Google has cemented its position as the top search engine, widely used as the go-to place to find answers to any and all questions. Improving its search capabilities and insights even further, Google recently made its Google Question Hub available to all U.S. publishers. (The hub began testing in India, Indonesia and Nigeria in 2018.)
What Is Google Question Hub?
Google Question Hub was created to “fill in knowledge gaps” in the areas for which the search engine did not have adequate information or content available to answer the queries of Google searchers. Google describes its Question Hub as “a tool that enables creators to create richer content by leveraging unanswered questions. Question Hub collects these unanswered user questions and surfaces them to bloggers, writers and content creators like you.”
Through Google Question Hub, searchers are able to notify Google when their question was not answered by Google’s search results. The notification will be submitted into the Google Question Hub, and publishers that have a Google Account and have signed up for Question Hub can then view the questions searchers want answers to. Once they have identified which questions they want to address, publishers can create relevant content and submit their website URL to Google, essentially filling knowledge gaps.
After content is submitted, publishers can track how well their content performs in Google Search, gaining access to valuable insights such as search impressions, clicks, daily activity and more. Google notes, however, that submitting content through Question Hub will not affect a website’s rankings in Google Search.
How Can Google Question Hub Be Beneficial For Publishers?
Google Question Hub allows publishers to view the types of questions that are currently unanswered in Google Search, providing the opportunity for publishers to create relevant and comprehensive content for each specific question. The Google Question Hub helps publishers get their content in front of wide audiences while potentially broadening a publisher’s expertise by encouraging the research of unanswered questions. The ability to track the performance and impact of content following an answer submission should also be beneficial for publishers, as they can alter their content strategies based on the successes of previously submitted information.
“There is a massive number of content that remains unanswered up to this day, and Question Hub would fill in these gaps with publishers to provide direct answers for help. Instead of a social network that publishers scroll to (like online forums), this would focus on looking for specialized content to extend help and reach,” notes Isaiah Alonzo, reporter for Tech Times.
Could Google Question Hub Lead To Additional Opportunities For Publishers?
While Google Question Hub is currently designed specifically for search, it’s easy to imagine how the new tool could potentially expand into additional media channels in the future.
“The first thing I thought about [when learning about Google Question Hub] was enabling content creators to use this tool to fill the unpurchased TV commercial space on streaming services,” said MediaPost reporter Laurie Sullivan. “I use Roku, for example, and sometimes there are 10-, 20- or 30-second gaps in programming during a commercial break with no ads inserted, just a blue screen indicating a commercial break.”
Sullivan describes the opportunity for networks to leverage this “blank” space found on streaming services and fill it with content that addresses questions submitted to the Google Question Hub. “For example, what is discovery+ and how much does it cost? The television shows moving to discovery+ assume that the consumer already knows about the new choice, how to find it and the cost for the service,” said Sullivan.
For now, Google Question Hub has the ability to boost publisher website visits and overall influence among consumers as publishers create more content requested by consumers. Publishers should leverage Google Question Hub for insights into searcher interests and to improve the value of their websites by spotlighting relevant, targeted content. At the same time, publishers should be careful not to develop content that doesn’t connect with their missions or their key audiences. Not every unanswered question makes sense to be answered on every website, but relevant content gaps are an opportunity waiting to be tapped.
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