The days of using how-to guides and titles to draw traffic may be numbered. Google keeps adding more and more of their own how to guides to their knowledge graph so that they are stealing all the traffic related to such questions. At first, their knowledge graph mainly only included guides on SEO practices and such but now they are offering step-by-step guides on everything from car maintenance to cooking recipes.
Below is an example of one such guide. Searching for how to change a tire brings up this guide, but Google has taken it straight from one of the organic search results. This becomes clear when you click on the link provided which contains additional instructions.
Conversational search on how to change a tire
Checking other how-to guides conversational search terms reveals that Google always seems to take its guides from one of the top 8 organic search results. Although they are often a lot more simple than the detailed guides you find in the organic search results. I imagine most people will need to check beyond Google’s guides, while they are so basic. But perhaps Google isn’t really trying to help, just stealing SEO away from those who have used such guides to draw traffic in the past.
It is especially annoying for the publishers when Google displays all guides in such a way that it is not necessary for the user to visit their site anymore. These guides are normally published as a way of getting new visitors to check out your site and look around, but now people can access your guides without entering your site. In short, it probably isn’t worth investing much time on conversational search terms that are “how to” guides anymore, because if you reach the front page then Google will just steal your traffic.