We’ve heard the phrase in SEO that “content is king” many, many times before. For the past decade, every marketer has heard that they need to produce more content. The origin of the phrase goes back almost 25 years before search engine optimization ever existed. And yet, the phrase is still relevant in today’s SEO strategies.
For years, marketers in retail and e-commerce have tried – and often failed – to effectively leverage long-form content. While creating this content drove additional traffic to the website, it made no meaningful business impact in the form of revenue or conversions.
In our experience, the key reason that this content failed to convert users was that there wasn’t a next step for the user to take. Blog posts and SEO content stayed siloed from revenue pages and users never took the next step that e-commerce retailers expected them to take.
Retailers expected that by taking an editorial approach to content, they would entice users visiting informational pages to eventually wind up on their revenue pages. They created beautiful digital magazines or blogs, then had them live on sub-domains or separate websites. As a result, e-commerce retailers weren’t finding meaningful results from their content.
Lackluster results have created disillusioned marketers, wary of investing more of their budgets into content.
But in 2019, content started to make a comeback. New rich SERP features such as People Also Ask boxes and featured snippets all favored quality content. The Diversity Update provided smaller brands an opportunity to outrank giants like Amazon for information-based searches.
This creates an opportunity for brands to win keywords once dominated by giants like Amazon and gain traffic by investing more effort into editorial content. But this doesn’t mean any content will do.
Here are five tips to make content work for your brand.
Only create content that is relevant to your users
Instead of creating a lot of content, create content that is sure to resonate with your target audience. Mine the SERP listings to see what your competitors are ranking for, then write content that is better and more informational. Look at the People Also Ask section of the search results for your target keyword. A thoughtful blog post that thoroughly answers your audience’s questions can help you gain more relevant search traffic.
Make it your goal to have the best content on the web for your topic and areas of expertise
Creating content through topic clusters is a useful strategy for organizing your content around a particular topic. When creating those clusters, make it easy for users to take action without ever leaving your site. Whether that’s embedding a “buy now” option or asking them to visit a specific product page, make sure to establish trust first and then call out the next step.
Remove barriers to conversion
Your website needs to have a clear path to purchase. Rather than just directing users towards a product page, create an add-to-cart button directly in the post. This creates a less disruptive experience and gives users that are ready to buy an easy option to convert. Since long-form content is where most of your search traffic is going to land, it’s important to make that page as productive for you as possible.
Ensure content has a clear nurture path and next step
When creating a piece of content, think to yourself, “what is the next step I want the user to take?” Is it to read a supporting piece of content, or to make a purchase? Are there potential tips that your prospects would find useful? You ultimately want to become an authoritative resource, and part of that is helping users navigate your website seamlessly and cohesively. Include clear calls to action to direct users to take that next step.
Make it easy for customers to convert.
User experience is more important than ever. A poorly designed website is the best way to lose potential customers to the competition. You want to help users find what they need quickly, whether that’s finding answers to their questions or making a purchase.
Pro tip: Help users act, but don’t overwhelm them by making the site too busy with distracting pop-ups or jarring interruptions. The goal is to provide a seamless experience through engaging design and intuitive UI – not a distracting or overwhelming experience that’s sure to turn off potential customers.
As Amazon continues to disrupt the space both in its capabilities and dominance of Google, it’s easy for e-commerce brands to feel defeated. For many smaller merchants, it can feel almost impossible to attract customers through organic search.
However, by following these steps as part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy, you’ll help your website consistently punch above its weight class.