How to grow an ecommerce website’s Google organic traffic using non-traditional content types on product pages
TL;DR: Placing FAQ content on 200 pages resulted in ranking in People Also Ask for 839 keywords with a SEMRush estimated Monthly traffic of 93,600, 1/4th of total website estimated traffic.
Usually, when you think of SEO content for product pages you’re thinking about writing unique and compelling product descriptions that help convert customers. Or, maybe the focus is more on scaling customer reviews which also provide unique copy for each product as well as supporting the customer journey. And since the days of the Panda algorithms, you would be correct in believing that rewriting PDP descriptions and scaling the collection of reviews is the best way to grow product page organic traffic.
However, with the rapid expansion of search result features such as People Also Ask–also known as Related Questions–which now show up on over 60% of all searches made on Google (and as high as 80%+ in some categories like computers and electronics).
This case study explores how you can use the People Also Ask search feature to grow Google organic traffic to your product pages, and not just by winning People Also Ask placements. The added content helps the PDP pages you’re adding content to rank better for their seed keywords as well.
FAQs on Product Pages – A Multi-faceted SEO Win
Mago worked with a large ecommerce website that had thousands of product pages, many with product descriptions straight from the manufacturer and which were also used by much larger competitors.
This is obviously not good–those larger competitors are going to outrank you every time if you are using the same content, so we immediately went to work helping them prioritize and rewrite those descriptions.
This takes time, and a lot of resources, so we suggested a parallel track where we generated hundreds of pages worth of frequently asked questions about each product.
The goal was three-fold:
- Give Google something unique and helpful to love about each page
- Compete for People Also Ask placements
- Generate content that gives them an easy and helpful place to add more internal links that also have unique anchor text
How to Source and Generate FAQ Content for Ecommerce Product Pages at Scale
So here’s the secret sauce.
There exists today a way to scale content creation (not just FAQs) where the end product is:
- Unique–there’s nothing else like it on the web
- Helpful to both users and bots
- High quality–no one would read it and think anything other than “nice, that was actually helpful”
- Fast. I’m talking thousands of pages a month if your budget allows for it
- Cheap, and I mean really cheap compared to prices people are charging for unique content these days, especially in small niches
Step 1: Hire an Outstanding Overseas Virtual Assistant
You should already be doing this, but if you have yet to leverage offshore talent you need to make this your number one priority. iWorker is a fantastic agency that will help you find someone who can help you start scaling your processes.
We are lucky enough to work with an outstanding VA (VA doesn’t do her enough justice; she’s 100% part of our core team at Mago) who just kicks ass at everything she does. She has a Master’s Degree, speaks perfect English, and grasps every concept and project we throw at her.
PSA on hiring Offshore talent: Just because you can pay them a fraction of US dollars for an hour of work compared to domestic talent, doesn’t mean you should pay them or treat them any differently than your on-shore team members.
Once you know they are a good fit, check the local wages for high-skilled workers and make sure you’re paying them appropriately. Our VA lives in Kenya, and when checking Kenya’s US dollar conversions for high-skilled workers, I can tell you she’s making more comparatively than a lot of our team because she’s that good.
Step 2: Hire an Expert Editor
Find an experienced editor that specializes in the niche you are writing about. Unless you’re writing about something extremely boutique you should have no trouble finding competent talent on UpWork these days.
Hiring Editors – A Quick How-to
A few comments on how to do this while saving yourself a lot of time and effort (and potentially frustration).
First, review their past work. I have not taken a chance on anyone who doesn’t have reviews and past work experience, but I’m sure there are some gems out there. If you have the time and are looking to get a better rate, this route might be for you.
After you review past work and hop on a quick call to test fit, give them a very small job on UpWork that is part of the larger project.
I suggest assigning 10-30 pages, then reviewing, providing feedback, and repeating this process until you are happy with the output or decide to try someone else.
Once you have your editor selected and they’re curating your content, I usually suggest pulling the payments off UpWork as they charge a huge fee (something like 20%) to the editor and you can usually negotiate a better rate if you pay them directly.
Step 3: AI Generated Content
AI content has come a long, long, long way in the past two years.
I have been testing AI content tools for the better part of the last six years and until about two years ago, I would never suggest anyone use them for SEO or website content in general.
And don’t get me started on content spinning software–the black hats may have mastered the technique but we want to build content that will be evergreen and not get torched when Google rolls out a new algorithm like the Content Helpful Content Update first launched in August 2022.
All that is to say that the rise of AI content is well upon us, and anyone not incorporating it in their content processes is going to be left behind (and likely already has) by the competition.
So if you haven’t already, get out there and start testing with AI content generation tools immediately.
What Tool(s) to Use for AI Content
There are a number of reputable AI generation tools available today. I have used extensively only one–Jasper.ai–and it is absolutely perfect for our needs.
However, there is a way to supercharge content depending on the niche using SEMRush’s Content Outline Builder. Most of what this tool generates is not needed, but the sources section is a goldmine for excellent resources to add to your content if you are looking to link out to reputable references.
Step 4: Build The Process Sheet & Reporting
Having an effective process is the difference between a well-oiled content machine that can turn out 5 skus or 5,000 skus a month with ease. This is where you want to spend the most time perfecting your approach, running skus through the process, adjusting and iterating as you go.
The Process Sheet
It’s highly recommended you set up a Google Sheet that has all of the URLs you are writing FAQs for, along with any data pertaining to those skus that either you or the writers will need.
