. To me it means that organic search is outweighing paid search, and that the basis for rank is UX. Trying to reconcile the two concepts causes me a conflict of interest, especially considering there is a technical side to ranking high.I even think to myself that SEO will soon become a “dead” art, Google and other Search Engines want to expand the “canvass” on which they make money! After reading your article I can’t help but just wonder.

      Another question: does this mean that the effectiveness of the “long Tail” has shifted to a preference for broad keyword, for the purpose of having “related questions”? If so, those it outweigh the benefits of targeting Long Tail, if you are medium or small sized and the market (Adsense) is extremely competitive. For example, Insurance 🙂

      Thanks for your time.

      Peter Martire

      • SEO won’t be dying, it truly is an art and will continue to be in high demand. Everyone wants to have top serps. The role of the SEO is evolving though as it’s part of a whole.

        No I don’t think it has shifted in a way this is more or less beneficial, I think related questions is just an another opportunity

  2. Olu Isaac Tayo :

    Thanks for sharing Neil,

    I’d love to experiment on this further, but before then i will have to go through the article again to digest it properly 🙂

  3. Dave Aschaiek :

    Hey Neil, great post! I love hacks like this. I do have two questions. Do you know what criteria Google uses to add these questions? So for my niche there are currently only 2 related questions. I’m thinking they will add more over time.

    My second question is a point of clarification. Are you saying our site can show up on related questions if we rank higher than their current website where the answer resides?

    Thanks,

    Dave

  4. Nice tips!

    Many people search for these types of queries.

  5. I was searching these same techniques on Internet. I know this but don’t know the exact procedure to do this. Thanks Neil for publishing this guide.

  6. Useful tips,.

    Thanks Neil 🙂

  7. Tauseef Alam :

    Since I noticed that Google is showing few articles under related questions segment on the first page of Google, I was wondering how to get there? This is indeed a good article to understand the technology behind the scene. Thanks for sharing the valuable guide Neil.

  8. There are a lot of plugins out there for WordPress if you don’t want to dig into your code. Just google ‘schema plugin’.

  9. Hey Neil,

    Already done this and resulted as positive .

  10. Aravinth R Enrique :

    Excited to see this topic. Why am I ? Bcz few weeks ago I just started this method and results also going very good.

    Neil, Thanks for taking the time to write for us.

  11. Vikash Sharma :

    Hi Neil,

    It’s really a very useful and informative article. This will really help us to find out what people search on google. I never give a thought to this but from now onward I will definitely use this strategy. This will definitely bring more traffic via Organic search.
    Thank you very much for sharing such awesome article with us.

  12. Zahid Sindhu :

    Gem of a post, Neil!!

    … and just in time too! I’m redesigning my business site and will definitely be implementing this!!

    Thank you, once again!!

  13. gaurav belwal :

    useful article neil
    i am newbie and definitely going to apply all the tactics.
    one more question_
    Internet has every stuff about blogging so why most blogger do not success? that’s doubt in my mind if i would implement and would not success what would i do ? i am leaving everything to become successful blogger.

    • Most people never turn it into a habit and get discouraged. They give up right before they’re about the succeed. It’s not easy, but the it’s a simple process, it takes patience and devotion.

  14. Hello sir

    Exactly i dont know how to get organic traffic..so plz tell me

  15. Nice share Neil Patel sir,
    I really like and appreciate your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

  16. Chirag Agarwal :

    Hello Neil, An another great post by you that made me to comment here. BTW the article is quite hard to understand. But still the article is cool. Thanks

  17. Thanks for this idea.

  18. Uthman Saheed :

    Hmmmmmm!!! This is really new to me. Related question? I will like to tap from this opportunity. Thanks for the eye opening post.

  19. Great post — thanks for writing it!

    I’m just wondering, if we don’t know html or anything about coding, is it worth it to use a plug-in? And do you recommend any particular plug-in?

