Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages are a popular feature on many websites, offering a response to some of the main questions or queries that customers have about products, services or the website itself. With that being said, they are sometimes treated as an afterthought, with little care going into the way they are constructed.
Nevertheless, those offering professional SEO services will often highlight FAQ pages as a great way to boost search engine optimisation efforts. The reason? The answers (and your website) can show up in results pages for question-based searches in the thought after Google ‘Answer box’ (or ‘featured snippet’) at the top of the page, which could also open the door to your audiences using voice search.
Here at ClickJump, as a leading SEO company London businesses turn to us for help, we understand how to get the most from Frequently Asked Questions pages. In this article, we share some of our expertise and explain how you can use this type of content to increase visibility on search engines and ultimately attract new customers.
1. Research Common Questions
The first step to optimising your FAQ page is to take the time to research the kinds of questions your target audience are actually asking. This could be in relation to your products or services, or even the industry you are in. The keyword research you carry out for wider SEO strategy will be enlightening, but you should go a step further.
"If you have a support centre or customer service reps – frontline employees that are always getting bombarded with questions - you can easily find out what questions your customers regularly ask," says Irina Weber, in an article for Search Engine Watch. "Check out your competitors' FAQ pages...look closer at what they are doing."
Once you have a clear idea of the types of things your target audience is asking, you can start to come up with a list of the most important questions to feature on your website. When creating the questions, try to keep them relatively concise and try to think about how someone might type the question into a search engine, like Google.
2. Select the Right Page Layout
Getting people to click onto your FAQ page is one thing, but to actually turn those clickers into customers, they need to be able to find what they were looking for. For this reason, it is essential that you choose an appropriate page layout and that you offer the right options for navigation on longer FAQs.
A first step is to make use of the FAQ Page structured data, which Google announced support for earlier this year. Information about this feature can be found on the Google Developers website. By including this structured data, your questions and answers become eligible for display as rich results on Google search results pages.
A well-structured page, with categories and navigation links, can serve to reduce your bounce rate too, because it can help to avoid situations where people click through to your FAQ page and then feel overwhelmed.
"Many traditional FAQ pages expect users to wade through a series of questions to find one that may interest them. Not cool," says Mike Murray, in a Content Marketing Institute article. "Give users options, including links to topics and even a search box. Search engines will eat up the new, original, useful content and deliver more rankings."
3. Optimise FAQs for Voice Search
Being in touch with most top SEO company London has to offer, we all agree that the rise of voice search has transformed the way websites and web pages need to be optimised. One of the most interesting developments has been the increase in question-based search queries, which are up 61 percentyear-on-year, largely thanks to voice search.
This is becoming a interesting evolution within SEO. After all, question-style queries were once popular due to the search engine Ask Jeeves, yet Google's emergence as the dominant search engine helped to bring that to an end. However, the re-emergence makes sense, because most people using voice search have a question.
With this in mind, FAQ pages are absolutely ideal for capitalising on the rise of voice search, but your page needs to be properly optimised to take advantage of this. For instance, research shows that you can increase the chances of one of your answers being a featured answer on Google by keeping it to around 30 words or lessin length.
It is also absolutely vital that load speeds on your FAQ page are good. Many of the people who are carrying out a voice search will be doing so because they are in a hurry to find an answer to a question they have. If they subsequently click through to your website, they are not going to want to wait for the page to load properly.
4. Add Calls to Action to Your FAQs
Finally, if the aim is to get people to move from your FAQ page to actually becoming a new (or repeat) customer, it is important that you take steps to encourage this. An easy and effective approach here is to try to include some calls to action within the answers to the questions, or links to the relevant sections of your website.
So, for example, if you are answering a question about payment methods, it makes sense to include a call to action related to making a purchase. If you are answering a question about a specific product you sell, it makes sense to include a direct link to the product page, so that visitors can access it after reading the answer.
The balancing act here is to try to ensure your calls to action and links feel natural and that they are all designed to encourage a visitor to take the step towards becoming a customer. A subtle call to action may be more effective in this context, because it will help to protect the credibility of the FAQ page itself.
The Last Word
Anyone offering high-quality professional SEO services understands the value of Frequently Asked Questions pages in boosting visibility on search engine results pages. However, with the rise of voice search and the growth of question-based search queries, these pages have become more valuable than ever - as long as they are optimised properly.
It is vital that you research the real questions people want answers to. Your page also needs to have a sensible layout, which is easy to navigate, and you need fast loading times. Moreover, optimising your answers for voice search can be lead to excellent exposure, and calls to action can help users to take that important final step.
By Christelle Macri
Having worked in the Internet advertising and search industry for over 17 years, I have acquired a real passion for digital marketing. I am currently working as a consultant for ClickJump, advising on marketing strategies and implementing integrated campaigns for direct clients and agencies within a variety of sectors, including B2B. Follow me on Twitter @christellemacri