Search Needs Computational Linguistics to Solve Its Problems

The increased use of mobile devices means search must learn to answer questions posed in natural language. Research and tech development at Google on natural language processing is filtering into the search results. So SEOs need to step beyond the keyword into computational linguistics.

As users have become increasingly dependent on their digital devices, they expect to search on them using more natural language to shape the queries. Search is deeply embedded in the fabric of our lives, and we expect more from it than previously.

We spend hours on our mobile devices every day and have devices that rely on natural language processing in our homes to turn the television on or entertain us. Every search is a quest, and users are constantly looking for and expect answers.

The terrain and contours of most e-commerce quests are reasonably easy to interpret, and SEOs have carefully developed methods for identifying keywords and concepts that apply to the most important quests that buyers/searchers will undertake for the products on offer.

Does this extend far enough? Not hardly.

We must stay with our consumers and develop an understanding of the challenges of search and how they are being addressed by those who build and operate search technology.

What’s Going On?

Each day, Google processes billions of searches and has publicly noted that 15% of those queries were previously unseen. This means that Google has no history of what the most relevant pages are to deliver for the query. These queries represent unfamiliar terrain, and Google has built ways to navigate this space.

What Needs to Happen?

The increased use of mobile devices that encourage the use of natural language means search must learn to answer questions posed in natural language. Current research and technology development at Google on natural language processing is filtering into the search results. SEOs need to step beyond the keyword into — are you ready — the arcane science of computational linguistics.

Computational linguistics is an interdisciplinary field that studies language from a computational perspective. Computational linguists build statistical or rule-based models and approaches to linguistic problems, such as natural language and search. The huge computational power available today has opened the door for rapid advances in the last five years. It is time for SEOs to integrate some of these learnings into their SEO practice.

Improving Natural Language Search

In October 2019, Google announced that it would be launching worldwide the BERT algorithm. BERT, short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing (NLP) pre-training. Training and tuning are very important steps in developing working search algorithms. (For more on the science, see this Google blog.)

Google expects this improved model to impact 10% of all searches. It will be particularly helpful for improving queries written or spoken in natural, conversational language.

Some savvy searchers search in keyword-ese, putting long strings of disconnected words together in their queries. By keyword stuffing their query, they hope to get better results.

My own research has shown that the most frequent queries are multiple nouns strung together with an occasional adjective for refinement — long (adjective) house (noun) coat (noun). This is a simple example, but queries that are questions are much more difficult to parse. BERT will go a long way toward eliminating the need to use keyword-ese.

BERT is not to be confused with Google’s improved AI-based system of neural matching that is used to understand how words and concepts relate to one another, a super-synonym system. Combine BERT with the other advances, and we can surely expect better quality results.

Search, as a Study, Is Not Static

SEOs need to learn as much as they can about these technologies. Although it seems — at first blush — that we cannot optimize for it, we can create better content that reacts better to the new technology, watch our performance metrics to see how much and if we are improving, and then make more changes as needed. Now, isn’t that optimizing?

SEOs: Should You Seek Continuing Education or Certification, Teach Yourself, or Hire Someone?

SEO is an integral part of online marketing and is now included in most marketing curricula offered at colleges. Additionally, there are numerous certification courses offered by tool vendors and various organizations. There is also many SEOs who either learned on the job or are self-taught.

SEO is an integral part of online marketing and is now included in most marketing curricula offered at colleges. Additionally, there are numerous certification courses offered by tool vendors and various organizations. There is also many SEOs who either learned on the job or are self-taught.

Because almost every resume for an online marketer includes a reference to SEO proficiency, the question remains how to evaluate the depth of learning and level of competency of these candidates. Many very experienced SEOs have never studied SEO as part of a curriculum of study.

When I first started working in search, there were just a few online guides and some excellent forums for those wanting to discuss and solve problems. The entire industry was new and evolving. Most SEOs learned through the proverbial school of hard knocks — success, failure. Their colleagues/peers were the teachers, conferences provided extremely valuable learning opportunities.

In today’s business environment, I would not want to trust a key portion of my marketing to an amateur using trial and error. But that was the way it was. Schools are reopening, so I’d like to use this opportunity to provide a few tips for those who are hiring SEOs for their projects.

Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover

Technical SEO is a mixture of both left and right brain skills. A single semester course, certification course, or module will not provide the depth of skill needed to helm a large SEO project.

