Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Jason Chong on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, June 27, 2019).

SEO For a FAQ type page

This is more of a user Experience question - which does play into SEO For a FAQ type page is it better from a UX perspective to have:

1. Table of contents with anchor links to headings

2. Accordion style headings with questions as heading and answers within

Love your thoughts!

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Dan Sylvester: I prefer accordions when the FAQ is not the primary section of the page and when there isn`t alot of questions.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: How long are the answers?
  • Jason Chong: a few hundred words for some
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Probably accordions, then. And make sure that if they are going to be longer than a screen height on mobile, there`s a "close" trigger at the bottom of the area, too.
  • Scott Clark: Accordion hidden answers may not be used in rich snippets edit: they probably will see thread below Also they are a silly UX (scrolling is easy) Fully expand short answers and link each to dedicated question pages with long, rich answers in a Q & A blog.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: I think that may be true at this very moment, but I don`t think it will be true for much longer. If done properly (no javascript, just CSS) and marked up properly as a the markup is identical whether you are in accordions or not. Once evergreen starts cruising it will be able to see if it`s a top level (e.g. Question IS the trigger and visible always) or inside (e.g. Question is hidden in a tab so it may be hard to find). It`s probably capable of determining that now, but evergreen is going to make it easier.
  • Stockbridge Truslow: Actually... I`m wrong. It`s NOT true at this very minute.
  • Scott Clark: Ok, I agree.I stick by my expand-all answers + link recommendation purely for UX & SEO reasons. Mobile users would rather scroll than a peck on expanders, and full pages offer you a way to conveniently link to specific questions in a ton of social, email and other reasons.
  • Richard Hearne: This may be out of date at this stage?
  • Scott Clark: yes. I think it was actually just incorrect to start with.
  • Kim Krause Berg: One of my UX heuristics for UX and persuasive design is that if there needs to be a FAQ, then the site isn`t built correctly for conversions. There are exceptions but I use this similar to a metal detector during site UX audits. A FAQ presence is a clue something is hidden.
  • Brenda Michelin: I disagree. in some instances an FAQ can be very purposeful. Lists of steps to achieve a goals, how to return items, or other specific needs.
    Heuristics aside, visitors have come to expect an FAQ page, creating a better experience for them is very important. People don`t read, they scan. I would rather have an FAQ page of important stuff that they really do need to read.

    In a perfect world of avid readers, not necessary. But those days are gone. We are in a world where the attention span is measured in minutes and seconds.

    AND, Google will move you up in the SERPS if you have a really good, structured FAQ that quickly answers a question.
  • Kim Krause Berg: it`s a decision made based on the reason for the FAQ. I use them in some design work. Like a local government site...a brief FAQ for the top local residents questions is helpful. Some companies throw everything into one and don`t answer questions when the user has it, or is ready to complete a task. I look for FAQ clues that conversions are lost elsewhere because the user didn`t have enough info at the precise moment to make a decision.
  • Kim Krause Berg: I hope I didn`t come across as a UX dictator. I hate that Every web project has its own business and target market requirements. Design is never a black or white, one or no way process. In my UX audits, I remain open and in the end, I can make recommendations but the decisions are always in the hands of stakeholders.
  • Brenda Michelin: "No soup for you!"
    Nah, love your passion! Your thoughts provoked me into doing more research, too.
  • Michael Stricker: agreed... FAQs serve a purpose, but are no substitute for contextual content. Just a shortcut.
  • Kim Krause Berg: Make them accessible if you implement them.
  • Jason Chong: Thanks for the feedback everyone. Lots to think about!
    The page is not specifically an FAQ, but a page that describes a service in which I attempt to answer most commonly asked questions. Some things requiring a longer answer are getting their own post.
    My problem is that if I don`t use accordion (which apparently may or may not affect my search results) then I do need some form of navigation. Beyond a table of contents style section at the top of the page (which I guess could feasibly be hidden behind a single accordion) I`m not sure what else to do - taking mobile usability into mind.
    I am using a Genesis theme and have used their atomic blocks - but neither this (nor any other Gutenberg blocks extension plugin I have browsed) seems to have the ability to close an open accordion at the bottom or to only allow a single one open as has been suggested here.
  • Jason Chong: Ultimately if it will affect my search engine rankings etc then I will not use the accordion for my content. Though I am using FAQ schema which might negate that!
  • Michael Martinez: The accordion should only be used (or not) for style and to create a good user experience. The search engine should never come into a decision like that.
  • Richard Hearne: You can see that there`s no "right"/"wrong" way here. You may want to test this to see which works best with your target audience. Personally, I like a long page with jump links. I`m not a fan of accordion patterns.
  • Jason Chong: I would lean towards this solution if it didn`t mean having to scroll through a long list of links at the top of the page, I want to get straight into the content. Perhaps having an off canvas menu style side tab unique to the page and containing the links would work - but can`t find an easy way to implement it (I`m not at the level of custom coding)
  • Richard Hearne: Yeah, those jump links aren`t needed all the time, so having them in a side nav or modal makes sense. The challenge then becomes how to message that feature to users.
  • Jason Chong: This actually looks like it could provide a reasonable solution. It displays a table of contents to heading (auto generated and can be linked) which then becomes a popup from side button on scroll. Pretty much what I was envisaging. The only issue I have spotted (based on demos) is that the full table of contents loads at the top on mobile devices, thus pushing the page content down below the fold. I am asking the creators whether there is a way around this.
  • Jason Chong: I decided to buy the plugin for my problem and I`m very happy with the result. It is making my long page more user friendly without the accordions.
    Turns out that the big problem was I didn`t know exactly what solution I was looking for! This discussion helped me gain clarity into what was important (UX) and made me think how to approach that. I ended up creating a picture in my head of the best solution and it turns out it already existed.
  • Kim Krause Berg: Found this -

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, June 27, 2019).

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