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7 Ways To Find and Use Question Keywords For SEO [+ Case Study]

by Jason Smit

If you’re looking to drive organic SEO traffic to your website and engage visitors to become customers, then you’re seriously missing a trick if you’re not targeting question keywords.

Question based keywords often have huge search volume and low competition, so they can do wonders for your site's traffic and SEO performance.

In this article I'll show you 7 different ways to find question keywords. And I'll also walk you through a real-life case study for targeting these types of keywords.

How to find question based keywords?

Here are 7 free and paid tools to help you find question keywords.

  • People also ask (Google SERP)
  • Answer The Public
  • AlsoAsked
  • Quora / Reddit
  • Ahrefs
  • SEMRush
  • Ubersuggest
  • Bonus tool: KeyClusters

1. People also ask

The People also ask section of the Google SERP is a great place to find question keywords for free.

Whenever you type a phrase into Google, you'll notice the People also ask SERP appears with 3-6 questions. 

These are questions that people commonly ask and are related to the phrase you typed into Google.

people also ask question keywords

The People also ask SERP is a great starting point to find question keywords. But obviously it's limited in its use as you don't know the search volume, and you can't be certain whether the question warrants a full article or just a section of an article.

Generally the People also ask section is great for populating an FAQ section of a broader, non-question-based article.

2. Answer The Public

Answer The Public is a great tool for finding question keywords.

All you need to do is type in a topic, brand or person, and Answer The Public will return all the questions that people are asking related to your search.

answer the public

For example, I typed in the word "Kilimanjaro", and it returned 71 question keywords. It also returned preposition and comparison keywords, which are pretty useful as well. 

answer the public questions

The downside again is that you don't get keyword volume or insight on which keywords warrant a full article vs a section in a broader article.

Also, the tool is only free for a few searches before you have to upgrade to a paid subscription.

3. AlsoAsked

AlsoAsked is similar to Answer The Public. The key difference is that you can geo-locate your search, which is great for local SEO or companies targeting specific cities or regions.

also asked

The tool returns questions in a tree diagram, with hubs and spokes. I ran the same query (Kilimanjaro), and here is the result.


Like Answer the Public the tool is limited in terms of its use from a search volume perspective. And you only get 3 free searches a day before you have to upgrade.

4. Quora / Reddit

Quora and Reddit are jammed-packed with questions, and therefore make for very rich insight on what people are asking online.

I love using these platforms to generate content ideas and insight for my articles.

quora and reddit for keyword questions

5. Ahrefs

Ahrefs is a paid tool, but is also absolutely amazing for keyword research (among many other awesome features). 

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool allows one to segment question keywords. 

Here's how you do it.

First, enter a broad keyword phrase into Keyword Explorer. I used "Kilimanjaro" again.

ahrefs keyword research

Then on the lefthand side, click Matching Terms and select Questions. As you can see, Ahrefs has found over 3000 questions related to Kilimanjaro.

Not only that, we have the keyword volume, difficulty and SERP results for each to see which ones are worth targeting.

ahrefs question keywords

To super charge your analysis, check out the bonus tool: KeyClusters, which will help you group keywords and avoid keyword cannibalization.

6. SEMRush

SEMRush is also an amazing paid SEO tool. Like Ahrefs, it has a keyword research feature called the Keyword Magic Tool.

keyword questions semrush

Just like Ahrefs, you can segment question keywords and analyse these by volume, difficulty and the SERP competition.

You can also keyword cluster them using KeyClusters.

7. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest is an SEO tool developed by Neil Patel. The tool is actually pretty powerful, and if you're on a tight budget it's more affordable than Ahrefs and SEMRush. 

You also get 3 free searches a day.

I entered "Kilimanjaro" as my search phrase and then selected questions. As you can see Ubersuggest found 95 questions for me. 

ubersuggest question keywords

Unfortunately, as a free user the tool only shows you the first 5 results, so unless you upgrade it is pretty limited in it's use. 

