Although much of the focus in the content creation world tends to be placed on creating captivating front-page content that will grab your target audience’s attention, it can often be the overlooked, less-exciting written content on a website that will have the biggest impact on SEO.
While a well-thought-out and exciting SEO strategy certainly needs its fair share of bespoke articles, blogs and editorials, these are ultimately not the only form of written content that a website will contain.
With this in mind, this short article will focus on a form of content that is often overlooked when businesses look to boost their SEO impact: the FAQ section.
Although your target audience won’t necessarily visit your website solely to read the FAQ section, this does not mean that it has no place in your SEO strategy. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Although it is more prosaic when compared to some of the more creative and engaging written content you will host on your website, the FAQ section is useful not only from the customer’s perspective, but it can also be used to increase your SEO ranking.
What is an FAQ?
The ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ – or FAQ – section of a website is part of your website that you can use to address any of the common concerns or questions that a customer or user might have about your business.
On most websites, an FAQ section is included as a standard part of the website design along with the ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ pages.
Although it is often used as a bit of a dumping ground for random bits of information about the business or website in question, the reality is that an FAQ section is something much closer to an automated customer service page. In this way, a well-thought-out and well-written FAQ section can help to make your business more efficient, by cutting down or avoiding completely common customer service questions. This is particularly important given the business case for having good customer service processes in place.
However, beyond containing answers to basic questions about your business or website, if done correctly, the FAQ section can also be used to boost your SEO. Much like any other piece of written content you host, FAQ sections can be integrated with internal links, external links and keywords, all of which will materially impact your SEO rankings. While the FAQ section should never be exclusively written with the sole aim of boosting SEO, we should not overlook the potential it has.
Do I need an FAQ page, and should I use it for SEO?
Although it might seem like a relatively uncontroversial topic, the necessity and appropriateness of using FAQ pages for SEO has generated a surprising amount of discussion and controversy within the content marketing community.
On the one hand, you have those SEO experts who argue that FAQ pages are to be avoided on the basis that they encourage lazy SEO practices. For these professionals, FAQ pages tend to become a dumping ground for sloppy, poorly written, and often irrelevant content that does little to improve the user experience.
On the other hand, however, you have website designers who view FAQ pages as essential to a good customer experience. For these professionals, FAQ pages are the perfect platform to help direct users to the important and relevant information they might be seeking out.
Although both sides of the debate make interesting and important arguments, the fact of the matter is that customers inevitably seek out some kind of FAQ page regardless of whether you include one or not. As such, you might as well work with, rather than against, the user’s interface instincts of the customers using your website. While we are not denying the fact that FAQ pages can often become lazy, unfiltered dumping grounds that are bloated by an overload of SEO tricks, this does not need to be the case!
With that said, let’s run through some tips, tricks and strategies you can use to get the most out of your FAQ page.
How to create an SEO-friendly FAQ
Now that we have made a case for including an FAQ page and have hopefully convinced you of the benefits, we can now discuss strategy.
Firstly, the most important guiding principle you should follow is that the content should be guided by what is useful, rather than what makes for effective SEO. Once you have an idea of what content needs to be included, you can then start integrating SEO best practices.
With this in mind, your next task will be to start compiling a set of questions to include answers to. There are various resources you can use to gather these, but most commonly these insights will come from internal team members (i.e. the customer support team), audience research such as customer surveys, user chat logs and web site searches, community websites such as forums, and Google search results.
With these insights gathered, you can then use them to draft up a set of frequently asked questions. Try to include a mix of both general and more specific questions. Once you have a list of questions settled, you can then start producing answers to them. As far as possible, ensure that the answers you provide are clear, concise and factual. If you are struggling to produce a concise answer, this might be a sign that the answer would be better served as a standalone piece of content.
Once you have drafted up the questions and answers, ensure that your FAQ page is formatted in a way that maximises user experience. Drop-down menus are a great way of avoiding walls of text. You can also group questions by their type, theme or content to help break them up. Multiple FAQ pages might also be more appropriate depending on how much content you have to cover.
With this all settled, you can then start thinking about SEO. Use the questions and answers to identify relevant long and short-tail keywords. You should also create meta descriptions for each FAQ page. Although it will not directly impact your SEO, it will encourage user click-throughs when they see the page listed in the search rankings. Title tags can also be used to help boost SEO. You can also think of the SEO page as a site map and use internal links to help direct users.
With these basic SEO practices incorporated, you can then think about using Google’s FAQPage schema. This is essentially a tool that allows Google to better understand your FAQ page and to help it stand out when search results are presented.
Putting theory into practice
With all of this in mind, the above guidance can be condensed into the following steps:
- Compile the most commonly asked questions using both internal and customer insights.
- Draft up answers to these questions that are clear, concise and factual.
- Ensure that the FAQ page is formatted to enhance user experience.
- Optimise the FAQ page for SEO best practices, including long/short-tail keywords, meta descriptions, title tags and link building.
- Optimise your page for Google’s FAQPage schema.
As you can see, although it is often overlooked, the FAQ section of a website is prime real estate for SEO. With a bit of planning and knowledge, you can use this space to boost your presence online, as well as to improve user experience. If you have any questions about anything that we have mentioned in this article, please feel free to reach out to a member of our team today. By booking a one-on-one consultation, our content experts can set you on a path to SEO success!