We will also discuss the critical points of writing search engine optimized content via a dialogue with an imaginary businessman - "meet Mr Johnson". He is the president of a company who wants to acquire new clients through the web. We suggested this list of actions to achieve the goal of generating content most suitable for SEO campaign:
- Maintain a Business to business blog / FAQ / Knowledgebase
- Task employees with writing content
- Publish an interview
- Feedback form / comments
- Publish a video
- Explore the sites of leading competitors
- Self-promotion of a site
Mr Johnson: «The site of my company has several pages, a catalog of products and price-sheet. This is enough».
These days it’s totally insufficient if one merely provides a price-list and a few pages around it. If we consider two competitors in the same price range the one with more useful information would win. Superior SEO Content writing not only defines Organic Search rankings but also helps with commercial ads (AdWords, etc).
To give an example on how to expand the scope of content let's use a company that sells mowers. It’s almost imperative to make a section like «Recommendations by our specialists». Instantly a few simple ideas for new articles come to mind: how to choose a good lawn mower for such-and-such task? What are the main types of lawn mowers? What are the prime maintenance aspects? Which mowers are the best - electric or petrol? Any industry comes with a space for FAQ which happens to be a perfect fit for writing SEO content.
Links to these materials can be located not only in a menu but also throughout the pages of their sales items, providing visitors with helpful articles which would facilitate their shopping experience and familiarize them with your product lines.
A very popular and powerful variation of a knowledge-base / FAQ section is often a business to business blog such as this very section - IT Solutions.
Mr Johnson: «I have no time for copywriting and no budget to order a professional writing SEO content»
One can always find a way to motivate employees of the company to write articles and reviews. After all they are professionals and could easily share some introductory words about their craft and add some inside secrets just to attract the attention of a wide web audience.
Of course, not all employees are fond of writing, for many it is very difficult. In this case we would advise establishing a link between a true professional who is not much of a writer with an employee with a more pronounced epistolary talent. A pro would essentially relate the information to the writer as if to an audience and the writer would arrange the information into a quality article.
Generally speaking employees of the firm can create articles and reviews, as well as instructions / manuals, guides, make presentations (a Powerpoint presentation can be easily incorporated into a website). In addition, diagrams and tables used internally (but suitable for sharing) can be used as a good variety of analytical materials.
Are there photos of your company activities? Perfect!!! Why procrastinate? Get those photos out there so that more people know of your company rather than only a small circle of people that are already included in the company "know". Posting them on a corporate web site with some explanatory text will constitute a visually engaging article.
Mr Johnson: «what good would an interview do for us? I have to attend to business, talk is cheap!»
This one does appear a bit controversial. It is not quite clear what benefits such time investment would bring to a corporate site. Nevertheless an interview proves to be one of the best methods for promoting a web site, especially during the period when it is young. The catch is that it is not only unique content but often valuable external references: most people, after they were interviewed and published, would share a link with friends and acquaintances (facebook, twitter, youtube, etc). Finding a candidate for an interview is not that hard as it might seem. A satisfied customer, a business partner, a developer of a product line, a representative from a powerful provider in the region, organizers of conferences and seminars – you name it! Here’s a simple recipe: if you want to get a link from a web-site – ask for an interview with its manager or an owner.
Mr Johnson: «We have a contact page with e-mail addresses, Telephone and Fax numbers, as well as the map of our location. Isn't that enough?»
For the majority of web-sites (offering merchandise or services) a proper placement of a feedback form on all pages is essential. A Sidebar is a good sample. Perhaps the most effective one is a social-media driven module (facebook, linkedin, etc) with a simple one-click action and a bonus option to provide a comment. The benefit is an instant advertisement and long-term link to a website visitor.
Mr Johnson: «Video? Why should I counsider this? What is the use for us?»
Video is arguably the richest format of presenting information. Technically it's a trivial task these days, any modern smartphone can produce an HD video perfectly suitable for Web. There are many freeware video editing utilities available for trimming a raw video and adding title, credits, etc. Video route easily rhymes with some of the ideas above - a webinar, a how-to video tutorial, screen-case, an interview.
Videos uploaded to Youtube (google) or Vimeo are much more likely to get to the top SERPs for your desired needs compared to a video uploaded to your own site. Another massive bonus is bandwidth resources which would simply be outsourced to a video cloud.
Mr Johnson: «this is interesting!».
If you seek new ideas there is no shame in exploring your competitors' websites. If they are on top of the game they would surely do the same.
You should come up with 5-10 keyword phrases which you would prefer to be associated with your website. It's not a bad idea to get SEO consulting for this job because it's not such a trivial task as it might seem. For each key-phrase surf the first 2-8 websites and write down things that appeal to you. If you spot a website that repeatedly shows up for several key-phrases of your interest it means that this firm did a good job on SEO content probably followed by an SEO campaign.
An examination of competitors sites would result in a list of ideas. It's important to observe the copyright law and it's best to use these ideas as a foundation for an independent implementation.
Mr Johnson: «Our company does business in just one region. We are only interested in local visitors.»
If your business is conducted locally then you need to promote the website of the company only in the regional SERP (Search Engine Page Results). For this you need to act in two directions: the internal optimization to mention is your geographical region and promotion in the search engines for queries related to this city (free registration on google maps, commercial approach via adwords, etc).
In most cities with population fewer than 500,000 the competition wouldn't be overwhelming. If it is then there is an option to narrow down to a particular area (Glenwood South, Raleigh for example). Mr Johnson: «we don't have a budget to justify hiring an expert in SEO consulting service. It's clear though that we can use some SEO training and consulting in order to get SEO content developed in-house. What's the next step?»
Now that you have a good quality (relevant!) content it's time to launch an SEO campaign. If your organization can't afford completely outsourcing this task and acqurie SEO consulting and promotion from a reputable firm, then the next tier is getting basic SEO training. There are plenty of SEO tutorials for self-education, it's also possible to hire an SEO consultant for a coupld tutoring sessions. It's very important to understand that a small-business normally wouldn't have the capability to spread the word on the web like a professional SEO firm would. We'd often recommend a hybrid approach of doing large amounts of SEO content writing in-house, perhaps assisted by a professional, and then hiring a firm like Allora to finish the job.