Not everyone learns SEO through official training. Many SEOs with technical/marketing experience will not have the academic coursework, but they often have learned SEO on the job.

On the other hand, coursework can provide a new hire the necessary knowledge to execute tactical steps on even a very large project.

A marketer who does not have a passing knowledge of code (can read and understand what the code instructions say) and how sites are architected must rely on programmers and other more technically proficient personnel. This is not ideal, for the technical team. The SEO must work collaboratively and in tandem to solve problems and achieve business results. It has been years since I personally wrote code, but I have found it a valuable skill to be able to read, understand and critique what the programmers have created.

Tools Are Just Tools

SEO is the home of the online tool junkie. There are literally dozens of toolsets available for almost every task — from keyword selection to analyzing the finished product. Some of the tools have a steep learning curve, others are very easy to learn and are almost intuitive. If your business has an already defined toolset used for SEO, then it makes sense to search for a candidate who is familiar with your chosen toolset.

To help deal with the need for measuring proficiency, some tool providers offer certifications (for example, Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics). A certified candidate offers the hiring managers a measure of confidence in the candidates’ competency.

However, tools are just tools. A candidate with lots of valuable skills, and who’s maybe even certified on a different toolset, but unfamiliar with your toolset, may still be the best candidate.

Tools are constantly changing, and SEOs must adapt to a fluid tool environment.

Hire the Lifelong Learner

The candidate, whether for an in-house SEO job or from an agency pitching for your business, who claims to know everything about SEO is waving a bright red flag. If a candidate does not have a bottomless curiosity and a rich set of sources of information to consult for continuous learning, their skills will quickly stale and become outdated and obsolete.

Hire the lifelong learner with a broad portfolio of skills for your technical SEO, and you will not go wrong.

3 Tips to Evaluate the Importance of Link Building for Your Brand

While Google continues to emphasize external links don’t matter as much as everyone believes, there are many SEO experts who beg to differ. Here are three tips to help you evaluate the importance of link building for your brand.

Link building has been a hot SEO topic for many years now. While Google continues to emphasize external links don’t matter as much as everyone believes, there are many SEO experts who beg to differ.

Neil Patel reports the link popularity of a specific page makes up about 22% of Google’s ranking algorithm. That’s almost a quarter, which is a huge chunk, in my eyes.

Backlinko did a study and found the average page in position No. 1 on Google search results had 35,000-plus external backlinks.

Of course, this isn’t all you need to know when gauging the importance of link building in 2019. You need to know:

  • which links influence page rank;
  • how much quality matters; and
  • how much power link building really has on your site’s rankings.

Gaining Recognition From Google With PageRank

Links from authoritative pages pass authority to your page. PageRank is what determines how authoritative a page is according to Google. Because sites with high PageRank are already in Google’s good graces, any links to other sites from those high PageRank sites also receive recognition.

It’s a lot like high school. When someone in the popular group accepts a new student, everyone else in the group accepts him. The authoritative page is the popular kid, and your site is the new kid. Google just likes to hang out with the popular kids and decides to grant rankings to those who are accepted by the cool, popular sites.

The following sums up the importance of having quality backlinks. To  increase your site’s PageRank (authority), you must get sites with high PageRank to link to you. Google trusts sites with high PageRank and, in turn, they will trust you when they link to you.

This trust is what leads Google to rank your site higher for keyword phrases your targeted audience uses in search. As your backlink profile grows with more authoritative links to your site, the more trust Google has for your site, which then leads to higher rankings for more keyword phrases.

The Downfall of the Backlink Hustle

People went crazy over getting backlinks when they found out it had an effect on their site’s rankings. They were asking any and every site to link back to them. Some of them even paid website owners for links, or exchanged links with them.

Paying for links and exchanging links worked for a while, but eventually Google caught on. Google tweaked its algorithm and devalued these types of self-created links.

Introducing … The Penguin Update

It all started when the Penguin update waddled itself into our life. Our SEO life, that is.

When the Penguin update was released, SEOs looked intensely at what happened to their rankings. After Google explained some of the reasoning behind the update, it was clear what made some sites increase in rankings and others plummet: backlinks.

Sites that had high-quality external links saw ranking increases, while those that had low-quality, spammy links or not many backlinks, lost their ranking positions.

