Manufacturing FAQs: The workhorse of content and search marketing
Columnist Dianna Huff explains the benefits of FAQ pages, from improved search rankings to paid search landing pages.
Today, you can find FAQs on all types of websites, from local “Main Street” shops to global multinational corporations and everything in between. FAQ pages help people find answers to questions — and in doing so, can help improve customer service and the user experience.
They can also reduce the number of times a customer support person has to answer the same question over and over, freeing them up to deal with more complex questions or issues (or better yet, sales).
For small manufacturers, a general FAQ page can provide answers to standard questions such as:
- how to place an order, or if a minimum order exists.
- what credit terms are.
- how to schedule a tour of the facility.
- how shipping works (e.g., “Do you ship worldwide?”)
- what your industry certifications are (e.g., ISO.)
- how you handle custom orders or applications.
But FAQs can cover much, much more than standard business questions; they can also provide information related to products, services and processes.
For example, doing a search for, “Metal stamping frequently asked questions,” turns up a fair number of FAQ pages for various companies, but I particularly like this one from Advantage Fabricated Metals. Their FAQ section includes seven FAQ pages relating to their processes, as you can see in Figure 1. Nice!
What my agency likes about FAQs like this is that they deliver so much value — especially with regard to content and search marketing. They can be repurposed, they can improve organic search rankings, and they can even be used in your AdWords campaigns.
Benefit #1: FAQs can be repurposed for e-newsletters, social media and more
Because they’re so easy to create, FAQ pages make fantastic cost-effective content for small manufacturers — and the reason is that they don’t require the outside expertise of a copywriter or marketer.
Since the content generation lead time is considerably shortened, you can go from concept to “live content” in a matter of hours or a day or two versus weeks or months.
What I like about FAQs pages, however, is that they can be repurposed, an important benefit for small manufacturers on tight marketing budgets.
E-newsletters. For a client that offers specialized services for metal parts, we first created content for an e-newsletter and then repurposed it into an FAQ for the website. But you can start with an FAQ web page and repurpose it into an e-newsletter article or create a brief Question/Answer blurb for the newsletter and link people to the full page.
Social media. Repurposing FAQs for social media is easy: simply take a question/answer and use it to create content specific to the platform (e.g., Twitter or LinkedIn). Don’t forget to include a link back to the FAQ page!
More detailed PDFs. While doing research for a client on a specific topic, I came across a very nicely formatted PDF from a competitor’s website. The PDF had been formatted to look like a four-page brochure and included all the FAQs, plus illustrations relevant to the topic I had been researching. The benefit of a PDF like this is that prospective buyers can save it to their desktops and/or print it out.
Posters. Whenever I walk into client work areas, I’m always surprised by the number of posters hanging around. No, not NASCAR or other sports, but posters provided by suppliers that contain useful industry information (thus they tend to hang around for a long time). Not to mention they usually also contain the supplier’s name and contact information (just saying).
You can take the information on an FAQ page, repurpose it into a poster, and then have it available on your website for download — just the way Search Engine Land does with its “What is SEO?” FAQ and Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. Or you can make the poster gated content and use it as a lead gen piece the way Neumont University does with its Elements of Technology poster. (Love this idea — so clever!)
Benefit #2: FAQ pages can help with organic search rankings
A small manufacturing client wanted to increase the company’s exposure for a specific product it manufactured. After some preliminary research, we discovered the information provided by other industry websites, including Wikipedia, was downright terrible and highly inaccurate.
Based on our findings, we created multiple FAQ pages related to the topic and grouped them together on the website. In total, we created three new FAQ pages and then linked the existing service and product pages to them and vice versa. We also used the FAQs as the basis for the monthly newsletters and content for social media.
That was back in October. Today, the company shows up for Google organic search, using the specific product phrase, at positions 5, 6 and 7 (plus a showing in the image block) and for Bing organic at positions 3 and 5. It would have been much harder to achieve these rankings with only the product page.
Because they’re so precisely focused on one topic, FAQs almost automatically “optimize” themselves for search. And because they offer useful information, they can help build links over time.
Benefit #3: FAQ pages can be used as Sitelinks for AdWords
At my agency, we don’t like seeing content serve only one purpose; so when this same client initiated their AdWords program, we used two of the FAQ pages for Sitelinks. We were pleasantly surprised to see one of the Sitelinks get clicks — in fact, it got 10 percent more than the standard RFQ Sitelink we had also included (because “everyone else had one”).
Moral: Don’t be afraid to try something new — and test everything. I’m often surprised at what works and what doesn’t for each client.
FAQ pages are the unsung workhorses of content and search marketing. While any company can create FAQ pages, they’re particularly beneficial for small manufacturers because they’re easy to create and provide maximum bang for the marketing buck.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.