Homepage. Check. Product/service page. Check. Contact us page. Check. What’s next? FAQ page? YES. This page should be optimized, too. Why this page, you might ask. Well, the frequently asked questions (FAQ) page is a high-level page as well, appearing alongside other important pages (i.e. About us, Contact us, Blog, etc.). Why treat it with less importance when you yourself placed it at the site’s navigation bar? Google and other search engines confer value upon these navigations and you should, too.
Let’s explore this SEO opportunity.
IMPORTANT: During FAQ page optimization, you need to look at your customers’ brand experience.
So, how do you go about the FAQ page optimization process?
1) Understand your customers’ pain points
If you are privileged to talk to your customers face-to-face, good for you. You can truly understand their real and felt needs other than their perceived problems through a direct conversation. Simply ask them whether they have questions and with answers they cannot find on Google. And through this, you may instantly create opportunities and solutions to their pain points. Reflect their answers on your FAQ page especially if you encounter these questions over and over (hey, that’s why it is frequently asked, right?).
However, there are alternate routes if talking directly to your customers is not possible.
Talk to the people who directly interact with the customers
Talk to your salespeople or the customer service personnel since they are the go-to persons when your customers have a question about the company, brand, products, services, etc. Ask them to write the questions whenever a customer asked especially those questions, problems or issues that are not yet tackled on your website.
Ask the customers indirectly
Treat your website as a venue to gather information about the problems, needs and preferences of your customers. Setup a simple survey on the site. For instance, you may put questions like ‘Did you find what you are looking for in this page? If no, why?’ or ‘Was this helpful? If not, why?’ The answers to these questions alone will gauge you whether you are addressing their pain points or not.
2) Identify the long tail keywords
Questions that your customers asked are the perfect tool to use in identifying the long tail keywords. These are the questions that they want you to answer, and probably the same questions that other customers are asking too. It’s a two-way process. First, the keyword research must back up the questions and second, the questions must back up keyword research. You need to do this otherwise you’ll fail at capturing and addressing your customers pain points before, during and after interacting with you business.
You can use the questions that your customers use. Alternatively, you can identify the key terms on these questions. Search for these key terms as your head terms on Google Keyword Planner. Yet another way to do this is through a Google search. For example, one of our clients ask us ‘What is Internet marketing agency?’ We searched it on Google and it returns Searches related to the question.
For both alternative keyword research processes, you should determine the keywords that have the highest volume of searches. Then, focus your FAQ page on these keywords so as not to over-optimize the page. Make sure that you are phrasing the terms based on how your customers use them. Do this right and you’re on your way to maximizing search value through your FAQ page.
3) Update the FAQ page
One of the biggest mistakes we see is creating an FAQ page and totally forgetting about it. It must be maintained as well for it to be useful. Even if you are not optimizing this page, your products and services continue to evolve hence new questions (and pain points) emerge. As such, your customers are now asking a different set of questions than what you’ve previously encountered. So, update, update, update.
However, as the site owner, you need to ensure that the information on the FAQ page is organized otherwise it will defeat its purpose. Your customers will only scroll down to the bottom of the page without finding the information that they are looking for. Not because the answer is not there, but because it is buried at the mid-part. What a bad experience!
Here’s what you should do if you can no longer fit all the Q&As on a single page.
Hide the answers
Offer a collapse option for each and all answers. Hide all the answers and show it only when the visitors clicks on the question. Consider putting a ‘back to top’ option, too.
Break up the page
Categorize the questions and answers and put each category on a sub-page. Just make sure that the categories make sense to your users.
Hyperlink to other pages
Answer questions briefly then, point the user to the main page that discusses the problem or issue. In this way, full information need not be put onto the page. This is an internal linking strategy that also encourages conversions.
Put brief answers
Keep paragraphs short and with short sentences. One to three short sentences will do. Consider using bullet points and lists whenever applicable.
Not all websites need an FAQ page. If the questions can be answered in any other pages of the site, then you need not put an FAQ page. After all, while it is a Q&A page, it shouldn’t be the only page that your customers should find the answers to their questions. That’s according to Mike Moran who thought that “you’d want to place that answer in as many places as make sense so that the most people can find it.”
Learn to sift the questions. If you think a question is better answered through a phone conversation, then do so. You don’t have to answer each question. Questions can be disparate subjects that only confuse the search engines. So, categorize them and answer them as one. A customer-friendly FAQ page contains all the vital information that provide people the answers they need.
If you strongly believe that a particular question must be answered on your FAQ page and it has a relatively strong search volume, make sure that it warrants a well-deserved online response. Even so, it is not advisable to treat your FAQ page as a keyword hub because it is not. In optimizing the questions page, you might as well focus on at least one to three related keywords.
Creating the FAQ page is one thing, optimizing it is another. FAQ page optimization may sound easy to do, but it is actually difficult to execute. Remember that not finding the information you need at the time you need it is downright frustrating. No user wants to stay on a site that only frustrates them. Whilst being an often-neglected opportunity, your FAQ page forms part of your goodwill to your customers more than the search and traffic.