Remember the last time you searched anything on Google? If yes, did you notice the tabs like in the image below?
Google analyses various websites and qualifies the best ones to show as FAQs. Obviously, the websites being qualified have well structured content, might be using FAQ schema or have certain sentences that might answer to the user query in one go.
Before discussing the topic in-depth and learning how to implement FAQ Schema and highlighting the benefits of FAQ-structured data, it is important to give a small introduction on SEO and Schema Markup. If you are famililiar with SEO process, feel free to start from here.
What is SEO? What is FAQ-structured data? How are the two connected? Where does Google come in?
All these questions need to be answered before jumping to the main topic. Just so you know, Google officially announced FAQ and FAQ-structured data how-tos in 2019.
The questions under the ‘People also ask’ section is that FAQ section of a search result. Digital marketers can structure content on their websites to show up in the answers to these questions. This format is easy-to-read for visitors and is helpful and concise.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and includes all the practices that aim to increase the visibility of content in search results. SEO focuses on keywords and involves designing content based on these keywords. Google ranks web pages based on how relevant the content is.
A highly optimized page shows up higher in the Google search result. Digital marketers and content designers create content which is readable and SEO-friendly. Headings and image captions are prioritized by Google when it indexes pages based on common keywords.
For example, if you have a courier service website, some common keywords will be ‘courier’, ‘courier services near me’, ‘international courier services in Delhi’, ‘international courier’, etc. Include these keywords in your content to increase the ranking of your webpage.
What is FAQ-Structured data?
Designing content in a question-answer format is called FAQ-structured data. FAQ stands for frequently asked questions. Continuing with the courier service example, a relevant question would be, ‘how much would it cost to send a package from Delhi to New York?’. Below this, an answer would follow. Designing content in such a manner is helpful for site visitors.
How are Google and FAQ-Structured data connected?
Google is intelligent, no doubt. But it is a search engine after all. There are an estimated 1.5 billion websites on the internet as of January 2019. Searching, indexing, and ranking are done by Google’s algorithms every second. If you want your website to rank higher than your competitors, the major task is to make Google understand your content better.
SEO in layman’s terms is a method to explain to Google why your content is more relevant. Google’s algorithms are designed in such a manner that they understand structured data better. It gives importance to headings, titles, and image captions.
What are the benefits of FAQ-Structured Data for SEO?
The topic is now ripe to be discussed. Google has always inclined toward structured data. A structured format makes it easy for Google to read the text and hence index it. When writing in HTML, there are six types of headings: h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6 with h1 being the largest. Google gives preference to h1 over h2, h2 over h3, and so on. This is why it is so important to format the text-based content on webpages.
An important term to understand the benefits of FAQ-structured data is schema. Schema is the outline or the skeleton of any data. Picture an excel sheet with lots of data. The column headings are the schema of that huge set of data. Designing and planning a schema is paramount in creating structured data. Implementing breadcrumbs, schema-based data, and a properly designed header and footer increase the click rate on websites by a lot.
When talking about the benefits of FAQ-structured data for SEO, a very general statement would be that implementing it catalyzes everything that SEO is supposed to do. It would be wise to go through all these points one by one.
Firstly, FAQ-structured data increases the visibility of your website in Google search results. Not a day goes by when we don’t communicate with a machine of some sort. Making this communication easy for both entities is the way to go.
A properly formatted data is understood easily by Google. It understands clearly what the website is about and what it intends to do. More importantly, Google understands what kind of audience would prefer visiting this website.
A search result on Google is technically a query. What would be better if all the content on your website would be designed in a question-answer format? A properly formatted website ranks high on Google search results keeping all other parameters constant.
A majority of people click on the first five Google results only. They don’t go further than that. A high-ranking result is crucial to increasing visitors on websites. Visibility is the first step towards building a solid internet presence.
Brand Value & Awareness
Secondly, designing content in an FAQ-type format increases brand value and customer trust. Businesses know the kind of people they work with and are well aware of the kind of queries they face every day.
Penning it down on the website is a direct way of increasing potential customers’ awareness. Businesses that have implemented FAQ-structured data have seen their site’s visibility and their brand value catapult to the forefront within a few weeks.
There are case studies and real-life examples to fortify the fact that SEO backed by FAQ-structured data is a winning formula. A high-ranking page means that more people are aware that a particular brand exists. Brand awareness is the second bonus that businesses achieve when they properly format their content.
Better Conversion Rates
Thirdly, better conversion rates are achieved when data is formatted in the form of FAQs. We have already discussed how site visibility is affected positively. Better site visibility, in turn, leads to more people visiting web pages.