But Do Links Still Matter?

The short answer is “yes.”  Links are still important in 2019.

In fact, nothing has really changed over the years except that Google does a better job at weeding out the websites that don’t really belong on the first page of the search results.  As long as you focus on high-quality, relevant links and steer clear of shortcuts, like paid links or spammy links, then you’ll stay in Google’s good graces.

Conclusion

Link building is important, as long as you’re collecting quality backlinks. Publish top-notch content, share it with your industry, and see if others find enough value in it to share a link to it on their sites. As you publish more content and get the recognition from industry leaders, you should see rankings increase little by little. While it may seem like a lot of work, all of the content creation and marketing is worth it when you start to see your site improve (instead of decline) with each algorithm update.

Want more tips on improving your SEO? Grab a copy of our “Ultimate SEO Checklist.”

3 Fixes for Your Bad Brand Reputation That SEO Will Love

Bad brand reputation happens quickly on the web. Google urges SEOs to focus on building quality sites that provide a good user experience. Specifics on how exactly this is achieved are distilled into the acronym E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust.

Bad brand reputation happens quickly on the web. Google urges SEOs to focus on building quality sites that provide a good user experience. Specifics on how exactly this is achieved are distilled into the acronym E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust.

This simple acronym has a lot of complex elements bound into it. Instead of presenting an airy discourse on how Google defines quality, an exercise much like considering the medieval problem of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, let’s focus on three practical tactics you can do to improve your site’s quality score.

Show Your Credentials

Tout your expertise in the subject domain that your site represents. Today, SEO requires having lots of quality content. A definition of quality content is content written by subject domain experts.

Beware of creating content that has no whiff of expertise. This is surely going to be considered thin content. This means for evergreen content, tout either:

  • Your business’ expertise; or
  • The qualifications of the expert writing the content

Plan for Regular Link Hygiene

Links still matter and factor into search algorithms. Links have long been used as signals for authority.

Are you letting others corrupt your link profile? If you do not have in place a regular schedule for reviewing your backlinks, then bad links may be negatively impacting your search results.

Use the Google Search Console (GSC) to review and evaluate the sites that are linking to you. If you do not visit this regularly, you may be in for surprises.

Review Your ‘About Us’ Pages

If you don’t already have an “About Us” site section that is easily found via your navigation, then you may be hurting your reputation.

This information is important for building trust for your site. The absence of robust information about your business begs that you are trying to hide important information from users. The “About Us” section should state where you are located and have contact information readily available.

If the information is stale and has not been updated in years, perhaps it’s time to give it a look and refresh it. If you are a commerce site, don’t be tempted to bury this information; because savvy users, unfamiliar with your brand, will come looking for this information before they purchase.

Key Takeaway for Marketers

Follow these three simple tactics, and you will be on your way to improving how Google perceives your site’s quality.

3 Things SEOs Should Be Thankful For

The holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving and ending on Jan. 1, are a time for reflection on what SEOs have accomplished over the year and for gratitude for all of our blessings. From my grub’s eye view, the working SEO should be thankful for many things.

The holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving and ending on Jan. 1, are a time for reflection on what SEOs have accomplished over the year and for gratitude for all of our blessings. From my grub’s eye view, the working SEO should be thankful for many things.

  • Most notably, we should be thankful that we work in a changing industry, which is filled with challenges and requires constant learning.
  • Those of us who work as consultants, should be particularly grateful for the clients who seek our advice and trust us with their success.
  • Third, from a more personal view, a debt of gratitude is owed to our industry colleagues who willingly and broadly share their knowledge and insights.

The list of what SEOs should be thankful for is actually much longer; but these are, in my opinion, the highlights.

SEO Is Reported Dead – It Just Plays Possum

For years, decades even, pundits and authors have proclaimed that SEO is dead. Each time an obituary is written, or a eulogy delivered, SEO has evolved or morphed to meet the ever-changing environment.

SEO does not die, it just plays possum — until the talented and innovative individuals working in SEO make changes to their tactics to make sure that their sites or their client’s sites are still visible in search engines. The tactics used are constantly changing in response to each new turn or twist in the search technology.

Because the goal remains the same — making useful content visible to users — all that changes is how we accomplish the goal. Responding to change requires constant learning and innovation. For many SEOs, meeting the challenges presented by the constant change makes the job interesting.

