Finding the Right Mix of Conversion and Conversation Content
The rise of content marketing and more importantly the focus that Google and Bing have put on website content engagement have changed the way we view the types of content we put on our websites. It’s no longer sufficient to focus all of your content on the basic search engine principles of keyword targeting. You have to have content on your domain that draws in the important social signals and time spent on site.
In other words, your websites have to be interesting to a wider range of people, not just those specifically looking for your products and services.
There are several types of content that go on websites, but the two we’re going to be talking about here are the two most important content additions. There is basic content that is relatively stagnant on your website; product descriptions and inventory items rarely have to change, for example. There are other types of regular content additions that somewhat influential as well such as press releases and service announcements. Those are the content types that we won’t be covering.
What we will be covering are often called different things depending on who is describing them, but I look at them as conversion content and conversation content. These are the pages that should be getting added to your website regularly and on an ongoing basis. If you can only focus on one major discipline when it comes to enhancing your website traffic, search rankings, and social significance, creating these two types of content would be the activity that I would wholeheartedly recommend at the top of the activity list.
For those marketing a website, this is arguably the easiest to understand from a needs basis. This is the type of content that should have an immediate impact. It’s usually geographically targeted and almost always product focused, so there’s a clear understanding how it can help.
For example, a Honda dealer in Irvine, CA, should be ranking well in Google for the various Irvine searches with their homepage alone, but they may need to create a content page called, “2013 Honda Accord Santa Ana” to have a landing page geared towards those in neighboring Santa Ana.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything, and as a general rule anything that’s too easy is probably the wrong way to do it in the eyes of Google. In other words, automatically generating dozens, hundreds, even thousands of pages to hit the multitude of targets is the wrong way to do it. The practice is relatively common, so common that it often takes Google time to catch those who are doing it, but in the end they catch everyone. This type of blackhat conversion content creation leads to destruction (i.e. de-indexing or even a penalty).
Real conversion content creation is a manual effort, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be tedious or time-consuming. The page mentioned above should only take 10-20 minutes to create depending on what content management system is being used. It’s not rocket science nor does anyone need a PhD in SEO to make it happen. They simply need to create a page with lead generating tools on it that has visuals in the form of images and/or videos of the product and content describing it. The content itself doesn’t have to be long – a paragraph or two works though a little more would be better – and it can still be conversational.
There is no need to make the content keyword rich. As long as the title tag is set up properly and the content mentions the target keywords somewhere in there, that should be enough to start targeting the keyword appropriately. When you try too hard to get the keyword, you often make it harder to get.
This is the type of content that I often have the hardest time convincing people to build. It goes against the nature of old-school marketing that has been embedded in most of us. In essence, conversational content has nothing to do with converting a visitor into a lead or a sale. It’s often whimsical, only loosely relevant, and seems to bring no value other than to entertain or educate.
Today, it’s the content that can have the biggest impact on search and social marketing. With conversation content, the goal is clear as day written in its name. You want conversations. You want people talking about the content on social media. You want people saving the content in their bookmarks. You want people talking to you about the content in the form of comments.
The image above was taken from a conversational piece of content titled “7 Charming Honda Vintage Ads”. There is very little chance that a Honda dealer is going to have any of the cars being advertised on the page. The page is not designed to sell anything, in fact. It’s designed to get shared. It’s designed for people to see it on social media sites, click through, and reminisce.
Most business website pages outside of the blog are not shareable. Sure, they might have social sharing buttons on them, but nobody is going to share an inventory details page of a 2009 Honda Civic. They aren’t going to share a service appointment page, a specials page, or an about us page. People share content that they find interesting.
Just as you want to be in the conversation with pages on your website, people want to share content on social media that can spark conversations. A page like this one will encourage people to share on their social networks because it’s interesting to see things such as vintage ads.
Social signals don’t just help with social media popularity. They don’t just help with the search rankings of a particular page. Their most important influence is that they help a domain rank better. The more pages that are on a domain that are getting shared well on social sites, the better chance they have of ranking for similar keyword terms as well. This dealership might not care about whether it’s ranked for “Vintage Honda Ads” but it certainly wants to rank for “Dallas Honda Dealers”. Social signals through conversation content pages help to this end tremendously.
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As you continue to push the envelope and watch your digital marketing evolve, it’s important to keep in mind that things aren’t always obvious. They’re clear – that much is certain – but the techniques and strategies that have lower adoption rates such as creating the types of content in this article can be the differentiators between your own marketing and the marketing of your competitors. If you’re creating these types of pages and your competitors are not, you have the upper hand. It’s that simple.