Today we talk about how to write FAQs that help you rank on Google and convert visitors.
What’s In This Episode?
- Why? To provide helpful content that address hesitations (1:50)
- Why? Boost your website’s rankings in search (3:55)
- Why? Other reasons (8:00)
- Tip #1: Answer the RIGHT, specific questions (9:15)
- Tip #2: Be clear, concise, and factual (14:20)
- Tip #3: Have a clear Call To Action (15:55)
- Tip #4: Update over time (17:05)
- Tip #5: Offer Live support (19:17)
- Tip #6: FAQs should never replace genuinely useful content (21:18)
Josh: Most people don’t put much effort into their FAQs, but a good FAQ can help convert and rank better on Google.
Welcome to Creative Juices, the show where we help you feel personally confident about your online presence.
I’m your host Josh and today I’m joined by Julz.
Julz: Hey Josh! Good to be back again mate.
Josh: Good to have you back again. I realized two weeks ago or two episodes ago we said that we were going to talk about FAQs, but… and then we missed an episode. So this episode we are talking about FAQs. Now what’s an FAQ?
Julz: Well, that would be a frequently asked question.
Josh: (Laughter) Pretty sure everyone knows that!!
Julz: For everyone who’s been living under a rock!
Josh: These are technical terms so we need to define them!! I’m joking…
But here’s the thing. One of the rules of marketing is, well don’t leave your customer wondering or you’ll lose them. As in, if someone lands on your site and they have no idea what action to take, then they’re just going to hop off your site and go to a competitor. And then that same rule can also apply to SEO, and we can say like this. Unless Google can find an answer and quickly, they’ll pick and feature your competitor before you.
Julz: Hmmm. There you go!
Josh: Yeah, and so we’re talking about FAQs and so let’s talk a little bit. We’re going to start off with why do we need FAQs, but before we do, I just need to share this this one little finding that Forrester found, and they said this.
“Of all self-service channels, customers make the most frequent use of knowledge bases or FAQs.”
So Julz, why should we focus on creating FAQs?
Julz: Well, I guess number one is pretty obvious. It’s… you know, we want to provide helpful content, helpful tips and you know, things that we know to the world at large I guess.
Josh: Yeah! And you kind of use FAQs to address people’s hesitations.
Josh: So let’s say… like what… let’s bring up an example. Let’s say we’re building a Physiotherapist’s website. Why do we suggest having an FAQ?
Julz: Well there’s probably a couple of reasons. One is to actually reduce strain on the admin team.
Julz: So I know that it seemed kind of obvious, but if you’ve got an FAQ on your website that you get asked a lot, or people are purely just ringing up to ask that question, then maybe that’s a great opportunity to put that answer on your website so that people can just find that.
Josh: Absolutely! And the other one that we see is that let’s say you’re on like a Physio’s service page. We always recommend putting an FAQ there on what to expect in an appointment. And so, someone may be going I want to book this Physio but I don’t know if I need to bring anything, I don’t know whether I can get a rebate or anything like that. So FAQs help actually answer those hesitations.
Julz: Yeah, and they’re actually one of our highest visited pages as well. Yeah.
Julz: And from an analytics perspective.
Josh: Yeah. So here’s a statistic. More than 60% of consumers say that their go-to channel for simple inquiries is a digital self-serve tool like an FAQ page on a site, which is what we’ve seen.
Josh: We’ve seen a lot of people going to FAQ pages because they want to find answers.
Josh: So the first reason why you should create an FAQ is to provide helpful content for users and address their hesitation. So, super obvious. The next one is kind of not so obvious. What’s that?
Julz: Yeah, this one is a little bit of what happens behind the scenes, particularly now, well in recent months I guess maybe even a year, Google’s changed their algorithm…
Josh: As they do.
Julz: …as they do and it’s a total… makes total sense you know. Like Google is a search. It’s basically like a big knowledge base really.
Julz: You know, people are asking questions on Google and they’re serving up answers but they’ve got to get those answers from somewhere. So what they’re actually doing is indexing FAQs and we would have all seen them, those little snippets or boxes at the top of Google searches that kind of stand out. Like you’ve asked your question and then there’s like this standout box at the top of your Google search…
Josh: And I use them all the time!
Julz: Yeah, well same. It’s that number one kind of… I mean I think that would be so popular hence the reason why Google has added some technical code to that or what should be. They’re requesting developers to put technical code on these FAQs so that Google can more easily identify what is a question on your website.
Josh: So FAQs can actually boost your website rankings.