SEO is a job that is never boring and will never become mundane or routine. For this, I am personally thankful and eagerly await what the next year of change will bring.

Revere Client Trust

The marketing power of SEO is well-established.

Most companies consider search marketing an integral part of their marketing efforts. When a client engages an SEO consultant, the client is entrusting a key to their business success to the consultant. Not all consultants are created equal. Most are ethical and vary in competence; however, some use unethical practices and work harm to their clients’ sites and, by extension, to their businesses.

Yes! One could argue that “caveat emptor” applies to buying SEO services. The problem is that executives are not sure what evaluation criteria to use.

As an SEO, I like to treat my clients’ sites by the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This means following ethical search guidelines to the letter and advising clients when they are about to stray into trouble. They do not always take the advice, but it would be unconscionable not to provide such advice.

My gratitude is to those who think enough of my skills and respect my values to take my advice. There would be no livelihood for SEO consultants without clients willing to take the risk of seeking our advice. For this, I am grateful.

Industry Colleagues — A Treasure

Without the wealth of information that flows across the industry daily, it would be impossible to do this job.

Although there are many training programs and courses, SEO is not a discipline that can be learned in school. It is constantly changing, and practitioners are always passing information along about the changes or how to address them.

Industry conferences — like PubCon and SMX — bubble with ideas. Even after more than 15 years as an SEO, I still learn from my colleagues. Without their willingness to share their ideas, my own learning would be stunted and my practice less dynamic.

For this, I am grateful.

As the new year begins, I will be looking for what changes are afoot in the industry and will share my own ideas for how to make search more profitable for my readers.

Technical vs. Creative: Who Should Manage On-Page SEO?

“Good fences make good neighbors.” That is a line from Robert Frost’s early 20th century poem “The Mending Wall,” and it’s also a relevant philosophy when determining who’s responsible for your on-site SEO.

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

That is a line from Robert Frost’s early 20th century poem “The Mending Wall,” and it’s also a relevant philosophy when determining who’s responsible for your on-page SEO.

Whoa — sounds like quite the leap, right? Not really. Frost’s poem is about two neighbors who, despite having no livestock or overhanging trees, meet each year to repair a stone wall that separates their properties. One neighbor implores the other to give up their annual ritual, while the other simply repeats,

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

The full meaning of Frost’s poem is up for interpretation. The neighbors carry out their task of reinforcing the barrier between them. But in doing so, they collaborate and work together. They meet at an agreed upon boundary and debate without conflict. Then they go on, maintaining their separate lives, one as a pine tree grower and the other as an apple farmer.

How does this apply to your website’s on-page SEO? Read on, and I’ll explain.

SEOs and Content Creators: Farmers of Different Crops

Farming isn’t just a career path — it’s a lifestyle choice. You can draw many general similarities between farmers, such as they love working outdoors, they enjoy living in the country and they like to work with their hands. They appreciate the cycles of growth and harvests. They are experts at monitoring, analyzing and adapting to produce the most bountiful crops.

Similar things can be said about people who work in SEO. They’re tech savvy and prefer constantly evolving, fast-paced environments. They enjoy the rush of earning high-ranking search results. They tend to be balanced creatively and analytically; they don’t shy away from complex data, yet they’re artistic enough to understand how websites, social media pages and other online assets could be made more engaging for visitors.

Look closer, though — especially at SEO marketers and webpage content creators — and they are far from mirror images.

Shared Accountability — A Frightening Concept

With Halloween right around the corner with all of its goblins and scarecrows, it seems appropriate to ponder the frightening — accountability.

Halloween SEO
“Boo The Penguin Pug,” Creative Commons license. | Credit: Flickr by DaPuglet

With Halloween right around the corner with all of its goblins and scarecrows, it seems appropriate to ponder the frightening — accountability.

As a practicing SEO, my clients expect me to provide advise they can trust and to offer recommendations that are effective. It is my belief that the search marketer must work as a collaborator with the site owners to accomplish their marketing goals.

This does not mean always doling out easy-to-accomplish, short-term strategies that have all of the staying power of Halloween candy. The quick-fix treat will fast turn into a trick if it is not grounded in long-term strategic thinking. Accountability must be shared for results to continue past the turn of the calendar page. The SEO/client relationship does not work if both parties are not willing and able to commit the time and resources to accomplish the strategic and tactical recommendations.

