What if Google Was Actually Quora

The basic premise of how I see Google is that I look at it like a Q and A website, like Quora.com.

People are asking questions, we are providing answers, and Google is tracking all the data. This means we can see who is asking what questions and how often.

Nowadays, with our advanced degree of machine learning, we can be even more targeted with what content users are demanding based on trends or gaps in the market. That’s the core of my whole entire strategy to drive traffic through search. Like anything, this method takes practice but I hope I can help speed track your learning curve a bit today.

Typically, if I give a client 10 content ideas, 2 or 3 of those really hit it out of the park.

They will go on to produce 3K-5K unique visits a month. 5 or 6 of them rank in the 100s and maybe 1 or 2 don’t move the needle much at all. That’s how I’ve been seeing results break down for some time now. Still, overall a pretty strong batting average.

Understanding the “Intent” behind a search is crucial to producing good content. Let’s say you want to talk about marketing automation, you should first search the topic on Google and look at the results. The first thing you want to look at are the autosuggestions.

If you’re seeing things like “What is marketing automation” or “marketing automation definition” then you know right away that people are looking for basic information about this area of marketing.

Then when you hit enter you should look at related searches at the bottom, and the “people also asked” areas on the page.

These areas also give you insight into how people are asking questions using this search term. Marketing automation is a fairly broad term and that makes it tougher on Google to figure out a specific user intent from it.

As humans we can intuit the intent behind why certain search results are ranked highly. If we search for “accounting software” and all the results we get returned are how to articles and not sales pages then we can conclude that that wasn’t a purchase intent search, it’s an information gathering search. Doing this kind of intent research is incredibly illuminating to how search truly works.

It’s important to also look at what medium people are seeking. Are they looking for images, video, or a map? This gives you insight into what types of elements should be found in your own content. Look at mobile and desktop but weigh more heavily based on where your audience is found.

Here’s How You Record All This Research

I open up a spreadsheet and create a few tabs at on it.

One tab is just a raw list of all the topics I might want to write about, this is just a brainstorm page.

Then I create another sheet that will be more refined. This will have columns for keyword / topic, search volume, ranking competition, and the SEM report of other content ranking for that keyword.

You can add in some custom columns that may be specific to your business or content goals. Maybe you want to note how long the content will take to produce or the medium it’s meant for.  
Once you have your raw data amassed you can sort by search volume or by potential traffic and filter out the ones that aren’t going to be a good fit.


Action Steps

  1. Look at the keywords you want to rank for and study what the user intent was behind the terms by looking at the top rankings.
  2. Build a spreadsheet with all your raw content ideas.
  3. Add a sheet to fill in specifics on the content, search volume, potential traffic, medium, and fit.
  4. Filter out the ideas that aren’t a good fit for your business.


Result You Will Achieve

Understand user intent behind specific search terms and how to create content that will fit your target searches.

Mentor: Dan Shure

SEO Consultant of Evolving SEO. Dan has helped grow client blogs 2x, 3x and 10-20x – has grown his 100% DIY, self produced podcast to 3,500+ listeners and 250,000+ total downloads with no paid ads.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.