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Greetings! In today’s post, we’re moving beyond the mechanics of SEO copywriting (and editing) and venturing into content strategy. Specifically, we’re going to discuss how we might develop and leverage new content opportunities, no matter the size of our business.
As with a smart keyphrase strategy, a savvy SEO content strategy seeks to capture folks at all phases of the customer buying cycle: awareness, research, and purchase. And like your keyphrase strategy, the goal of your content strategy is to keep your brand/product or service front and center throughout all phases of the prospect’s buying cycle.
Unfortunately, many sites (especially ecommerce sites) focus almost exclusively on the (“ready-to-buy”) purchase keyphrases of the buying cycle, neglecting all those targeted keyphrases – and content marketing opportunities — that reflect the consumer research phase of the cycle: product/brand reviews, how-to pieces, and top ten lists are examples of common research phase opportunities.
It’s relatively simple to “widen the funnel” that leads prospects to your site by building out content that reaches those window shoppers in the research phase. Tried-and-true content development strategies are:
- FAQ pages
- Blog posts
- News releases
If you’ve stashed your keyphrase research Excel sheet (or legal pad) now’s the time to dig it out. Take a look at your “research” tab, and note all those keyphrases that didn’t quite work for your subcategory, service or product pages: they represent SEO content marketing gold! You already know that folks are searching under those keyphrases. You already know the answers to their questions. And you have a whole bunch of other useful information to offer them… so why not meet them where they’re at? To neglect to do so is to leave money on the table, and no one wants to do that, right?
Let’s start with your FAQ pages.
FAQ Pages: Pros and Cons
FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages are usually associated with dry, dull copy — rote answers to bland questions pertaining to shipping, delivery, returns policy, etc. (Useful, yes, but not particularly riveting content). But these “sleeper” pages actually present a prime content marketing opportunity. By simply creating a keyphrase-focused FAQ question such as, “Who would benefit from keyphrase?” and following with an equally keyphrase-focused answer, you’ve transformed the boring into brilliant!
So, if you don’t have FAQ pages on your site, build them. They really are that powerful.
- Super quick and easy to write (about an hour) and even easier to edit
- Offer a great resource for folks who are seeking information, but aren’t yet ready to buy
- Lend themselves to a hyperlink strategy, whereby many of your answers can include links to specific product or services pages, leading the reader deeper into your site
- They do get read! FAQ pages provide a fast, quick-scan way for people to get the information they’re seeking
- Some site owners “spam” their FAQ pages with keyphrase stuffing, cheesy self-promotion dressed up as information, and otherwise poor copywriting. Even though they’re not sales pages, quality still counts.
How to Structure FAQ Pages
Because the format is straightforward question/answer, FAQ pages are relatively simple to write. Some specific tips are:
- Keep your word count anywhere from 300 – 750 words. If your FAQ page is looking too long, it’s perfectly acceptable to split it into two (or more) pages.
- Keep the questions and answers on the same page. You have the option of including the answer directly under the question, or you can hyperlink the questions so that the reader is sent directly to the answers (this route gives you slightly more search engine mojo, as you are hyperlinking keyphrases).
- Focus on two to three keyphrases per FAQ page, and include your main keyphrases in the questions whenever possible.
- Whenever you have the opportunity to hyperlink from a FAQ page to an inner page, then by all means do so – it leads readers deeper into your site.
This last tip suggests the stealthy power of the FAQ page: besides providing the reader with useful information and showing that your business understands their needs, it helps you to capture prospects at an earlier phase of the buy cycle. Linking your answer to a product or service page gives you the opportunity to show prospects that you have what they’re looking for, and could even directly accelerate them to the purchase phase!