How to Create User & SEO Friendly FAQs

How to Create User & SEO Friendly FAQs

If you’re wondering why your FAQs aren’t getting exposure for “People also ask” search results, and why customers aren’t engaging (if they read them), I’m here to help.  In almost all cases I have seen the solution to having your content show up in “People also ask” does not rely in schema or page speed or using an accordion (although speed and schema can help), it is in the content itself.

This post is designed to help you with a nice-and-easy guide to get your blog posts, category or collection and product page copy to start showing up for “People also ask” results in Google searches.

The first thing to do is to ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it give a clear and direct answer without extra words or fluff?
  • Have you provided a solution without needing to use your company or services?
  • Is the response about the end user, or about how you or your brand are awesome?
  • Is the answer understandable by both robots and spiders?
  • Is the question and answer specific to the products or entire collection or content on the page, or is it general and should it be moved elsewhere because it can apply to a category of products or services?

Next it’s time to evaluate these five questions.  But first I’d like to point out that this is where it can get tricky if you work for a mid-size to large brand and extremely advantageous for bloggers and smaller companies.

Larger companies have to deal with branding guidelines, sales, content teams and other departments.  If you’re the smaller player you can beat them because you don’t have to go through all the red tape.

Does  your FAQ Give a Clear Answer Without Fluff?

If someone is looking for “Will X fit in Y?” or “Does red match Blue?” you want to give a direct and specific answer.

Example 1:

  • Do not say: Color coordination is tricky but you can normally pass red and blue together.
  • Do say: Yes red does match blue if you are looking to do ABC, but red does not match blue if you’re trying to do DEF.

Example 2:

  • Do not say: There are many instances where you can use X product.  It will work perfectly with Y in 1 and 2 but maybe not in 3 and 4.
  • Do say: Yes X will fit in Y and also with Z.

Have You Provided an Actual Solution Without Your Company?

Once Google started using machine learning and trying to connect word combinations and their meaning I saw companies that talk about themselves lose some of their rich results.  My guess here is that Google is now understanding that the search query is mostly relevant for people that already have or use the brand’s product or service when the brand makes it about themselves.

This is why I always have and now very strongly recommend giving a generic answer and using internal links or examples after that your products match.

  • Do not say: Yes, our ABC will solve the XYZ issue.
  • Do say: You can use 123 for 456 to solve the problem.  Another option can be an ABC if you combine it with XYZ which might actually save you a bit of time.  You might run into an issue if you do see this, so we created this video for you to see.
    • You can always add something like “our 123 is a perfect fit.” at the end if you’ve given a helpful solution first.

In the do say above you can use an internal link off of 123 to naturally promote the product which as an added bonus builds extra site structure.

Bonus tip: You can always back up your solution or provide a more complete answer to further build your trust in the person reading.  The person searching Google will see your URL below the “People also ask” and if you gauge their interest you may see more click throughs vs. a view with no click.

If you place a teaser to watch the video and do not include the video in the code, there’s a chance they’ll click through to watch it.  However if Google does what they normally do, they’ll likely end up pulling the video in anyways and playing it.  I’ve seen some videos show up in “People also ask” search results already so it is only a matter of time.  The videos currently show up for other reasons but it is likely if that if Google determines the video is an answer and the best UX, they will show that instead or in addition to the text.

Is The Response About the End User?

FAQs often end up being all about the company and not about the end user.  Try to replace “we”, “our”, “I” and “my” with words like “you”, “yours” and “you’ll”.

  • Do not say: Our XYZ will solve your problems and we’re going to back it up with a money back guarantee.
  • Do say: You’ll enjoy the ease of finally solving the XYZ with an ABC from MYBrand, and the money back guarantee will give you a peace of mind in the odd case it doesn’t work.

Is Your Answer Understandable by Both  Robots and Spiders?

We all love puns and having fun with branded wording.  Think pet sites and using “purrrfect” instead of “perfect”.  The issue here is that doesn’t make sense to a spider.

Even if your company requires the branding, make sure it stays out of the header and the initial part of the response.  Once you have given a clean and easy to understand answer, throw in some of the playful wording towards the end.

Are The Questions and Answers Specific to the Products or Collection or Content?

Companies and publishers place FAQs that are not specific to the topic or specific product or collection on the page.  Because the question is not always directly related to the page, it should likely be moved to something more encompassing or more specific.

Here are a couple examples:

  • If you have a product page about a specific memory foam mattress in king size don’t use “What size is a king mattress?” because this is about king mattresses in general.  This FAQ should be on the king mattresses collection page instead.  If you change the question to be about a specific style or model of king size mattress then place those modifiers in the question and answer it about the specific mattress on that mattresses page.
  • If it is a collection page for a retailer that sells clothing like underwear you don’t want to place “How should the underwear fit?” on the collection page.  Although Google and other engines will likely understand the context if you have proper H tags, copy and schema, being more specific like “How should briefs fit?” is better because it is more specific.
    • If the branding or copy team insists on the first version, use it on the all underwear types.  Because this question is encompassing of all underwear your answer will need to address underwear in general and then give examples (which gives you opportunities for more natural internal links).

And that’s all their is too it. By providing an easy-to-understand answer and not making the person sort through sentences about your brand, you provide both a good user experience and have created an SEO friendly feature on your page.

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