A great FAQ page can help any online business in a number of ways, yet they’re quite often neglected or seen as an after-thought.
An FAQ page can act as a number of things and impact users at varying stages of their user-journey, as well as provide SEO benefits. Using the travel sector as an example, an FAQ page can help your website:
- Build trust amongst new users and existing customers by providing company information and excerpts of policy information in an upfront manner
- Help you naturally include content on your website for question based phrases (and therefore an opportunity to rank for them)
- Help you protect your brand for compound search phrases
- Create a high authority page and natural internal linking hub
They’re also really easy to set-up, and a basic FAQ page can be created from nearly all CMS’s (meaning there is a low technical barrier), and if you want to invest more into it aesthetically or technically, you can.
Keyword Research For A Travel Website FAQ
The principles of keyword research in travel are very much the same as any other, however with FAQs you need to go beyond the traditional keyword research mindset. The aim is to look for interrogative and question based search phrases.
There are a number of free tools you can use to help establish user questions, such as AnswerThePublic, and a number of low-cost tools such as Mangools (which can also help with content production, as explained in my big travel marketing guide).
However, one of my favourite tactics in establishing questions being asked by users is to scrape forums – such as TripAdvisor.
Using TripAdvisor & Other Forums For Keyword Research
Leveraging TripAdvisor’s mass user-generated content for questions is great in helping establish a travel FAQ page as well as identifying content and page requirements for a general travel SEO campaign.
Using Rome as an example, if you search for “Rome” on TripAdvisor and scroll down their results page, you get to a section titled Forums matching “Rome“, and if you click on “see all”, you can quickly see everything and easily eyeball genuine user questions. From spending 30 seconds doing this for this post I can see users asking:
- Tips for the mobility challenged?
- Staying safe in Rome
- What is the romapass and should I get one?
- Best Train options …
- Bus to Sorrento
- Cost of a pint in Rome?
So based on these questions I would produce FAQ areas answering questions for Rome answering:
- How to navigate Rome as a tourist with mobility issues – special considerations, important Italian phrases to remember etc
- Advice on staying safe in the city, handling street sellers and beggars
- What is the RomaPass and are other passes/discounts available?
- A top level guide to public transport in Rome, as well as how to get to other locations (such as Sorrento) from Rome itself
- A top level guide on how much food and drink can cost – including popular examples
Straight away thats a good foundation for an FAQ based on 30 seconds of research. Overlay this with other forums, tools – and even your own knowledge as I’m sure customers and prospective customers will ask you questions – this can grow into an extremely authoritative content area.
As well as TripAdvisor, other forums to consider and harvest information from include:
- Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree [link]
- Travellers Point [link]
- Rick Steve’s Europe [link]
- Fodor’s Travel Talk Forums [link]
- Nomadic Matt’s Forum [link]
You can also look at the answer with the highest approval rating, and rewrite that as the base of your own answer.
Where possible, the forum should be brand agnostic. If the question is not asking about your brand or services directly – don’t include them within the answer.
Do link to them from the answer though through anchor text, but avoid including brand and brand terminology. The FAQ page should be the one area of the website were the user and their terminology comes ahead of brand terminology.
Schema: Q&A v FAQ
Everybody loves schema, and for all the good it can bring, there are two very important things to remember:
- Google doesn’t require it to show rich results within SERPs (search engine results pages)
- Schema must be used correctly – if all criteria cannot be met or it’s being used “loosely” or “sort of correctly”, it shouldn’t be used at all
The full guidelines on QApage structured data mark-up can be found here. However, the TLDR is that it shouldn’t be used on FAQ pages, it even outlines in Google’s guidelines directly that invalid use cases of the structured data markup include:
- An FAQ page written by the site itself with no way for users to submit alternative answers
- Don’t use
QAPagemarkup for FAQ pages or pages where there are multiple questions per page.
QAPagemarkup is for pages where the focus of the page is a single question and its answers.
- Don’t use
QAPagemarkup for advertising purposes (if you’re answering questions in the FAQ directly about your travel business or your services, this could be deemed as advertising)
For FAQ pages you should be FAQPage schema.
As general housekeeping, it’s important that you look after your FAQs as misinformation or outdated information is worse than no information at all.
- Keep the answer up-to-date, remove redundant questions
- Avoid dead end answers, provide links and resources for the user to take action
- Avoid trying to hype/sell your product, users are looking for genuine user focussed content
- Provide an alternative/immediate way of answering the question (e.g. show your contact details)