Was It Bad Advice or Bad Consent?

Most SEOs, myself included, will admit that not every project undertaken, every client engagement, every campaign launched was a total, unqualified success.

Not every client becomes a raving fan — much though we would sure love it and work hard to make it happen. I am no longer taking new clients and have the pleasure of taking time to reflect on what has made some engagements a wonderful journey, an exploration into the heights and depths of search marketing success, and others a tough slog in a trackless wasteland.

What separates one from the other? It has not been how difficult the tasks were to accomplish, for all SEO is just technology and marketing. I have worked with as many struggling and stumbling teams as brilliant marketers and terrific technologists. This does not seem to be the deciding line.

What I have come to realize is that projects that didn’t work were not necessarily the product of bad advice, but rather a mismatch of advice and consent. All too often, I have encountered ambitious eager marketers who underestimated the technical challenges that their site presented. They were gung-ho to conquer their marketplace, and didn’t realize the limitations of their technology or team. Sometimes they have encountered a technology roadmap so long that the marketing team’s requirements are an outpost on the map that won’t be reached in this century.

This is a hard realization for those whose results hinge on site changes that no one else considers significant. Sometimes, the mismatch was due to no one realizing just how much real work must go into SEO in a content-driven search environment. Little magic elves don’t create quality content in just a few moments.

The most successful and rewarding client engagements have required a shared set of goals (SEO, marketing and technology) coupled with a real understanding of the task at hand and mutual accountability on all sides for accomplishing the milestones needed to meet the goals. This requires a level of honesty and openness that is refreshing as it is infrequently encountered.

When it all works together, the results can be truly gratifying. It has been my pleasure to enjoy more than my share of these sweet successes.

A Guide to Hire Next-Gen SEOs

Recently several key figures, who have made enormous contributions to the search industry, have either left (Matt Cutts) or stepped back from day-to-day activities in the companies they have helmed (Danny Sullivan and Rand Fishkin). It is a sign of the times — a generational shift in the industry. Not a generational shift determined by the age of the participants, but one determined by how the industry as a whole has aged and matured.

SEO-Professionals
(Image via christianlouboutin-topshop.com)
Pioneers forge ahead, settlers are the next wave. We’ve reached the settler stage of SEOs.

Recently several key figures, who have made enormous contributions to the search industry, have either left (Matt Cutts) or stepped back from day-to-day activities in the companies they have helmed (Danny Sullivan and Rand Fishkin). While each of these gentlemen is to be congratulated on all he has accomplished, it is not a sign of impending doom for SEO that they have moved on to other opportunities. It is a sign of the times — a generational shift in the industry. Not a generational shift determined by the age of the participants, but one determined by how the industry as a whole has aged and matured.

SEO has changed and become a different discipline than it was some 20 years ago when I first optimized sites for search engines that are no longer household names — AltaVista, Infoseek, Excite, Yahoo! and others. Everything we did was so new and moving so fast that the industry attracted heat-seekers. What do I mean by heat-seekers? They are those people who want to be right on the edge of new things where the risks are greatest, and there is the most chance for upside reward. They are heavily self-reliant and willing to go off-road intellectually to explore new territory. They are not settlers; that is the next generation. Be mindful that there is nothing wrong with being a settler; our country was made great by hardworking settlers.

As I look back on those early days and try to figure out how to bring the next generation of SEO practitioners along, I cannot help but reflect on how the industry pioneers learned and developed the practice of SEO. When an industry is brand new or emerging, the knowledge base is less important than the minds and ingenuity of the individuals carving the way. As we look to training the next generation of practitioners, we must consider what makes someone able to learn this discipline — not just create it. Here are some of the qualities that make a good SEO.

SEOs Must Have Inquisitive Minds

The ideal candidate for learning SEO must have an active, inquisitive mind and be willing to ferret out answers from mounds of data. SEOs today, even with all of the guidelines for the actual practice of SEO (the roads to success), must be able to map the way for their organizations. This means bringing together multiple strains of information — business goals, marketing goals, technology roadmaps. Today’s SEO does not work in a vacuum, just doing their thing to make the site visible in search. Today’s businesses have developed online and offline marketing programs, all of which must be integrated into the SEO plans.