This sheet is effectively your working file–it will contain all the info the writers need to do their jobs, all the information the project manager needs to coordinate everyone’s efforts, and the data/content needed to send an upload file (or if the CMS does not allow for that, enough info for the VA to upload and publish everything manually).
It’s going to be a hefty file, and it is highly suggested you–the project manager–create locked filtered views for the different groups working within the file so they do not overwrite essential data or formulas.
There are two forms of reporting needed:
- Production reporting (a leading indicator to overall project success)
- Performance Reporting (lagging indicator to success)
This is straight-forward. Create charts within the same Google Sheet as your “Master File” Google Sheets file on a separate tab that records production outputs for each step in the process.
This requires fields that log when things were completed and by whom. You should start now seeing how big of a file this is going to be. Don’t be afraid–more data in the Master file is better, you just need a great project manager at the helm and all will be well.
Set your production goals, input them as targets vs actual production, and chart both lines in the reports. You’ll know clearly if you are on pace to hit your output goals or not and can quickly adjust if you are off your initial targets.
Performance reporting starts with choosing the right KPIs and control groups to measure against.
In this case, given we were adding FAQs to a decent number of pages, we chose a few high-level KPIs to follow:
- Total number of keywords where the website was featured in the People Also Ask section
- Organic traffic and/or Clicks to the pages we added FAQs to vs a comparable control group
Those two metrics will give us a good enough idea of the level of impact FAQs have on product pages, allowing for solid proof of concept and an avenue to secure more budget and expansion of the project.
A note on selecting a control group: In this case, we just sorted all PDPs by organic traffic and labeled every other page as “A” or “B”. A group got FAQs, and B group did not. This ensures both buckets are running evenly in terms of organic traffic at the start of the project.
Step 5: Sourcing FAQ Questions
Ahrefs has a great FAQ tool that allows you to enter the seed keyword for a product page and see all related questions for that product:
And don’t worry if the monthly search volume (MSV) looks low; getting that search volume is just a bonus! The real value is in obtaining the People Also Ask placements which are not accounted for in MSV.
Add these questions to your spreadsheet and keep moving on down the list until you have FAQs for each PDP.
Now it’s time to get some answers.
Step 6: Generating The Content
Here’s where AI content shines. All you need to do now is drop those questions into your AI content tool and paste the answers back into your spreadsheet. Your VA should review the content as they go to make sure everything makes sense and the grammar is correct, but they don’t need to fact-check or be a subject matter expert–leave that to your editor.
Step 7: Editing The Content
Once answered FAQs begin to pile up, have your subject matter expert editor do a final review of the content.
“Editing” each FAQ should take very little time. Aside from small grammar corrections, if there are any issues that would require a re-write, you can choose to:
- Have the editor assess the amount of time it would take to fix and fix it if it’s a minor issue
- Flag it in the spreadsheet, skip it once the editor deems it inaccurate, and re-visit your AI template that is generating these FAQs if the flagged content begins to pile up
Every campaign and niche is different; at the beginning of the project, you’ll want to spend a good bit of time talking with your editor to assess the quality of the content coming out of the AI tool and determine if your template is as effective as it can be. It’s important to do this early in the project and tweak anything that needs tweaking.
Step 8: Adding Internal Links
Like the editing part of the project, there are different ways to approach adding internal links to your FAQ product page content:
- Use find/replace to add links to the anchor text you know is going to send users to the right pages
- Have your editor add 1-3 internal links to each page’s FAQs. This is more time-consuming and expensive, but offers diversity in anchor text. If anchor text diversity is a focus area, this is the recommended way to go
Step 9: Adding FAQ Schema
The best way to add FAQ schema to your product page FAQs is to have the development team build a specific block or section on the page that auto-includes JSON-LD FAQ schema (examples shown in the link provided) to the page’s HTML source document.
I highly, highly recommend using JSON-LD as we’ve seen time and time again simple updates to a page’s template break microdata and cause annoying structured data errors.
JSON-LD is more resilient to bugs, and is an absolute requirement for most of the structured data projects Mago works on.
If for some insurmountable reason you need to manually add microdata schema to each page’s FAQ content, we recommend doing this in Google Sheets using a concatenate formula that auto-appends the microdata around your FAQ content. This will require a lot of additional columns in your master working file, but it takes the potential for human error out of the equation. This is a key part of running an effective process, especially when it comes to content generation at scale.
Step 10: Uploading to The CMS
Export your file from Google Sheets, clean up the columns by only including what’s needed for the upload and discard the rest, then send it to whoever on the team does bulk uploads (hopefully the CMS allows for this, otherwise I would recommend having the VA manually input them).
Step 11: Profit! See The Results in Action
After writing and publishing FAQ content for 200 product pages starting in May, by September the client was ranking those product pages in the People Also Ask Section for 839 new keywords, driving estimated monthly traffic of 93,600!
With a small budget, they were able to generate what amounted to 1/4th of their total estimated traffic from 200 pages worth of FAQs.
Those are massive numbers, especially considering the average cost per page of FAQs was well below $20 per page of FAQs.
But what about organic traffic to those pages vs other pages that did not get FAQ content? Looking at the clicks drawn in by product pages that contained FAQs vs those that did not (control group), the pages receiving FAQ content received 66% more clicks YoY than those that did not contain FAQ content. Not too bad at all.
We didn’t even get into how FAQ content can support other Google SERP features outside of People Also Ask like knowledge panels and featured snippets and the results are still clear–FAQs boost rankings and organic traffic to the pages they’re featured on and can get those pages featured in a significant number of People Also Ask placements.