Julz: Oh absolutely! I mean, like you just said, how many times do you click on that first FAQ?
Julz: I do all the time!
Josh: I mean, when I see it like, you search in a question, there’s always a first result, and then the second result is generally a box of eight different drop-down questions…
Julz: Yeah, yeah.
Josh: …that you can just click and go through.
Julz: Quickly see.
Josh: And they may be related questions as well. But the point is that these websites have great FAQs that Google are now showing to everyone else! And so you can click the drop down and get a quick answer because Google rips out like a little snippet from that, but you also have a link to that page to find out more.
Julz: Yeah. I’ve even noticed that on some sites now, when you click through to that site it actually highlights the text in yellow…
Julz: …that they have pulled that FAQ snippet out of. So it’s pretty cool. It’s getting pretty smart!
Josh: Yeah. So we recommend focusing on Google My Business so much because the map pack is always first in the search results. And this is the same as FAQs. This is something that if you focus on can help rank you above other people without having to focus on older SEO techniques, because these FAQs are kind of new, because what happens is Google’s kind of shifted its algorithm like you said. It used to be keyword based queries.
So let’s think about like a burger place. I always use the burger place as an example.
Josh: If I type in like… I don’t type in burger place Newcastle, New South Wales. I type in closest burger place or hey Siri, find me a burger place.
Julz: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Siri: One option I see is…
Julz: There it is!!
Josh: There’s my Siri!
Julz: Good timing! I was actually waiting for that to happen.
Josh: So Google is tailoring their results based on how people are actually searching.
Julz: Yeah, yeah.
Josh: And that’s through questions and also voice. Like most people ask Google via like their voice, right?
Julz: Yeah. So it’s thinking about that search intent, you know, what are people actually saying or uh typing?
Julz: Putting yourself in those shoes again and…
Josh: So while keywords are still good…
Julz: Important, for sure!
Josh: What’s better is the long tail keywords and the questions and those kind of things.
Josh: So, number one, the reason why you should focus on FAQs is to provide helpful content for users and address their hesitations. Number two is to boost your website’s rankings in search. And number three, we’ve got a bunch of a few other ones and you mentioned, the first one to decrease customer support workload, so that your admin staff isn’t so overloaded.
What’s the next one?
Julz: Shortened buying journeys.
Josh: Yeah! So it shortens their buying journeys so that…
Julz: They’ve got their answer there! It’s an easier conversion or if you want to call it that.
Julz: Getting them across the line. They’ve found the answer. They feel confident!
Josh: And a good FAQ drives those conversions.
Julz: Yeah, yeah. And you’ve built trust with them.
Josh: Yeah! Building trust is another one, and it also improves your internal linking of your site.
Julz: Yeah. I see this a bit actually. People will just put the snippet in, or they’ll just put the question in with the answer and uh there’s nothing else that’s sort of left at that point so…
Josh: If you link all throughout that FAQs…
Julz: You’re going to win!
Josh: …then it helps. It helps your website to say, SEO.
Josh: It’s not like the silver bullet. So we’ve spoken about why, let’s talk about how and what!
Josh: So Julz, let’s… how about you give us a few tips for FAQs that rank and convert?
Julz: Yeah. Well I guess first one would definitely be like answering the right questions, again coming back to that search intent. What are people searching for? Don’t just write like that really generic catch all questions but you know. Niche down. Get specific. Yeah, listen in to what your people are asking you, whether it’s on social media and things like that.
Josh: You can do a poll, you can do a poll on social media.
Julz: Yeah, yeah, what they are asking of you, no doubt other people will be searching Google for the same question.
Josh: Yeah. Here’s a tip. Give your receptionist a notepad and say hey could you write down the questions that people are asking, and then maybe mark a tally next to the ones that are the most asked.
Julz: Yeah! And verbatim, as in how did it actually come out of their mouth?
Julz: Not like a dot pointed summary, but how did they actually ask that question?
Josh: Which helps with the user interaction with Google keywords!
Julz: Yeah, yeah!
Josh: A great example of this concept of being specific, is that if we go back to this Physio example. Let’s say a Physio offers five different services. One’s massage, one’s dry needling, one’s Sports Physiotherapy. It’s not ideal just to chuck the exact same FAQ on every single page, or like it’s good to have one single FAQ page, but why don’t you get specific for the service? So on those five pages, on those five pages go what are the most frequently asked questions about dry needling?
Julz: Yeah, yeah.
Josh: And I’ll answer those there!
