SEO is a hot topic for Online Marketing blog with the most recent posts, “Rushing Your SEO Doesnâ€™t Mean Quicker Results” and “Should Companies Hire Multiple Search Marketing Firms?”. The next in what is becoming a series of insights into SEO is all about optimizing content for situations that really have little to do with why most SEO firms are hired.
There are various reasons for optimizing content to improve search engine placement of a company’s web site content: The most common and obvious reason directed towards increasing web site traffic and leads/sales. SEO is often used for improving online brand visibility as well.
Companies are increasingly sensitive to the public relations benefits of using search engine optimization to improve search visibility such as:
- Building credibility and thought leadership
- Optimizing news content for journalists conducting research
- Proactive online reputation management
Progressive corporate PR departments and agencies also use paid search for reputation management or crisis management to quickly provide counter measures to bad publicity or buzz.
An often overlooked content optimization opportunity concerns customer service related information. So much effort is put into optimizing content to “make the sale” or “capture the lead”, but not on making content that is useful to existing customers more easily available.
The on-site search functionality, if there is one, on so many company web sites is so bad that many consumers use the search box on their favorite search engine as a way of navigating websites of companies they do business with. In fact, many employees use search engines like Google to find information that is too difficult or inconvenient to find through on-site search or category navigation.
It’s pretty straight forward to look at a web site’s web analytics to see what kind of queries are driving traffic as well as most popular content to see whether this is the case.
Reducing customer service and support calls is a top priority for many companies looking to reduce costs. Optimizing frequently asked questions, archived customer service Q/A (anonymized), product data, specifications and user manuals can help customers find what they’re “Googling” for before they pick up the phone or send an email.
Few companies hire SEO firms to improve online customer service, but reducing customer support costs plus improving customer satisfaction just small percentage can justify the expense. Add the improved PR and lead/sales generation benefits on top of that and it’s easier to see why optimizing and promoting web site content should be a key component of any online marketing program.