SEO Through FAQ, Glossaries and Links Pages
By Vanessa Salvia, 8/28/07
Many websites that utilize FAQs (frequently asked questions) include the obvious ones like shipping or return information. But why stop there? Look beyond the obvious and you’ll find a number of ways FAQs and other creative content can elevate your bottom line.
FAQ’s are certainly easy content to produce. Chances are, your customer service email has already received a number of questions. These are probably the questions everyone asks: How will I know when my order ships? How long will my order take to arrive? You can probably jot down a fairly lengthy list right now of questions your customers are already asking.
Dig a little deeper. Let’s say your site sells soccer balls. Here are some suggestions for additional questions:
Doubtless, you could think of more. Here’s an important point—Don’t stuff all your questions on one page.
- How frequently should I replace my soccer ball?
- How do your prices compare with other soccer ball retailers
- Where is your store?
- Can I get soccer balls in custom colors?
- What are the differences between the types of soccer balls you sell?
- Can I buy a gift certificate for a soccer ball?
- I want to pay for my soccer ball by check or money order. Can I do this?
- Did you know soccer balls are available for less on another web site? (This would be an opportunity to address the quality of your merchandise or other price concerns. For instance, if your items are handmade they will be more expensive than mass-produced merchandise, and you can address that here.)
Websites with FAQs all on one page are losing an opportunity to easily increase the relevant content and keyword implementation on their site. Write each of your FAQs as a separate, stand-alone article (not really an article, but using however many sentences you need to adequately address the question). When you write these, add relevant keywords and links back to other features on your site to give you a search engine advantage.
Implement A “Learning Page”
You probably know all there is to know about your product or service, but your website visitors might not. Even if some tidbit of knowledge is obvious to you, it’s not for many of your customers. Take your product, whatever it is, and brainstorm as many topics as you can; history, development, use, appearance, or popularity…every facet you can think of.
Your learning page would feature links to each of these topics, which would be developed into short but interesting articles. This not only breaks the topics into bite-sized pieces, but also presents many more pages of relevant content to the engines instead of just one page, and each page provides specific information with a targeted set of keywords and phrases. This approach presents many opportunities for natural internal linkages, which the search engines love. Here’s an example of how you might handle a “soccer balls” learning page:
- Soccer Balls: Methods and materials of construction
- A history of the game of soccer
- When and where did soccer originate?
- Why are soccer balls black and white?
- World Championship soccer statistics
- How to determine the quality of a soccer ball
- How long will a soccer ball last?
- Is there a place I can donate or recycle my old soccer ball for charity?
- Profiles of the “winningest” teams in soccer
- Profiles of the top soccer players
- Movies about soccer
- The world’s best soccer stadiums
- Interviews with soccer players
- How do I care for my soccer ball?
That was just five minutes of brainstorming, and I’m sure many more topics could be identified. Now, it will take some actual effort to write these, but the opportunities it presents for search engine relevance is well worth the time. If writing and research is not your forte, there are many skilled copywriters who can help with this type of thing. You can probably save money by writing a rough draft yourself and then paying a professional to edit and polish. (www.elance.com is a place where freelance writers bid on jobs you can post, or talk to MightyMerchant about in-house writing and editing services.) Interesting content also gives customers a reason to visit your site more than once, or to tell someone else about your site, which is golden.
Annotated links pages
You probably already have a links page, but this is a little different. Do you explain why you are offering those links? Annotated links pages provide a short description, up to a paragraph, explaining why you think your links are a good resource. This provides a much-appreciated service to your site visitors who may be searching for additional similar, or more in-depth information, and it increases the likelihood that your site will pop up when people are searching for keywords related to the sites you've described.
Add A Glossary
What a perfectly natural way to utilize SEO, relevant content, and internal linking in one easy-to-implement format! Building a glossary is easy, but from an SEO and usability standpoint, the structure does matter.
It probably doesn’t make sense to have 26 different pages for each letter of the alphabet (unless you actually have that many definitions, of course!), so break down your glossary into sections, perhaps A-G, H-R, and S-Z.
Hyperlink them from your pages to the definition, for example, by using a dotted underline to show that there is a definition for that word. Mousing over that link changes the cursor to a question-mark. The title attribute from your glossary will be used to overlay a snippet of definition for that word.
Implementing any or all of these additions to your site does more than give you many unique opportunities to include keywords and links. Providing information to the customer transmits an impression that you are knowledgeable and professional. Most customers appreciate having information at their fingertips, and giving customers pages to look at that aren’t blatantly selling to them keeps them on your site a little longer!
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