Bonus Tool: KeyClusters

The challenge with all the beginner blogging tools mentioned above is figuring out which keywords deserve their own articles. This is where keyword grouping comes into play, and the best tool for this is KeyClusters


KeyClusters takes the keywords you feed it from tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush or indeed any keyword research tool, and clusters them into groups based on real-time SERP results (i.e. if a series of keywords have 3 or more of the same pages ranking for them, then it clusters these keywords together).

For example, I fed KeyClusters the keyword questions generated by Ahrefs about Kilimanjaro, and as you can see it clustered them into unique groups - with a primary keyword and its variations.

keyword clusters

Question Keywords [Case Study]

To illustrate how we find question keywords for clients, here is a quick case study video.

This case study on generating question keywords uses one of our clients, Preppr, as an example. Preppr is a social media automation posting tool.

To do our analysis we'll use Ahrefs. There are many tools out there to do keyword research, but Ahrefs is our preferred tool. 

We are going to start by clicking on Keywords Explorer.

keyword explorer

To begin the analysis we need a primary keyword in our customer’s niche, so the word “instagram” would work well for Preppr.

We are going to run the search for US market as this is where the target audience is based.

instagram keyword tool

Unsurprisingly the search volume of this keyword is gargantuan at 172 million.

What’s important to note here is the Keyword Difficulty (KD) score which is a measure of how difficult it is to rank for the term “instagram” on the first page of Google. 96 is incredibly difficult, which doesn’t come as a surprise.

ahrefs DR

Ahrefs provides a range of different keyword categories.

One of which are question-based keywords.

This is a feature we use a lot at Contentellect.

After clicking on "Questions" on the left-hand menu we can see Ahrefs has found 347,000 keywords where Instagram appears in the question.

question keywords

This is clearly too many keywords to analyse, so we need to apply some filters so that we can get a view of only the keywords that are relevant to us.

To do this we are going to apply to a maximum Keyword Difficulty score of 10 and minimum Volume (monthly search volume) of 1,000.

This has now brought the number of relevant keywords down to 41 – a much more manageable number. 

keyword filter

Casting our eye down the list we can see that most of these keywords would be relevant to our customer’s niche.

When we focus on the question at the top, “does instagram notify when you screenshot a story” we can see it has a KD score of 0 and 6.7K searches a month making it an attractive keyword to try and rank for.

However, before we make a decision we need to assess the current status of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) to really get a sense of how competitive the keyword is.

By clicking on SERP, Ahrefs will display the search results in descending order from 1 through to 100 along with the associated Domain Rating for each site. The DR is a measure of a site's authority, and a good way to gauge how difficult it would be to get onto page 1 for a keyword.

domain rating

What we are looking for in the SERP view is for any websites in top 10 positions which do not have much authority, or which have low DR values.

We can see that in 8th and 9th position there are websites with DR’s of 20 and 7 respectively.

Moreover these two sites have very few of no backlinks to the content.

Bearing in mind that our customer’s site, preppr.com carries a DR of 53 we would be confident that with a well written, search-optimised article and one or two backlinks we could get them to rank for this question (search term).

This would potentially add a few thousand visits to their website a month.

Question Keywords FAQ

What are question keywords?

Question keywords consist of complete questions that people type into Google when looking for specific answers. Question keywords generally start with words like How, Where, When, What and Who. Question keywords tend to be long-tail keywords and very specific. For example, "how high is Mount Kilimanjaro", "who is the richest person in America", and "where is the best place to live in Spain."   

Do question keywords help improve SEO?

Yes, question keywords are great for SEO and can help improve a website's ranking. Answering question keywords demonstrates niche expertise, which Google loves. Often question based keywords have high search volume and low competition, which makes them easier to rank for. 

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Jason Smit

Jason Smit is the CEO of Contentellect and believes that marketing success lies at the intersection of great content and quality links. With 15 years spent in agency environments, including Saatchi & Saatchi, Publicis Media and Performics, his experience is distilled into Contentellect's service offering. He holds a B.Com Marketing from the University of Cape Town and a PGDip. in Entrepreneurship.

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