Question Keywords: How to Find and Use Them

Semrush Team

Dec 13, 202310 min read
Question Keywords


What Are Question Keywords?

Question keywords are search queries that are phrased in question form. They often start with “how,” “what,” or “where.”

For example, question keywords related to “SEO” are “what is SEO” and “how to do SEO.”

"Questions" keywords related to "seo" found in Keyword Magic Tool

Targeting question-based keywords with your content is often a great idea.

Searchers using question keywords are looking for very specific information. Which means you often know exactly what content to create to answer these searchers’ needs.

In other words, you should have a relatively easy time satisfying the searcher’s search intent. And that’s key for ranking well in Google results.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to find and use question keywords to grab the attention of your target audience.

But first, here are more reasons you should target question keywords.

Advantages of Targeting Question Keywords

In addition to clear intent, question keywords present the following benefits to marketers trying to drive organic traffic.

1. They Have Lower Competition

Question keywords are generally easier to rank for because they are often less competitive than short-tail keywords (i.e., broader, shorter keywords that often get more searches per month).

For example, the search query “keyword research” is extremely competitive. As indicated by the high Keyword Difficulty of 99%.

"keyword research" showing a Keyword Difficulty of 99%

But the question “what to do after keyword research,” is far less competitive. With a lower Keyword Difficulty of 0%.

"what to do after keyword research" showing a Keyword Difficulty of 0%

Even if question keywords have lower search volume (i.e., the estimated number of searches a keyword gets per month), they are often worth targeting. Because you can likely rank in the top 10 organic results with relatively little SEO effort.

Further reading: How to Find Low-Competition Keywords with Semrush

2. They Attract More Qualified Visitors

Qualified visitors are users who are most likely to start a relationship with your company.

And because question keywords are more focused, you can usually use them to target more qualified visitors.

Here’s how.

Let’s say you are a real estate agent and you want to get leads through organic search. 

You can target the keyword “real estate.” But that keyword is very broad. It could represent users who want a definition of the term or want to become agents themselves.

But consider the question keywords, “what to ask a real estate agent” or “what questions to ask a real estate agent.”

“what to ask a real estate agent” or “what questions to ask a real estate agent" keywords shown with metrics

It’s safe to assume that searchers who use those queries are actively in the process of looking for or hiring a real estate agent. 

Meaning stronger conversion and revenue opportunities for your business.

3. They Can Give You a Better Chance to Rank for SERP Features

Google search results often contain SERP features or results outside of the traditional blue links.

For example, some search results contain a People Also Ask (PAA) section close to the top of the page. That lists out commonly asked questions related to the initial search query.

People Also Ask section on Google SERP for "buying a house" query

And Google displays PAA for question keywords about 86% percent of the time. Which means targeting question keywords can get your page in the PAA section.

Which can lead to more organic visitors to your content.

Further reading: How to Maximize People Also Ask SEO Opportunities

How to Find Question Keywords

Use tools to find out what questions your audience is asking on Google.

Use the Keyword Magic Tool

The Keyword Magic Tool is a keyword research tool that generates related keywords based on seed keywords.

Here’s how.

Go to the Keyword Magic Tool. Enter your seed keyword, choose the right location, and hit “Search.”

"interior design style" entered into the Keyword Magic Tool search bar

Then, click on the “Questions” filter to get a list of relevant questions related to your seed keyword.

"Questions" keywords related to "interior design style" found in Keyword Magic Tool

You’ll get a list of question keywords to choose from. Pay attention to the following metrics:

  • Keyword Difficulty (KD): How easy or difficult it is to rank for a keyword
  • Search volume: The estimated number of searches a keyword gets per month
  • Search intent: What the searcher hopes to gain from searching (e.g., transactional intent means they want to buy a product, while informational intent means they want to learn something)

When you find keywords that fit your brand, click on the checkbox beside that keyword. And then click the “+ Add to keyword list” button.

Adding "what is my interior design style," and "what is my interior design style quiz" keywords to a list

You can repeat this process for other keywords that might be relevant to your website or brand. Like so:

Keywords related to "home decor" found in Keyword Magic Tool

Check on Google’s People Also Ask Section

You can also look at People Also Ask to get ideas for question keywords.

