A guide to writing FAQs: Gaining the greatest search benefit from FAQ pages
FAQ pages are hugely important for both the user and in terms of search performance. Answering frequently asked questions on your site allows users to access the information they need quickly, without having to contact you directly. Often, the questions you’re answering carry a high search volume, giving you the opportunity to rank for these terms.
With so much value offered by FAQ pages, how can you create FAQ pages that will work for both users and search engines? Use this handy guide to get started:
Curate a list of search terms
Before you can create your FAQ pages, you need to first establish which questions you will answer. Start by curating a list of queries that your customers have. There are two ways of doing this:
- Using internal records — as a business, you may have noticed an increase in customers asking the same query. Answering these questions on-site will reduce the pressure on your customer service team, so it’s worth including these records in your list of queries.
- Based on search volume — some popular search queries will carry search volume. To identify these queries and establish what this search volume is, you can use tools like Google’s Keyword Planner. A step-by-step guide to using the tool can be found below:
- Enter your target keyword. This should be related to a particular product or service you offer. Click ‘Get Ideas’ to start the search.
2. In the left hand panel, click the pen icon next to ‘Keywords to include’. In the box, type ‘how, what, where, why, when’ to narrow down the results to those that are query-based. Click save.
3. The results will refresh to show query-based search terms. You can then select the most relevant terms based on search volumes for you to answer on your website.
Answering the queries
Once you know what your frequently asked questions are, the next step is answering them. Here, you have to strike the difficult balance of providing a succinct answer that could potentially be used in Position 0 of the search results page as a featured snippet, while not compromising on the level of detail provided for users.
A good starting point is to search your chosen query in Google to see how other sites that are ranking highly for the term have answered it. Look at how they have prioritised the information and establish how their answer can be improved.
As a general rule, it’s wise to provide a basic answer to the question in the first paragraph, before providing more information in the subsequent paragraphs. Keep your tone and writing style direct to clearly explain a topic.
Remember that you can continue to refine your answers over time — perhaps you still receive a high volume of a particular query over the phone or via email. This highlights that your answers may not be fulfilling user needs, so you may want to review and alter your copy accordingly.
Uploading FAQs & site structure
Once you’re happy with the answers you have provided, the next step is to upload them to the site. It’s really important to give each FAQ its own page. This avoids having multiple keywords competing for rankings on a single page, and can ultimately lead to greater rankings, as each page is better able to rank. Create a central FAQ page from which you can link to each individual query page.
Ensure each page is fully optimised across title, meta description and h1 to improve ranking potential. If your answer is in bullet points, use Schema and Tabular data to further increase its use as a featured snippet.