Everything you need to know about SEO, delivered every Thursday.
How To Develop Helpful Content To Improve Visibility & Conversion
In this article, we’ll look at another website that was submitted for review from a “Keywords and Content” point of view. The site is Shipping 2 USA, a free service where “you get the lowest quote for shipping to/from the USA.”
Add Helpful Information To Your Website
I see that the folks at Shipping 2 USA are creating articles for their blog, but when I looked at the recent posts, they seemed to be mostly news about shipping (such as “Record setting sized Irish ship makes historic shipment to the USA”) that I suspect are not very helpful or interesting to their site visitors or potential customers who might find helpful information in search engine results, social media, etc.
It’s ok to have some news items in your blog, but the majority of your posts should be articles that are of interest or helpful to your potential customers, whether they are visiting your site or find your articles in other venues such as in social media sites or in search results.
For example, Shipping 2 USA mentions packing and unpacking as an optional service that they can quote on. Perhaps they could develop some helpful articles (and possibly videos) about packing items shipped by air, truck, or sea, etc.
These articles could be hosted in their blog or some other section of the site. They can mention and link to the packing service page(s) in the article, in the hopes that a percentage of people who were thinking about packing their items themselves may be interested in their service when they learn about it.
I’ve mentioned this in other articles, but I’ll repeat it here. Many people who view content, such as your articles, will not be looking for the services you offer at that moment. Do the best job you can to unobtrusively let people know what you offer as they look at the content on your website.
For example, use a webpage template for your articles that makes it easy for people to see what you offer. You can also make people aware of products or services with messages in your page columns and, perhaps, a short overview about what you offer at the end of the page with links to products or services, etc.
This is an issue for the Shipping 2 USA blog as I had a hard time trying to find my way to the main website from their blog. They have a link at the bottom of each article, but it would help to have a template with more mentions and links to the main site and their services, especially for those who only scan the available articles without reading any of them all the way through.
Use Your Helpful Articles Around the Site
Helpful articles can also be used around your website to help make it more useful to your prospective customers, who are learning about your services, which will likely improve conversions.
For example, for the article about packing items to ship, mentioned above, Shipping 2 USA can add a short overview of the article with a link to the full article on pages that talk about their packing and unpacking services. Will showing potential customers how to pack items for shipping convince many to do their own packing? I doubt it. I suspect it will convince most that they really don’t want to spend the time packing.
But even if some prospective cusotmers end up doing their own packing, articles like this can help make the site more helpful, show your expertise, and personalize the site a bit, all helping to convince visitors to contact Shipping 2 USA about their shipping services.
Keyword Research For Related Queries & Questions
Do some keyword research to see what related phrases people are searching for in search engines. Some keyword tools will show you questions people are asking, which you might use to write some helpful articles.
For example, I see people searching on “shipping car to (or from) USA.” Shipping 2 USA talks about shipping cars as a service, so perhaps they can write articles related to this such as “Logistics of shipping a car to/from the USA” or get even more specific and talk about the details of shipping a car to/from the countries people are searching about in some volume.
I see people searching on shipping topics related to India, Canada, UK, Europe and Japan. I also see people searching with questions such as “if you buy a mercedes in germany what tax or duties are there for shipping back to usa.” So if they include some specifics about car taxes and duties for key countries, the article may get found for these types of questions, too.
I see someone asked, “moving to Australia from USA can I bring archery gear?” and someone else asked, “moving from USA to Perth Australia can I bring my compound bow?” Hmm, a fair amount of interest in archery from people moving to Australia. Shipping 2 USA could write an article that specifically answers that question. Or better yet, they can write a more general article about what people can or should bring when moving to Australia, and within the article, talk about archery gear as well.
I doubt there’s much competition from webpages that talk about whether you can bring archery gear when you move to Australia, so just talking about it within an article will likely be enough to return the article reasonably high in search results. More importantly, writing a more general article should get the article found in more searches than just the few people asking about archery gear.
Here are some additional questions people have searched on, that Shipping 2 USA might base some helpful articles around:
Many people search on variations of “what to pack when moving abroad”, “personal items to take when moving to Italy from USA,” etc.
How about an article such as “Personal items to take when moving from the USA”?
They could talk about some details specific to key countries in the article, and it will likely get found in searches about personal items to take when moving to one of these countries.
“moving from uk to usa what’s needed?”
Perhaps Shipping 2 USA can write an article about “Moving to the USA: What’s needed?” and again mention some specifics for key countries.
“how long does standard shipping take from uk to usa?”
Perhaps an article specifically dealing with the UK or one that talks about most of the countries Shipping 2 USA services.
“do i have to pay vat for shipping to the usa?”
Questions about VAT (Value Added Tax) are probably asked by folks throughout the European Union so an article(s) about this may get found in many searches.
Announce Each Of Your Useful Articles
Announce each of your useful articles through the social networks that you use and other communication vehicles (like email blasts, e-newsletters, etc).
If they are truly useful articles, some people will share them or link to them. This can help improve rankings and get more people to read your articles and learn what you have to offer.
Shipping 2 USA has a Facebook page, a Google+ page and a twitter account, but there are very few followers and not much social engagement (people sharing, bookmarking, liking, commenting, etc). Adding more and more useful articles to their site and announcing them on their social venues should help.
Look For Guest Writing Opportunities
Once they have a “critical mass” of helpful articles, Shipping 2 USA could look for opportunities to write similar articles for other blogs and online magazines.
Having articles on other, related websites can help build awareness, increase referrals from those sites, and possibly increase rankings for pages on their website if there are links from the article.
I’ll bet there are plenty of websites and blogs that, at least in part, focus on the community of people who make international moves, etc. For example, I found a forum on Lonely Planet where people asked some of the questions mentioned before. An article or two in the right place on a site like Lonely Planet could be a big win.
Consider Developing Video Content
Some of the information that would be helpful to Shipping 2 USA’s potential clients could be best presented with video, such as the “how to pack items” information mentioned above.
They should consider developing video content like this to use around the site and their current social media venues and consider creating a YouTube Channel to host Shipping 2 USA videos.
Video content like this, especially on a YouTube channel, can help in a few ways. Videos on YouTube often get found by people searching for related information and questions in search engines and in addition to searches on YouTube itself. People looking at the videos on YouTube who learn about what you offer may click through to your website to learn more.
The links from YouTube channel and videos to your website that my help increase rankings (especially if the videos gets viewed. linked to, liked, etc by a number of people). Moreover, a YouTube channel is an effective place to host videos which can then be embedded in pages on a web site or blog and as content on social venues like Facebook and Google+.
See Video Content For E-commerce Sites = Improved Search Results + Increased Sales for much more about using video for improved search results and conversions. It’s focused on e-commerce but much of it applies to any video content. Look at the section named “Where To Host Ecommerce Videos For Best Search Results” in particular where YouTube is discussed.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.