The site search offers a hidden advantage for the UX analyst: it’s a listening tool.
As long as Google Analytics is set up properly, you can use the Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms report to see what people are typing into that little box …and then make sure those questions are on the page.
What questions to include?
The idea is to answer questions that your audience literally asks you a lot. The best way to find these questions? Listen to your audience directly or interview the people who do. Here’s a list of seven sources of the questions your audience is frequently asking, starting with the best and most empathetic:
- Join sales calls/meetings Interview the sales team
- Join customer service calls
- Interview the customer service team
- Read website chat log
- Site search search terms report
- Use online research tools (Google and Answer the Public) That last approach works great, but only if you are a well-known brand.
Do a little branded keyword SEO and you might find common questions about your company right there in Google search results. These are questions people are asking Google. So these are questions that should go on your FAQ page. In the end, you’ll make assumptions about which questions to add and what order to list them. Later, you’ll be ready to do some analysis and make improvements. Here’s how…
How can I use heatmaps to improve my FAQ page?
If your FAQ page design has click-to-expand accordions, then you can track those clicks and see which questions are getting clicks. Tracking this isn’t super simple in Google Analytics, because Analytics (by default, at least) only tracks movement from page to page. Clicks that open questions and reveal answers aren’t “pageview interactions” so you’ll have to use another tool. Add Hotjar, Lucky Orange or Crazy Egg to the page. These tools give you “click heatmaps” of where people click, even if they don’t leave the page. You’ll instantly see some questions are more frequently asked than others. Some questions never get asked. Now that you can see, in full color, which questions are popular and which are not, you have the perfect opportunity to improve the page:
- Move the popular questions to the top of the list
- Remove (or move down) the questions that rarely get opened
- Rephrase questions that aren’t getting opened
- Add questions to the mix In my experience, it’s rare for website owners to ever optimize the design of these pages.
They follow a few FAQ page best practices and then never go back to check on performance. Note: It’s possible to track non-pageview interactions in Google Analytics using event tracking, usually set up through Google Tag Manager.
How to use FAQ page analysis to improve the rest of your website?
That’s a question no one asks. But every FAQ page is a potential gold mine for analysis. Use Analytics to find which pages are missing information. If a visitor leaves a page to go to FAQ, then that page has a content gap. To find these gaps, find your FAQ page in the Behavior > Site Content > All Pages report. Click on it to bring you to the report for just that page. Then click the Navigation Summary tab above the trend line. The navigation summary will show you the Previous Page Path for your FAQ page, which is basically a list of unsatisfying pages. The visitor looked, couldn’t find their answer, gave up and looked somewhere else. Go back to each of those pages and ask yourself what questions were left unanswered. What info could be added. Make that a better, more detailed page and keep the visitor in the flow.
Can you do SEO for FAQ pages?
SEO is about making a great page on a topic. More specifically, SEO is about making one of the top 10 pages on the internet for a topic, with the hopes of winning one of the top 10 placements in Google. FAQ pages are neither focused on a single topic, nor are they the best page on any of those topics. They don’t pass the “is someone searching for page this?” test. They don’t pass the “is this the best page online for the topic?” test. On the other hand, there may be content on your FAQ page that people search for all the time. If so, that content should get it’s own page with a very detailed, comprehensive answer to that frequently asked question. If you have a complex offer and a visitor with lots of information needs, it may be a great idea to design an FAQ page. But do so thoughtfully. And then check it. A little bit of analysis goes a long way toward a better experience.