Voice Search and FAQs
The vast majority of smartphones support voice-assisted search capabilities, which along with smart speakers such as ‘Alexa’ and ‘Google Home’ are changing the way people search. Google introduced the ‘Mobile First Index’ because more searches are done today, using a smartphone, than with a computer or laptop. Mobile devices have not only changed the way we search, but also the language we use to search. When using voice assisted search we tend to search using grammatically correct sentences rather than just keywords. AI platforms attempt to reply to such queries in a similar way, using grammatically correct sentences, to do so they use the actual text on the pages they are searching. It is no longer enough to simply use the appropriate keywords in your page content, (although you should continue to do so to support conventional searches) your content should also be optimized for conversational language with clear, grammatically correct answers to specific questions, such as who, what, where, when, and why. To do this you should use more long tail keywords, (longer and more specific keyword phrases), and use them in a question and answer format, in other words you should use Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
How to construct your FAQs
- Keep your FAQs short and to the point. If you have a longer list of FAQs then organise them into categories.
- Present your Q and As in a hierarchy, with the most popular at the top, don’t make your users (and AI search bots) scan a lot of irrelevant questions to get to the answers they are searching for.
- If you have more than eight or ten questions in your FAQ, or if the answers to those questions are more than a paragraph each, list each question as a hyperlink to the answer rather than showing the answer directly under the question, this makes the content easier to scan.
- Focus on the information you are providing, and keep it simple and easy to use don’t let your design overshadow your content. Present your information in the most efficient and effective way possible.
- Ask questions as a potential customer (e.g. “How do I…? “) and answer them from your business’s perspective (e.g. “You should…” or “We provide…”).
- Add a search box to you FAQs page to make it easier to jump to the relevant answer.
- You should answer real questions and try to answer them using your existing content. Don’t invent questions for the sake of answering them or invent questions designed to create educational content. Educational content should be provided elsewhere for example as a ‘Buyer’s Guide’ or ‘How To’ post.
- Hyperlink individual FAQs to relevant pages and blog articles on your website to provide additional information.
- Good FAQs will encourage users ( but not AI bots) to read other questions and click on articles that may not apply to their original question.
- FAQs have to be routinely maintained, in order to keep them fresh and relevant.
SEO is continually evolving from the simple use of keywords to semantic keywords and long tail keywords to conversational search. As voice search gains more traction, the importance of AI in search will continue to gain in importance, using FAQs is a simple and effective way of implementing conversational search on your website.