The problem facing search engines is that nearly any keyword can be used in multiple contexts. Therefore, it is highly likely that 5 people could type the same keyword into Google, while all 5 of those people are actually seeking very different information. Therefore, Google rewards sites that offer an encyclopedic exploration of the subject matter. The more thoroughly you explore every conceivable angle for any given subject matter, the more relevant your content is to every possible use of that phrase, and the more likely it is that someone searching that phrase will benefit from your content.
Basically, Google has tailored the content portion of its search algorithm to lean more toward Wikipedia type pages that dive into the depths of a topic and away from pages that are just splashing around in the shallow end.
What types of questions should your content address?
Of course different subjects require different types of questions and points of evaluation. One of the best places to find the types of evaluation criteria for any subject matter is through Wikipedia. However, when Google’s brilliant engineers got together to tackle this problem, they came up with a list of questions that tend to indicate a thorough an encyclopedic exploration of subject matter.
Look through the following list of questions and keep it near to you at any time you are writing content. If you will look over the list of encyclopedic Questions / Components of Content you will find it’s not too hard to get your writing exploring content in a deeper and richer way.
Encyclopedic Exploration of the Topic
- Who? Who is involved?
- What? What is happening?
- When? When did it or will it happen?
- Where? Where is this happening?
- Why? Why is it happening, why are these people involved, why does it matter?
- Definitions: Define the subject and any important terms.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Identify all of the questions that could come up whether someone is new to the subject or relatively well informed. Q&A is one of the most effective ways to explore a subject.
- Features, Attributes & Components: Can the subject be broken down into parts? What are those parts?
- Relationships: Who or what is this connected to, responsible for or dependent upon?
- Influence: Does this influence, or is this influenced by anything? How & why?
- History & Future: What is the history and how does that play a role in the future?
- Variations in use: Does the same thing appear differently or have different applications? When & Why?
- Competitors: Are there competitors? Who and what is the basis for competition and determining the winner?
- Processes: What processes are involved?
- Considerations for evaluation: If evaluating, what should be considered?
- Theories, Hypothesis & Expectations: Are there any? What are they? What could they mean?
- Tests, Results & Implications: What was the test? How has this played out? What does it mean?
- Statistics: Any data on the subject? How was it collected? What is the significance?
- Governing Bodies: Who is in charge here?
- Quotes: What do authorities on the subject have to say?
- Commonly misunderstood. misconceptions or misrepresentations: Any opportunities to clear the air?
- Motivating factors: What is the driving force behind the situation?
- Demographics: What groups of people are involved and what are the characteristics that define that group?
- International implications: Does this affect multiple countries & Governments? How & Why?
- Environmental implications: Does this affect the planet? How & Why?
- Economic implications: Will this affect the readers finances or the broader economy? How & Why?
- Political implications: Could this cause a shift in public opinion or provide political leverage?
- Shock value: How can this be used to grab peoples attention in an unexpected way?
- Fear: Can this draw upon the fears of the audience to demand their attention or action?
- Challenges: What are the potential obstacles and how can they be overcome?
- Inspiration: Is there an uplifting message that can be used to spread some positivity?
While no single piece of content is likely to hit on all of the above ways to explore a subject, the more of them that you can include in your content, the more likely it is that Google will see your content as high quality and reward it with high rankings.