SEOs Must Be Highly Analytical

When online marketing was new, traditional marketers (myself included) were thrilled to be able to gather so much information on each visitor. From my own experience, the first time I looked at a set of log files and realized what they included, I immediately closed the file and spent a few minutes worrying about whether I was invading someone’s privacy. I felt like a peeping Tom. Today, the analytics packages provide dashboards filled with useful information, which once had to be mined from lengthy raw data reports. The hard part is still extracting meaning from the data, even in its contemporary easy-to-analyze form. This requires strong analytical skills.

SEOs Must Have Strong Communication Skills

To be successful, the SEO must be able to talk tech intelligently with tech teams and speak fluent biz buzz with marketers and managers. As the role of content has grown in search, the SEO can no longer just create content that “works” for search engines but does nothing for the site’s visitors. SEO content must inform and persuade both search engines and the site’s human visitors.

Conclusion

All that is missing from this list of skills and abilities is perhaps the ability to leap over buildings in a single bound or have a spidey-sense for algorithm updates. All gags aside, the SEO of today may not be bushwhacking through totally uncharted terrain, but SEO is still a fascinating, rewarding and difficult discipline. The next generation will have new challenges as the industry continues to mature.

The Question Is the Answer

This question and answer format has come to SEO as the featured snippet. These snippets, generated automatically by Google from the organic results, provide users quick answers to their questions. Sample questions that trigger a snippet are: “best chicken and dumplings recipe,” “what to wear to a funeral,” “how to remove a tick” and “when to use a semicolon.”

Unknown peopleFans of the long-running TV show “Jeopardy!” know that contestants must state their answers in the form of a question. Having watched this show many times over the years, it is startling over how many domains of knowledge answers can be stated as questions.

This question and answer format has come to SEO as the featured snippet. These snippets, generated automatically by Google from the organic results, provide users quick answers to their questions. Sample questions that trigger a snippet are: “best chicken and dumplings recipe,” “what to wear to a funeral,” “how to remove a tick” and “when to use a semicolon.” The featured answer snippet includes a direct link to the source and shows up above any of the other organic results. For the SEO, this is new ground to capture.

To be the featured snippet is to achieve a rank 0, so to speak. Is there an advantage to attaining this? How is it accomplished?

Why Have These Featured Snippets Proliferated?

As users migrate to mobile devices with smaller screens, search is changing to meet their needs. Gone is the user sitting at a desktop plowing through link after link for information on “how to remove a tick?” Chances are, the searcher is out on a hike or walking in the lawn and realizes that one of these disease-bearing insects has grabbed onto their body. A quick search on an ever-present phone will yield accurate instructions for the removal.

The rapid growth of voice activated search through Siri, Alexa and Cortana has brought a more conversational tone to search. “Siri, find me the best chicken and dumplings recipe?” These devices will continue to improve and so, too, must search. User behavior will demand it.

When Google first brought out the featured snippet, SEOs thought that it might be little more than a test or would only apply to certain types of information. It is not a test, and as “Jeopardy!” has shown us, a question and answer format can apply to many domains of information. Google has continued to expand the featured snippet with related snippets (headlined as — People also ask) that delve deeper into the topic at hand. Explore these, and you will find that layers and layers of instant information unspool before your eyes.

Is There an Advantage?

When the featured snippet first showed up on search pages, there were concerns that Google was seizing a site’s content, displaying it and removing the impetus for the user to come to the site. Experience has shown that the featured snippet provides an added impetus for the user to click through and get more information. It is as if the user has hit a rich vein of ore and wants dig out more quality information. Sites that are featured enjoy strong traffic generated by the snippets.

How to Be Featured?

How to be featured is the challenge. This is one of the many places where content and SEO must come together. It is dreaming to expect a page with little chance of ranking, mired in Page Four or Five of the search results, to magically pop up in the featured snippets for a competitive keyword question. However, a quick review of top-ranking pages — Page One or so — will give you some idea as to where potential lies. The next step is to generate questions that might fit with the pages. If your pages were built for users to find information, this task should, in fact, come quite easily.

  • Why did you build it?
  • Who did you build it for?
  • When do you expect users to find it?
  • How will they use the page?
  • What benefit will they glean from it?

As you may have noted, each of the phrases above is in the form of a question. It is not hard to generate questions. Then, make sure that the question and its attendant answer are infused into your content and watch the results.