Julz: Yeah. I mean on our some of our sites, we do have that… generic ones across and they’re blanket kind of FAQs. So there’s definitely those blanket ones, but we do recommend where we can. Yeah.
Josh: Yeah. So what an example of that is, on every service page there’ll always be a “What can I expect in a consult?” Now the consults generally aren’t too different, so it’s all right to have those generic ones for that but, like we mentioned about Google, how great would it be if you were being ranked in those frequently asked questions by Google for dry needling, as well as sports physiotherapy, as well as these things? And you can only achieve that if you’re specific with your questions!
Julz: Yeah. I should mention here that with doing that strategy, if you are going to have a top level FAQ page, I’m getting technical here so the… the technical code is for the schema mark-up should go on the FAQ page…
Julz: …for those. If you’re going to duplicate the same FAQ page to a service page for instance, don’t apply that schema mark-up to that page, because it’s like conflicting.
Julz: It’s the same, same. It will come across as duplicate content to Google Search algorithm. So like Josh mentioned, adding in a unique FAQ to that service is a great way of doing it, then you can add that schema on that page, to that question so…
Julz: If you don’t understand all that, just reach out to us.
Josh: So here’s… I just want to give a few tips when it comes to how do you find these specific keywords. So we mentioned actually writing it down, you can poll your social media. There are a few online tools, so Google Trends. If you open up Google Trends and type in your service, it gives you the trend for that keyword as well as related keywords. There’s also a website called Answer the Public. And so when you type in… let’s say I type in Speech Pathology into Answer the Public, it comes up with this big diagram and it has who questions, why questions, will. So I’m looking at this right now. For example under the who section it says… uh actually let’s do why. Under the why questions is why Speech Pathology is important? And so this is a keyword that this website’s brought up that people are actually searching for. Another one is, let’s say near, like Speech Pathology Programs near me, and this is what people are searching for. So you can actually find these. This helps the keywords but it also helps for FAQs if you get specific with those questions.
Josh: And then another supercharged tip, if you really want to go deep into this is to link the question to an in-depth blog.
Julz: Love it!! So you’ve got your snippet and then at the end of that snippet you push off to like a blog post that goes… yeah. So that’s kind of mentioning what we were saying before.
Expanding on that FAQ.
Josh: Those internal links and stuff.
Julz: Because people might not quite be happy with that, just that snippet. They actually genuinely might want to know more, so you’re just giving them a great option to click through.
Josh: Absolutely! And another reason why you should… why you could do this is because of the number two tip, and that is that answers should be clear, concise and factual.
Julz: Good point. Factual!
Josh: Julz, how big should an FAQ answer be?
Julz: Uh… in terms of characters… look I mean it doesn’t… there’s not necessarily a golden answer on that one, because I’ve seen FAQs that are extensive, but Google’s just pulled out that highlight that I mentioned.
Julz: So they can be quite long. You’ve just got to think about user experience as well.
Julz: So you know, if you land on a page and you’ve got dozens of FAQs with paragraphs and paragraphs of answers for each FAQ, it’s just overwhelming. I can see that there’s some value in it in terms of Google being able to crawl your site and seeing what’s going on there but I mean generally, we aim for about a paragraph.
Julz: Maybe two. Yeah.
Josh: Makes it easy. Answer the question quickly. And then, like we mentioned, if you wanted to write more about it, links to a blog. Another thing that we’ve seen that goes really well is record a video, like answer the question in a video.
Julz: Yeah, yeah. And put your keywords in your videos, like especially if you’re on YouTube YouTube’s a bigger search engine than Google so, you know… no doubt people would be searching the YouTube for the same stuff.
Josh: And so the next tip we’ve got, when writing your FAQs is to add a clear call-to-action to the FAQ page.
Julz: Yeah. This should be a given I think. You know, it makes obvious sense. Like a person is asking a question, they’re looking for an answer and you provide that for them, if it’s the sort of thing that they can’t actually do themselves. Like I don’t know what an example is… like fix my back pain. How to fix my back pain, something like that. You know, then you offer the book an appointment.
Josh: Yeah. Absolutely! But so many people miss this.
Julz: They do!
Josh: Like you mentioned beforehand, people write answers but then they don’t link to anything!
Josh: So it’s like what’s the point of your FAQ?
Julz: And your website at large!
Josh: Yeah, exactly! People are on your FAQs because they want an answer about your service or product. So when they get to your FAQ make it easy for them to get back to your service and products to purchase, and hence why we’re saying like maybe mention those FAQs on the actual service or product page.