    I’m just wondering bc obviously plug-ins slow down the site. So is the cost / benefit worth it in that situation? I already have schema for my business info. But wondering about schema for these additional options on each post or page.

    Thank you sir!

    • I’m not 100% sure, but I know there are plugins out there for this. Whether it slows down the site or not depends on the quality of the plugin

  20. wow Thank you so much

  21. This is exactly what I see. One and two word queries – especially nouns. Related questions provide more info and Google is dedicated to supply max information to its visitors.

  22. Gulshan Kumar :

    Hello, I’m really wondering that even after implementing schema markup for rating on reviews post, why I’m not seeing star rating for my blog. The rich Snippet testing tool says everything is okay. I change my blog theme, tried lots of plugin including Author hReview, custom coded, etc. But, still no luck…

    At other hand, In normal search query, Google is not showing but when I search in advance way site:example.com it then only it’s show.

    Is there any possible reason, which is not allowing my blog to show star rating? Any help, I’d highly appreciate. Thanks..

    • It is up to them if they want to show it. There is no guarantee that they display it even if you do everything right.

  23. I have never seen this appear in The Netherlands and also if I use your examples nothing showes up (both in EN and NL) considering suggested questions, maybe it’s just a US thing?

  24. Thanks you for this great post regarding extra organic search traffic with google .

  25. I’ve been using the “Schema” WordPress theme on my site and I took a look and it has all this schema markup built right into it.

    So I’ve got that going for me… which is nice.

  26. 1 question..

    After all the implementations, how much approximate time will does it take to show up the related question in the.search result.??

  27. thanks neil for these trips, will try it out 🙂

  28. Hey Neil,

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

    Definitely gonna try and experiment on this.

  29. I wonder if there is a tool that helps find related questions. Keyword tools sometimes provide long tail queries with real questions but it would be nice to know what people type in when they want answers similar to what related questions provide.

  30. I wonder how easy this is to implement for non tech savvy people. I have been using schema plugin for WordPress but I have not seen this feature. I mostly use it for a star rating and reviews

    • I thing most plugins haven’t been built out enough to support this yet, but hopefully we’ll see something soon.

  31. Your 1 post is like 1 ebook , so much HQ content

  32. Yea Neil. Nice post search engine traffic is always targeted traffic. But it’s not easy to get high rank in google easily. But if we proper use our keyword, title etc over time we will get it.You need patience and smart work for it.

  33. Michael Mcdonald :

    In my own research (shallow) the best link I found was between the related question answer and the reference page. The answer could be found in plain site within the but no real surprise there.

    It was interesting to note the text contained “(keyword) is…”. Sometimes the question was posed in the page but not always.

    I’d like to say as long as the document answers relevant questions, that is it provides value, then it might be a contender.

    Thanks for your insight Neil.

  34. Niel, I really like to read your blogs. I have read many article’s and blogs, but didn’t got clear idea as how to use schema codes. Now all the doubts are cleared. Thanks once again. 🙂

    • Wonderful, I’m glad this helped. If you get stuck or have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask

  35. Great post!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. Roopali Parandekar :

    Some great insight here Neil on related questions! Schema is what I need to dig into now! Thanks for the insight on the ever changing world of SEO!

    • I know how SEO can get so challenging seeing how it’s always changing, but applying new tactics and strategies like these will help.

  37. Shubham Wagh :

    Again, An Awsome Post!!. It’s time to Focus on Schema and Experiment with rich Snippet testing tool !!

  38. Hi Neil,

    Nice Post as usual, some steps are cleared but more are not cleared yet, 2-3 times more reading may clear all the concepts completely. Is it really effective?

  39. Hearing related questions for the first time

  40. It’s a greate idea Neil to focus on related Google searches for extra organic search traffic but I observed sometimes related searches would not apprear for many search terms.

  41. Thanks for the post and much easy to implement. I just upgraded my blog with schema codings. Hope Big G will soon lift my site into related queries.

