In the world of website traffic, any advantage short of paying for traffic we feel is a worthy endeavor. So when Google announced the new Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ) Schema, our client TheHopeLine.com wanted to learn more. After some research, we set a goal for TheHopeLine to become ‘Rich Results SEO’ ready. We all agreed if their FAQ showed up in Google’s search results, Google and TheHopeLine would achieve a win-win.
Since TheHopeLine uses WordPress, we first tested some WordPress plugins. The assumption was that a plugin would help us qualify for Google FAQ listing faster. We did this with some reluctance as we had recently removed over 50 WordPress plugins to help increase speed. So adding, yet, another WordPress plugin felt like a step backward. However, after weighing the benefits against the risks taking into consideration the speed to deployment as the biggest need, a plugin made sense.
Fast-forward a few weeks later, TheHopeLine still had not found a plugin to solve our problem. Either the plugin did a good job in presenting the FAQ section but didn’t pass Google’s FAQ Schema test or the plugin passed the test but didn’t look good. Terri and Jen, the Product Owners at TheHopeLine, were at their wit’s end. We needed a solution that not only showed the FAQ in a way we wanted to control but we wanted the FAQ to be acceptable by Google.
What is ‘Rich Results SEO’?
After seeing the difficulty TheHopeLine was experiencing, Kara, a Support Technician at Rackless, Inc. and I worked with Isha, a software developer also at Rackless, Inc. to build a solution. At Rackless, we too have an FAQ section and utilize WordPress. We felt if we could make our FAQ Rich Results SEO ready, we would solve TheHopeLine’s problem and make our website more attractive to web visitors, too.
The first step Kara took was to send a ticket to Isha. Kara asked Isha to convert our FAQ section on our homepage to Google’s FAQPage Schema. Isha read up on the new standard and hand formatted the page to pass the Rich Results Test provided by Google.
For our 2nd step, we wanted our WordPress administrators to be able to add new FAQs themselves. We didn’t want our administrators to have to wait for a software developer so this was an important step. WordPress offers tools including Categories and Tags to display an article when needed. We decided to create a new category named FAQ. If we added an article (or Post as WordPress calls it) to the FAQ category, then our WordPress would display the Title as the Question and the article as the Answer within the FAQ section.
This worked! However, we found a positive side-effect we didn’t anticipate. In reviewing our Google Search Console which we do regularly, we found that Google had also indexed the post-page itself. This was good in that these FAQs were being listed in some cases twice in the search results. The only negative was that our short answers made for a very short webpage.
After some research, we discovered a feature in WordPress called the ‘Excerpt’. WordPress defines the Excerpt included on each post page as follows:
Excerpt is an optional text associated to a Post. Most of the time, it is used as the Post summary.
After seeing this, Kara sent Isha another ticket to pull this Excerpt section into the FAQ instead of the Article section. This would allow us to do 2 things. It would allow us to move the shorter answer to the Excerpt section. Then Kara could rewrite the article section of the post offering a more in-depth answer to the question.
Lastly, we included a link in the FAQ section to allow the visitor to visit this more in-depth page. We called this link “Learn more >” to communicate and even entice readers to want to read the more detailed answer. In doing this, we would build on the effort to improve our Rich Results SEO and also improve our entire SEO altogether.
The Rich Result Summary
In conclusion, Kara, Isha and I were able to find not only a solution to the FAQ requirements for TheHopeLine, but we were also able to increase the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of our own website Rackless.com. If seeing is believing, then you will be happy to know you are looking at such a post page now.
If you look above, you will see that this post has a Question for the title:
How did Rackless’ FAQ Become Rich Results SEO Ready?
The article you just read is the in-depth answer to that question. And if you go to the FAQ for this site, you’ll see the shorter answer which reads:
In working with TheHopeLine.com, Rackless’ internal software developers worked to develop an innovative approach to implementing Google’s FAQ Rich Results SEO Schema for this FAQ section. TheHopeLine and other clients at Rackless now use this innovative approach.
If you need a software developer like Isha or a technology coach like Kara on your team, contact us. At Rackless, we love helping Product Owners like Jen and Terri implement innovations just like this when it comes to software development.
The Postscript (aka P.S.)
We also created a video online outlining how we made this page as part of our ‘Rich Results SEO Ready’ strategy. To see that video, click here.