Time to kill your FAQs? Not so fast!

We’ve all been there — new to a service or product and desperate for information on how to use it. We have questions and we want them answered NOW. But anyone who has ever reached out for tech support knows that the difference between what you as a buyer want to know and what they as a seller think you want to know can make the difference between a satisfied customer and an unsatisfied one. 

So why is that when we’re in the driver’s seat – that is, creating for a customer instead of being one – we can’t seem to provide the right information at the right time? 

Rightly, criticism has been lobbed at the ubiquitous FAQ pages on websites. FAQs, shorthand for frequently asked questions, often lead customers from “know where” to “nowhere,” say critics. Most FAQ pages don’t contain frequently asked questions at all – instead, they serve as a kind of dumping ground for the “frequently assumed questions” that product teams think customers want answered. As James Hupp, a content strategist and supervisor for the US government agency 18F, put it: "FAQs are a way to show you've thought about what your users should know but haven't thought about your users.”  

Indeed, there are many good reasons to get rid of your FAQs. 

They’re old, a holdover from the earliest days of the web when content was more company-centric than customer-centric. They’re not well maintained, because they are often created for new sites and get ignored, despite new developments in company sales and services. Or, worse, they’re too slow for a fast world, because instead of being properly maintained they become long and unsorted lists with trivial questions ranked as important as the others.

If this is the kind of FAQ page you’re offering your customers, stop reading this post and give us a call. We are happy to help you create the right website content that can improve the customer service experience of your brand, worldwide.

If you’re not convinced that your FAQs need to go, don’t worry – you’re in good company. Amazon, Siemens, Google, Apple – they all have an FAQ page, several in fact! Indeed, despite the reasons we listed above, FAQ pages continue to play an important role in the websites of the world’s leading companies.

So what can you learn from them to make your company’s FAQs more meaningful for your customers? 

Use FAQ to win at SEO

According to Search Engine Journal, FAQ pages are one of nine essential website pages that create the most value in search, right alongside the home page and the contact page. The rise of Google rich answer boxes is a major reason. “FAQ pages are ready-made for getting your content to appear in the coveted answer box,” said Stoney G. deGeyter, vice president for search and advertising at the Karcher Group. Google even offers tools for web developers to help them structure their FAQ data to yield the best search results. 

Audit your FAQs for performance 

The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau answers thousands of questions on issues ranging from auto loans to mortgages through its FAQ tool, AskCFPB. In an interview with, the then product manager Ashley Gordon stated that just 10 to 15 percent of its content draws the most traffic. “We are going through a three-phased approach to determine why some questions get more traffic than others,” said Gordon. “In addition, as relevant rules change, we have to audit our content. For example, we have 300 questions about mortgages, and many of them will need to be updated in the near future.” Besides improving search results, an FAQ audit can help you identify and fix the customer pain points that are damaging your company-customer relationships. 

Listen to (and answer) your users 

Steve Krug, author of the bestselling web usability book Don’t Make Me Think, put it simply: “When you’re creating a site, your job is to get rid of the question marks.” Don’t make the mistake of creating an FAQ page that tells more than it answers. If Google rich answer boxes are any indication, it’s that customer’s are eager to have quick and ready access to their most pressing questions. So it’s your job to ensure that, for your customers, answers are easy to find and useful, whether these are pre-sales questions or post-sales support queries. This effort in designing the FAQ page can be invaluable for also showing your customers that your organization is already and actively listening to their concerns. As the usability consulting firm Nielsen Norman Group said, “The flow of information in and out of the FAQ shows visitors that sales, marketing, customer service, and UX [personnel] are on top of active customer issues.” 

In the same respect, we want to hear from you about your experience with FAQs. Share with us in the comments below or call us to get help with your own! 

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Rusty Beeby

To the administrator, Thanks for the well written post!

Allen Hiatt

Hello webmaster, Keep sharing your knowledge!

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