Enter a keyword related to your products or services in the Google search bar. 

If there is a PAA displayed, review the questions.

Google’s People Also Ask section for "interior design styles" query

Add those questions to a list (to later add to your content). Or look for answers that are incomplete or low-quality.

For example, the below snippet doesn’t actually answer the question, “Which interior design styles are timeless?”

A featured snippet for “Which interior design styles are timeless?”

Providing a better, more detailed answer in your content could lead to your webpage ranking for this PAA snippet instead.

Use Google’s Autocomplete

Google’s autocomplete feature predicts what users are typing into the search bar. It can be another great place to discover question keywords.

Start with a question related to your website. Like so: 

Google’s autocomplete suggestions when typing "what is my interior design style" into the search bar

Then review the various autocomplete suggestions. If those questions are relevant to your topic areas, add them to a list to later answer in your content. 

For example, some of the above autocompletes could become an article or blog post on an interior design website.

So you can be confident that many other users are asking the questions shown there. 

Look through Forums like Quora & Reddit

People love asking questions on forums. So use them to do some audience research and figure out what your target audience is asking their peers.

We recommend starting off with Quora and Reddit.

If you’re new to Quora or Reddit, you’ll need to create accounts. (They’re both free.)

Then, join spaces and groups that are related to your products, services, or areas of expertise.

Spaces and groups related to "Interior Design" on Quora

To find questions in Quora, click on the “Questions,” tab of a specific space.

"Questions" tab highlighted under "Homes & Houses Design" space in Quora

You’ll see a complete list of all of the questions people have posted.

Questions page for "Homes & Houses Design" space on Quora

You can use those questions as ideas for your own content.

Or answer the question in Quora by clicking “Answer.” This is a great way to show off your own industry expertise to forum members. 

You can repeat a similar process for finding questions on Reddit. 

"What is the name of the interior design style of the Dragonfly Inn?" question on Reddit

So consider answering those same questions in your own website content.

How to Use Question Keywords on Your Website

Now that you’ve found questions-based keywords, it’s time to create content to answer those questions.

Here are some ways to incorporate those answers naturally into your website.

Create Blog Posts That Directly Answer the Question

Blog posts are great for targeting question keywords.

And answering a question keyword directly within the first few paragraphs of your post can increase your chances of ranking well for that keyword.

For example, the top result for “what is ui design” is a post from the Interaction Design Foundation. With that exact keyword as the title on the SERP.

Google's top result for “what is ui design” query

Clicking into the article, you’ll find that the article answers the question keyword directly. Within its first few sections.

Interaction Design Foundation's article introduction

If you don’t know how to start creating quality blog posts, we recommend using one of our blog post templates.

Here are three that you can use, specifically to target question keywords.

Create a Beginner’s Guide to Target Multiple Question Keywords

Beginner’s guides introduce readers to a topic in a straightforward, elementary way. They usually cover the most common questions people have about a topic.

They are great for targeting question keywords. Because they usually include sections like “What is X?” or “Why is X important?”

For example, our beginner’s guide to semantic HTML covers the topic, “What Are Semantic HTML Tags?”

“What Are Semantic HTML Tags?” section of Semrush's guide

And ranks as the featured snippet for that keyword.

Semrush's semantic HTML guide ranks as the featured snippet for "what are semantic html tags" query

Beginner’s guides usually have the following format:

  • Introduction
  • What is [topic]?
  • Why is [topic] important?
  • How to do [topic]
  • Conclusion

Meaning you get to include a couple of question keywords in your headers. And increase your chances for ranking well.

To start writing your beginner’s guide, we recommend using Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant.

Go to the tool and click “Analyze my text.”

“Analyze my text" button selected under SEO Writing Assistant

Then, tell the tool what keywords you want to optimize your article for. And where your target audience is located.

Adding keywords and location under "Content recommendations" section in SEO Writing Assistant

Then, start typing away in the space provided. Remembering to include your target question keywords within the headers, when possible.

Adding content to the SEO Writing Assistant text box

The tool will give a list of recommendations for the blog post. Including word count, tone of voice, and suggested terms.

