One of the most important decisions you’ll make about your website is deciding which pages to include. The best site structure will highlight your product or service from several different angles, understand visitors’ search intent, and make it easy for users to understand your business. The pages you choose should both help your site rank well in search (to attract first-time visitors) and move users through the sales pipeline (moving from first-time visitors to loyal customers).
An FAQ page can help with both of these main goals. But the most effective FAQ pages take a great deal of time and effort to perfect, so it can be difficult to know whether or not it will offer strong value to your website.
Consider the points below to determine if it’s worth it for your website to offer an FAQ page — as well as other strategies to consider that could be equally impactful.
FAQ Purpose #1: Provide helpful content for users and address their hesitations
Think about the customers who call your business just to ask a question. For every person who does call, there are many others who visited your website, didn’t find their answer, and continued their search elsewhere. Adding an FAQ page can help you retain those customers and make their browsing experience much more convenient. And if you think online convenience is a small factor in a user’s perception of a brand, remember these customer service statistics:
- 51% of customers expect a business to be available 24/7
- 75% of customers think 2 minutes is too long to wait to reach a live agent
- 67% of customers hung up out of frustration trying to talk to a real person
- Mobile searches now outnumber desktop searches, and convenience is cited as the #1 reason users search on mobile
Most businesses can’t be fully available within 2 minutes 24/7/365, so a website that’s geared toward answering your users’ questions — and that makes it insanely easy for users to find those answers — can go a long way in how they feel about your brand and how likely they are to convert.
FAQ Purpose #2: Boost your website’s rankings in search
Over the years, Google has been consistently moving away from keyword-based queries and focusing instead on understanding user intent with longer phrases and questions. They even encourage users to ask questions rather than type in keywords, which you may have noticed when their search bar predicts your query and formats it as a question.
So, let’s say that you own a bank in Miami. Users are now less likely to head to Google and type “bank miami fl.” Instead, they’ll probably type (or pick up their phone and ask), “Where’s the nearest bank?” While keywords can still help signal to Google what your site is about, they are far from the most important content factor.
While your competitors are stuffing their websites with “bank miami fl,” “miami bank,” “atm miami fl,” and the like, you can use an FAQ page to target highly specific terms and answer the long-tail questions your users want answered. This benefit is two-fold: If you can outsmart your competition who’s still stuck in the old ways of SEO, you can earn more visitors to your site while making those visitors happier by answering their questions.
Tips for a successful FAQ page
If you do decide to add an FAQ page to your website, there are a few steps you can take that will make it much more successful. In general, you don’t create a generic FAQ page with 5-15 “catch all” questions laid out one after another.
The absolute best approach you can take is to develop a strategic list of very specific questions that you know your target market is asking. Lay those out on a page with anchor text to each answer. To go above and beyond, write an in-depth blog post for each question and include the link to said post in your answers. This approach will provide endless, helpful information to your users as well as stack your site well above your competition for its large amount of pages with naturally SEO-rich content.
There are also several small steps and details that will help you out. These include:
Choose a tone that’s clear and concise. Your FAQ page is not the place to write marketing jargon. It should be easy to read, clearly answer the question, and cover the whole issue. Choose facts over marketing, but do think about how you’re portraying your company’s values in each answer and make sure those come across accordingly.
Add a clear call to action to the page. Your FAQ page may be the last place a customer stops before making a decision about your product or service. Add a clear call to action that prompts them to move forward in the sales pipeline, whether that’s a link to your contact page, the option to download a helpful PDF, or the ability to join your email list for product updates.
Update your FAQ page over time. The best FAQ pages are proactive and they show that you really listen to your customers’ concerns. Don’t let your FAQ page be stagnant — keep it updated, accurate, and useful over time.
- Don’t lean on an FAQ page in place of genuinely useful content. One mistake businesses make with FAQ pages is to think, “We answer that question on the FAQ page, so we don’t need to talk about it throughout the site.” Wrong. Think of your FAQ page as the opportunity to expand upon helpful content that your site consistently provides.
- As your FAQ page grows, focus more on organization. Your initial FAQ page may have 10+ questions with anchor text and bold-format questions. As you continue to grow the questions and answers on the page, make it easier for users to sort through it with things like separate sections, collapsible content, and maybe even separate, topic-based FAQ pages.
Finally, don’t forget to measure how successful your FAQ page is. Along with measuring page views, read times, and bounce rates, track the types of questions you receive on the phone. If you continue to receive the same question even though it’s answered on your website, it may be that it isn’t easy enough for users to find the answer.
Alternatives to an FAQ page
FAQ pages certainly aren’t the only kind of page that can be helpful to users. The idea of writing long-form, topic-specific content to both help your customers and boost your search rankings is something that every business should consider — and it can be accomplished in many different ways.
In place of, or in addition to, an FAQ page, you could consider providing:
- A support guide with how-to articles, screenshots, and videos. This is a great option if you provide a tangible product or a software program, as users will want to know every bit of information they can before and after buying.
- Q&A blog posts that address one question at a time. As mentioned above, these will boost the success of your FAQ page. You could consider holding off on the FAQ page until you have a nice bank of blog posts to link to.
- Add a search function to the site. There are certainly exceptions, but most users want to find answers for themselves. The more and more content you add to your site, the more important it may be to add a search bar that allows users to browse with ease.
- A chatbot that’s available 24/7 to assist your customers. There are many programs that help you build a drag-and-drop chatbot, so including one on your site may not be as huge of an undertaking as it once was.
So, is an FAQ page right for your site?
If you’re still not sure if an FAQ page is something worth adding to your site, here are a few trends to consider:
- If your industry comes with a slew of common, specific questions, it may be worth it to add an FAQ page. Such industries include real estate, finance, loans, and law.
- If your industry is a bit more general and straightforward, you’ll have to work harder to make your FAQ page genuinely useful. These may include brick and mortar shops, restaurants, and any business that people have to visit to complete a purchase.
Finally, one important point to make is that providing answers on your website will not deter people from contacting you. Certain businesses rely on those initial calls with leads to convert them to customers, and they often think that withholding information on their site will lead more people to call.
Users are becoming faster and faster at searching, which also means that they are becoming more impatient with slow, bare, or unhelpful websites. Leave a positive, lasting impression by anticipating their needs and creating content that makes their lives better.