When professionally written, an FAQ page can help answer a current or prospective student’s question and attract them to your institution. A FAQ page should not be an afterthought, it should be an integral part of your website structure. To ensure its accuracy it should also be regularly checked and updated.
How to set up a quality SEO friendly FAQ page
With huge competition in the education sector, you want to ensure your page ranks well on Google. A good FAQ page will help get you here. If a prospective student asks a specific question on Google through voice search or traditional search, then ideally you would like your institution to be able to answer that question, showing yourselves as having a strong authority on the subject.
Before cramming your FAQ section with absolutely anything, the first thing your education facility should do is begin to have conversations with departments asking the vital question: What are the most asked questions that your department answers? You can get the best data needed for a FAQ page by going direct to departments.
Why should your University have a FAQ section?
FAQ pages are an important timesaver for both the end-user and staff if they are used correctly. They provide support and immediate answers for anyone on your website while also saving staffing time for those who answer questions online via chat and over the phone as they don’t have to continually answer the same question. Another thing of note here is that if a college or university is answering the same question regularly, it may be time for that information to have its own website page.
FAQ pages are also a great tool for improving search visibility. Here you provide a question and answer to solve a problem. You can optimise them for keywords, add structured data to your page and most importantly, they are great for user experience (UX).
How to write a quality FAQ page
- Work with departments to get a list of FAQs
As already said in this article, by going directly to the source, you will get more accurate information. You can also look at stored data such as chat history and recorded telephone conversations. From these early starting points, you will be able to know what prospective students are asking.
- Have someone accountable for content on an FAQ page
Are you having one FAQ page for your website or FAQ sections on each department’s page? The important thing here is to make sure that someone has ownership of the page/s. The saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ is also true here; if you have too many people managing one page, your content could become confusing with different writing styles or even worse multiple questions that are almost identical.
- Keep the FAQ question as short as possible
People do not want to spend ages trawling through the page looking for answers. Long sentences are harder for a user to scan and read and can easily lead to them navigating away from your site and sourcing answers on a competitor’s website.
- Use your FAQs as a navigation tool
While you want to answer the user’s question completely and concisely, you do not want to provide reams of information. Instead of writing a long-form answer here, add a sentence or 2 which summarises the question and include a link to the page where more detailed information is on. The user will then be able to decide if they want to read more information.
- Avoid writing ‘click here’ as the anchor text and instead use the words that indicate what the clickable link is about.
Anchor text is the text you link your hyperlink from. By using a descriptive phrase instead of “click here”, you can ultimately give Google a bit more information about the page you’re linking to and, in turn, show Google that your webpage is helpful to users. For example, our How to Market your University to Attract Prospective Students page gives more amazing ways to help promote your institution.
- Don’t just make up an FAQ
Make sure your FAQs are frequently asked questions. All too often we see so much information on a FAQ page that is clearly not a FAQ.
- Consider the frequency of a FAQ
Following on from the above point, you should consider that, if a question is often being asked, is the relevant content included on your website or able to be found easily? Consider making a page for this answer on the relevant channel and then link the FAQ to that page.
- Don’t overcomplicate things
You should be answering questions that are mapped to your student personas – write in a way they will understand and avoid using jargon as much as possible.
- Keep it simple
Why write loads of fluff, just get to the point!
- Feature the most important info at the beginning
For example, does your FAQ require a yes/no answer? If so, put that as the first word of the answer. You can add a brief sentence afterwards to add some clarity to your answer as well as include an in-text link to further information (if applicable).
- Use accordion menus to ensure your page does not look crowded
Accordion menus like the one used in the below example are great for keeping the page look clean and uncrowded. By looking at the example below, you can see they have 1 page of FAQs that are grouped according to the subject matter.
- Don’t use a FAQ page instead of creating informative content on your website
FAQs are supposed to be a summary of information a user looks at. Sometimes they like to use FAQs to get a simple answer to a question or if they cannot find a page, they will come here to find an answer. You need to make sure that your website is full of great content and that they only use this page as a quick overview. If you have a great website written for a student’s perspective, then they should have a few questions that need answering.
Examples of great University FAQ pages
Here is a splendid example from Birmingham City University whose FAQ page is made using an accordion menu.
Birmingham City University FAQ page
As you can see, their header section is a broad overview of topics you can get help with. Once you choose which FAQ page you want to see, you are given a list of questions. Once you select the question, you are then moved to that section of the page, saving the end-user time from not having to read through everything. Below is a quote from a current BCU student:
Student opinions matter to universities, so it is important to listen to their viewpoints. At the end of the day, the students are your target market!
If you follow the tips in this guide, you will begin to write excellent FAQs with students in mind. Don’t forget to check the pages regularly to ensure they are up to date and contain the most relevant information (for example, term dates).
To see how LOCALiQ can help you increase traffic to your website and turn those prospective students into new students, contact us today.