Josh: So Julz, what’s the next one?
Julz: Add clear call-to-action, we’ve just done that one. Update your FAQs over time. Do step one annually!
Josh: Yeah. So this is something we see all the time as well.
Josh: FAQs are something that people don’t put effort into.
Julz: No, it’s an afterthought generally.
Julz: And it’s something that you know, you can get some good wins out of, and gains out of your website if it’s done well.
Josh: Yeah. And so one of the things that happens is once someone does put effort into it, they don’t want to go back and address it again.
Josh: So what we would recommend is that you do update it. Like when Julz said do step one annually, as in answer the right questions…
Josh: Actually re-look at your FAQs.
Julz: Yeah. Ask your admin person have you had more FAQs come in, different ones, you know. There’s touching base on that.
Josh: Yeah. Let it grow, and grow, and grow, and grow.
Julz: Yeah. I mean you don’t want to have hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of FAQs on the FAQ page unless you’ve got a great search function… on your website as well I mean, you know… yeah.
Josh: But that’s the other thing that we want to mention, that as your FAQs grow, you need to actually think about your structure, or how you structure those FAQs. One approach that we use is accordions.
So what that is, is you’ve got the question and you click on the question, and then the question expands to show the answer that was hidden.
Julz: Yeah, and that works really, really well because generally you can squeeze like 20 odd questions into the first portion of your screen, because they’re all sort of one-liners, but there’s actually a ton more content on that page.
Josh: Yeah. And some other things you can do is you can like put them under different categories. So maybe you’re a multi-disciplinary clinic. You have a category for Physiotherapy, a category for Psychology, a category for that, and you can also have your top 10 FAQs. So if it’s something basic like is there parking…
Julz: Yeah, generic, general…
Josh: Yeah. So number five, the second last tip is to include space for live support options.
Julz: Why is that?
Josh: And the reason being is… I don’t know about you, maybe you’ve experienced this or something, but you log on to an FAQ page and it doesn’t fully answer your question.
Julz: Yeah. Generally I’ll actually click back and try and find it somewhere else.
Josh: Exactly! So we don’t want that to happen though.
Josh: We want people to stay on our site! An example is I just bought a microphone that works with my iPhone. And so I looked at the microphone and I’m like does this microphone actually work for my iPhone, because it is originally for like a proper camera.
Josh: And I’m looking through the FAQs and there’s an FAQ that said something like you’ll have to buy an extra part for it to work, and I’m like there’s no link to this extra part! I don’t know what extra part they’re talking about. And so, I just clicked on a live chat function that was right there on the page and I was like hey, what’s this extra part and then they referred me to the actual part that I needed to buy.
Julz: That’s good!
Josh: And so the reason why you have space for this live chat is because 41% of customers actually prefer live chat as the way to reach out to customer support teams.
Julz: Yeah, I’d say half of those people are just lazy.
Julz: They want a quick answer. They want to talk to a human.
Josh: I’m lazy! I don’t want to have to email them!
Julz: Fair enough!
Josh: And so, it’s super important. And the other thing is you could leverage live chat to actually be your FAQs.
Julz: Yeah. Did you end up buying that part?
Josh: Yeah. I actually did.
Julz: You converted. It worked! They got a sale!
Josh: And so you could actually… like if you’re a small business owner and you’re thinking man live chat seems very, very frustrating, you can get chat bots that answer FAQs for you. Just know that most people prefer speaking to actual humans.
Julz: Yeah. So, I guess the last one here we’ve got, don’t lean on an FAQ page in place of genuinely useful content. So FAQ is… it’s definitely a great add-on, but I guess the coming back to the core reason of your site should be good, useful content such as blogging, resources and bits and pieces like that.
Josh: Absolutely! Like if you’re looking at your FAQs or let’s say you’re looking at your services page and you’re like I don’t have to include that in my content because I’ve answered in my FAQs, no, you should! You should still include it in your services.
Josh: FAQs are not the main source of your content.
Josh: And like we mentioned, FAQs actually could be a great way to go okay, this is a small answer, but now I’m going to create an actual good, like in-depth piece of content that answers this in a greater way, maybe.
Julz: Yeah, and I mean even at the end of the day if your purpose of FAQs isn’t to rank and you don’t necessarily care about that, it should be a core foundational thing, something that’s going to help users on your website answer questions quickly about your product or service.
Josh: Absolutely! And that’s it for today.
Listen back through this, implement some of these tips and hopefully this will begin to help convert people and rank on Google as well, and we will see you next time!