If the website is selling some product or service, statistics show that conversion rates upped after SEO was done following a schema. Even a simple ‘Contact’ form has more responses when the website has better visibility in search pages. FAQ-structured data makes it easier to conduct business online.
After the top three points, the next thing to mention is the kind of people that FAQ-structured data attracts. It is worthy to mention that the genuity of audience increases when you use relevant content of good quality. This is a two-way street.
When data is properly structured and easily understandable, visitors gain trust in the website. They are more likely to give genuine data to the website and conduct transactions via the aforementioned platform. When businesses have genuine data at hand, predictions become easier. Trends can easily be drawn and decisions are much easier to make. Data is the new gold. Unadulterated gold would always fetch a better price in the market, right?
Last but in no way the least, comes customer engagement. FAQ-structured data already does most of the job. It is like a visitor is talking to himself; asking questions and receiving answers. FAQ-structured content is so much more interactive than data that does not follow a question-answer based schema. Honest customer engagement is very important in building trust and acquiring new revenue sources.
Less Clutter More Output
A properly formatted web page makes it easy for the website administrators to manage it. They can easily track the data on the website and keep a tab on all changes in a modular fashion. This accelerates the work rate of the management team and lubricates the entire process of lead acquisition, conversion, and managing.
How to create a FAQ-structured web page?
We know that you can’t wait to get started. Here are a few initial points that you need to cover to create a webpage that follows the ‘FAQ fashion’:
1. Collect the data
Design questions and come up with answers that are genuine and helpful. Do not get too technical though. Genuity is the main thing. Collect feedback from customers and ask random people for their opinions.
You can also create online questionnaires and surveys to engage visitors. Once you are clear on what people are interested in, design your content around that.
2. Create the content
Employ someone who has experience in writing SEO-based content. Make sure the content follows a schema that follows the FAQ format.
3. Spice it up with helpful images
Add relevant images that would help the visitors more and make them understand the answer more clearly.
4. Create interactive navigation.
You can group questions under categories. You can also create a chain of questions that depend on the previous answers.
5. Finally, track the response of visitors.
You might need to make a few amends here and there. Optimizing content to fit in with what visitors want takes a little while. A few iterations later, your FAQ-structured web page would be ready!
Why do businesses neglect FAQ-Structured content?
There may be many reasons that websites do not use FAQ-structured content. It is important to cite these points so that readers may avoid doing them.
- Lack of resources or mismanagement of resources is the number one reason. Many businesses lack the proper management to handle content or writers to create content. The best advice would be to start doing it yourself. Test the waters.
- Lack of technical knowledge might also be a factor. Many people shy away from coding or what they think might involve coding. Trust us, most CMS’s do not demand any knowledge of coding whatsoever.
- There might be situations where a CMS might not be compatible with designing FAQ-structured content.
- Lack of knowledge of the benefits of structured data is also a very important reason. Awareness of optimum technologies is paramount in today’s world, especially when you are running an online business.
A Short Case Study
Rakuten is a Japanese company that provides more than 70 services. It has a B2B2C portal called the Rakuten Ichiba, which is the biggest marketplace in Japan.
It also ranks high on the list of similar portals from all around the world, in terms of sales. Rakuten’s growth is well-known around the world. In 2016, it became the official sponsor of the Spanish football club, FC Barcelona.
What makes Rakuten an interesting example to study is its rate of growth in recent years while being a major online player in B2B marketplaces.
In 2010, Rakuten launched Rakuten Recipe, a website that allows chefs to post their recipes and ideas on an interactive application. These recipes are accessible on the official website.
In 2012, these people started using structured data and seeing positive responses, partnered with Google itself in 2017. This collaboration aimed to make the data on this platform more readable and useful.
They used Google’s analytics tool Search Console to analyze the responses and better track the site visits. Rakuten used accelerated mobile pages or AMPs for a better mobile experience. Adding a structured data format on top of these AMPs resulted in 2.7 times more traffic on their website.
The visitors also stayed on the website for more time (1.5 times longer to be exact). Users could easily match with relevant recipes and understand them better. Rakuten is all about customer experience and structuring their data was an important step in achieving that goal.
So what can we take from all this?
Notice something? This entire article was structured in an FAQ format. Did it make it easy for you to read? Were things clearer when they were presented in modules and the form of questions and answers? We think that the answers to these questions would be positive from your side.
We truly believe and understand the importance of structured data in general and FAQ-formatted data in particular. It has helped several businesses to make a notable online presence.
Individuals and businesses are fast understanding the importance of structured data. One-thirds of the websites in the world are in a structured format. It is time to follow the trends of the digital age and upgrade your website.