SEO Writing Assistant provides content recommendations for your text in the right-hand panel

Make sure to use the bodies of each section to provide detailed answers. 

“How-to” content provides readers (or viewers) with a step-by-step guide on how to do a certain action. This can come in the form of an article, a video, or even an infographic.

And they can rank for featured snippets.

Like this:

Pacaso's "how-to" article ranks as the featured snippet for "how to decorate a home" query

To start creating “how-to” content, you need to find “how-to” keywords that have featured snippets.

First, go to the Keyword Magic Tool. Enter your topic into the tool. And click, “Search.

"home decor" entered into the Keyword Magic Tool search bar

And use the following filters:

  • Select the “Questions” filter
  • Select the “Include keywords” filter and enter “how” into the space provided. And click “Apply.”
  • Select the “Advanced filters” filter and click on the drop-down menu under “SERP Features” Select “Featured snippet” and click “Apply
Applying filters in Keyword Magic Tool results for "home decor"

Now you have a list of “how-to” keywords that you can target with “how-to” content.

And all you need to do is start creating quality content. With your question keyword as the title of your content.

And each step in the process as its own H2.

An step-by-step H2s outline in an "How to Decorate a Home" article
ContentShake AI dashboard

Here’s an example of “how-to” content.

"How to Make a Latte at Home with Instant Coffee" content in ContentShake AI

Create Listicles to Rank for Questions with Multiple Answers.

Listicle content provides users with a variety of answers. It often includes a numerical value to communicate how many items are in the list. 

Google's search results for "best netflix shows"

Listicle content is a great option when users ask questions where they want multiple answers or suggestions.

For example, consider the keyword question “what to watch on netflix.”

A table with keywords related to “what to watch on netflix"

Google ranks mostly listicle-style posts on the first page. Because they know the user is not looking for a specific answer, but wants to compare and contrast multiple products, services, or options.

Google's search results for “what to watch on netflix"

You can use the SEO Content Template to get detailed suggestions for how to create a listicle-style post.

Enter your keyword question. Then click, “Create Content Template.”

"what to do in santorini" entered into the SEO Content Template search bar

The template will include the top-ranking search results for the keyword question. Along with a list of suggested words to include in your content.

"Key recommendations (based on your Google top 10 rivals)" section of SEO Content Template

You may want to include those terms as items in your listicle. For example, this SEO content template for “what to do in santorini,” could include “sunset view,” “wine tour,” and “hike from fira to oia” in the list.

Make sure to also review the top-ranking competitors highlighted in the template.

And follow the suggested word count, tone of voice, and meta tag recommendations to increase the ranking potential of your listicle.

Add FAQ Sections to Your Content

Frequently asked question (FAQ) sections are designed for exactly this: questions and answers. So you can use FAQ sections to easily implement questions and answers.

They can appear in two places:

In a standalone page, like so:

Frequently asked questions on the FinTech Sandbox' site

Or at the end of a blog post, like so:

Frequently asked questions at the end of Radix's blog post

Standalone FAQ pages are usually about products or policies. So for those, you’d need to know what your customers are asking by talking to those customers directly. Or with your customer service team.

Blog post FAQ sections, on the other hand, are questions about specific topics. Which means you can more easily optimize those FAQs with question keywords.

To start creating your optimized blog post FAQ section, find question keywords related to your posts’s topic.

By entering your post’s target keyword into the Keyword Overview tool. Selecting a target location. Then, clicking “Search.”

"fintech" entered into the Keyword Overview tool search bar

Scroll down to find the “Questions” section of the report. And click the “View all # keywords” button below the list.

"Questions" section of Keyword Overview report for "fintech"

Now you have a list of question keywords to include in your blog post’s FAQ section.

A list of questions keywords related to "fintech" in the Keyword Overview tool

Make sure you include the complete question you found during your keyword research.

And provide informative, relevant, and high-quality answers.

Start Answering Questions for Your Audience

Question keywords provide low-competition opportunities to get high-quality website traffic.

So answering questions is an easy and effective way to improve SEO.

Start adding more questions and answers to your content with the following tools: 

And then make your website a place where your target audience can find all the answers they seek. 

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