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FAQ Pages Could Boost Your Google Rankings

Catering to Intent-based Search the Key

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In a recent report, Hitwise said that the length of search queries has increased over the past year. Longer search queries, averaging searches of 5+ words in length, have increased 10% from January ’08 to January ’09 they noted.

Ask has an interesting blog post up interpreting this data, and the gist of it is summed up with this paragraph from it:

In a nutshell, users are now expecting search engines to not just index the Internet, they are expecting search engines to process the data on the Internet. Searchers don’t consider their query to be just keywords; they are starting to expect that the search engine will understand the intent of the query better. Expressing a query with intent requires more words, and the user’s investment of more words means that his or her expectations on the search engine are higher. We are clearly experiencing a transition in the way that people are using the Internet.

Intent-based search. We’ve been hearing the phrase dropped more and more. In a popular WebProNews interview with Bruce Clay, late last year, he spoke of where search was headed and a good deal of that had to do with personalized search. The SearchWiki side of that has gotten the most attention in this area, but he had some things to say about intent-based search as well.

He talked about Google looking up your IP and revising results based on it while making assumptions about the intent of your search. This would have an affect on SEO, obviously. "The page that ranks for a shopping query is an entirely different architecture than the page that ranks for a research query," said Clay.

It’s a topic SEOBook author Aaron Wall and I discussed recently as well. Aaron noted that Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a recent conference call, "Wouldn’t it be nice if Google understood the meaning of your phrase rather than just the words that are in that phrase? We have a lot of discoveries in that area that [we] are going to roll out in the next little while."

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Aaron Wall The idea of relevancy based on intent is a fantastic one, but chances are the search engines are still going to have to rely on the content that users create to increase search relevancy, at least in this manner. Google still has "a long way to go to get where they want to be with relevancy, but some of the issue of search is simply creating the incentive to make people want to create the content that really answers search queries well in a good format," Wall told WebProNews.

"Sometimes I see Matt Cutts post great how to posts about how to do different things in Ubuntu," he continued. "I believe he does that in part to feed answers into the search engine, especially if/when it did not provide an answer that was as good as he would like."

What is another great way to feed answers into a search engine? Keith Hogan, VP, Technology at Ask offers a piece of pretty sound advice for online businesses: "Web business should take notice of Question/Answering sites that have been built and SEO’d to fill the search engine rankings for these types of user questions (e.g. Q&A aggregators like WikiAnswers, AnswerBag, and Yahoo Answers). While this content is generally very relevant, content directly from companies could be more authoritative. Web businesses may benefit by creating FAQ content that is targeted at answering real user questions about their products."

FAQs as relevant results to intent-based searches about what your business offers. What a concept. And considering the emphasis Google seems to be putting on brand (although Matt Cutts says it’s not so much about brand exactly), it sounds like a can’t-miss.

FAQ for Rankings

As Mike McDonald of WebProNews suggested around New Year’s, look for more intent-based stuff coming from Microsoft as well, as it rebrands its search engine. That is what the company’s acquisition of Powerset was all about.

In concluding, let me work in two clichéd (but true) statements. Content is king and the " Internet is a cesspool." If only the entire world could work together to build quality content and clean it up, the web (or at least Google’s search results) would be a more relevant place. So which one will happen first, that or world peace?

FAQ Pages Could Boost Your Google Rankings
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  • http://www.tiffanyonsale.com tiffany

    I agree with your opionion, FAQ is important as a part of website.

  • http://www.babypushchairsonline.co.uk/index.php?cPath=2 Baby Pushchairs

    FAQ is one of the most important pages in any website design that you should spend a great deal of time on. It is typically a keywords rich page essential not just for search engine optimization but your customers in deciding if they would like to go ahead with your product or service.

  • http://mobilebroadbandblog.co.uk Mobile Broadband Blog

    My FAQ pages are consistently amongst the top viewed content on my site. For me it’s a simple matter of providing quality content that readers want to find out about. If they like the information in my FAQ pages then they are more likely to read my articles and blogs posts.

    There’s no great mystery here – “intent based search” will never be fully realised until Google’s search algorithm fully mimics the way our brain processes language, context, culture etc etc. And what about the concept of “web surfing?”. Believe it or not some people actually don’t know what they’re searching for or why, they’re just killing time on the net instead of watching TV or playing video games. How easy is it to predict the intent of these kinds of users?

  • http://www.computer-consulting-newyork.com Computer Consulting New York

    Besides SEO though, it helps the person viewing your site to get general info all in 1 place. It does not have to be tailored to any specific issue.

  • http://www.tiffanysale.co.uk tiffany

    The video above with the BC interview is the single most important SEO video of the last 5 years. Watch it. Then watch it again.

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    rrr

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    The ultimate prom fear is showing up to see your Prom Dresses on every other girl there! Good thing you

  • http://www.buyaionkinah.net/ aion buy kinah

    nice post, i will come here every day!

  • http://www.webdesign-in-devon.co.uk SEO Devon

    This is a nice tip. I will put a FAQ on my sites starting this day. Thanks a lot for this article.

  • http://disposable-numbers.net Forwarded Numbers

    I’m starting to love this website. Thanks for this FAQ Page tip :)