  42. Karim Dahmani :

    Neil I am an avid follower of your blogs and as always this is a very interesting article, in this particular case I would like to add to what you have already written. Answering questions is indeed a very good way to drive traffic and this is part of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm, some good sources to get suggested questions for your keywords are answerthepublic.com and keywordtool.io. Here is an example of a Hummingbird page that we have done just for demonstration purposes: hottubreview(dot)org

  43. Cavakia Therlonge :

    Man, you make my head hurt on your schema explanation but I convince myself and read the whole thing through so I can become better at getting results for my SEO clients. I like these aspect about search engine optimization because it weeds out the intellectually lazy!

  44. Thanks, Neil for pointing out how confusing and scary the Schema.org library is. I have been looking at ways to use it in my HTML codes, but I will follow your recommendations.

  45. Great Post Neil!
    Thanks for writing such Ultimate Post about increasing organic traffic with google related questions. It’s really a great idea. I will indeed follow all the steps. Hope this article helps my site to improve.

  46. Thanks for the post Neil – there are some really great ideas here for people to try out. I will certainly be implementing this on some sites, many thanks!

  47. When I first read about Schema markup’s, I was confused about them, but after reading this post everything is clear.

    • Glad this makes sense to you know. If you get stuck or experience any challenges with this, please don’t hesitate to ask

  48. Hey Neil,
    Nice informative article on “Related questions”, recently I was searching how to enable it but didn’t found the answer but I got it here.

    Thank you much.

  49. thank you sooo much for this article! im about to start SEOing to get better rankings and this is helping me so much. bookmarking this and look at it again when im home from work.

  50. A great guide about how to use schema codes. Thanks a lot for this! 🙂

  51. Anders Jytzler :

    This is great to get a better listing on Google. Looks so much better with this.
    Can you make a blog about moving organic juice using redirects, when creating a new website on the same domain? Or have you already done that.

  52. Hi Neil

    Thanks for the information, i am searching about how to increase traffic on my blog and your Strategies are very helpful.
    Thanks,

    taylor L.

  53. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that Google and many others want the web to be more secure. Google had their HTTPS everywhere campaign, they announced HTTPS as a ranking signal, and they have started indexing secure pages over unsecured pages. They even have their own guide, “Securing Your Website With HTTPS,” which I encourage everyone to read, along with this article and check out the several reasons to switch to HTTPS in their website migration guide.

  54. Great article. Thanks for making schema easier to understand. It’s still challenging to implement.

    There is site that has WordPress plugin and interface for HTML – http://app.schemaapp.com/

  55. This article helps in S.E.O and making extra traffic on site. Is there any plugin for educational site S.E.O

  56. Your posts are really awesome. I follow your blog regularly. Thank you for sharing such useful articles on SEO. If you can share article on GOOGLE SCRIPTS and its usages in different ways.

  57. Daniel Jackson :

    Great guide Neil, I played a little bit with Google related questions before but this guide was so opening, I already started implementing all your SEO advice, will update you soon!

  58. Peter Derks :

    I tried to discovery the search results as mentioned in this post. I could not get any example of it playing with Google. Wierd.

  59. Vinay Chouhan :

    Thanks you for such a great post for getting extra organic search traffic with Google . Very Impressive 🙂

  60. If you are an authority for a couple niche queries, learn about how Google’s Related Questions works in search. Find out what you can do to maxemize your chances of coming up as the source in those search results.

  61. Neil,

    When can we expect to see an article on Google’s “featured snippets”? This is an absolutely huge deal that I don’t see a lot of experts discussing right now.

    My site has many number one rankings that are now getting cannibalized by these featured snippets, which are often pulled from sites on the second page of the search results.

    In trying to determine how these snippets are chosen, I am at a loss. It is extremely random and hard to predict… not to mention, the snippets themselves seem to change all the time. I’ve had a snippet, then lost it to another site. Or, I had a snippet, and now the snippet is gone and not replaced by anything.

    Now I’m hearing that Google may move to have up to three snippets above the fold…

    I’d really love to get some detail from you on this topic.

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