The First Search Engine Marketing Method: Content That Meets Customers' Needs

 


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For your business web site, good search engine rankings and high user traffic depend on relevant content. More user traffic will mean more sales leads and then more sales. Beyond any technical tricks, content that meets the users’ need for three types of information is the best guarantee that search engines and users will find your site. The Google and Yahoo page rankings favor sites that have articles of about 1000 words and that use keywords relevant to the user's search.

Once they find your site with a search engine, web users spend more time on sites where their needs are met. To understand why users come back to content rich sites, lets look at the ways that a successful website, like DVInfo, fills the three most important information needs of the website user.

The DVInfo.net online community boasts over thirteen thousand members and a quarter million posts. What makes users of DVInfo Community come back to the site on a regular basis? The users come back for relevant content that meets their needs.

Here everyone from Hollywood cameramen to new DV camera owners in Alaska meet to discuss digital video. Online communities can build powerful loyalty in users. Some unpaid users at DVInfo.net are posting their stories and answering other forum user's questions nearly every day. What would happen to your sales if users were so loyal to your brand and your web site that they showed up every day to read new content?

At the Digital Video website (DVInfo.net), the presence of experienced video creators who can offer detailed explanations gives the site credibility. In this forum a rookie video camera user can learn from an experienced Director of Photography like Charles Papert, who has worked on TV shows like “The West Wing" and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer". Because of its highly relevant content and numerous links from other Digital Video content sites, the DVInfo.net site has a Google page rank of 6 out of 10.

For your business web site, the presence of reliable, helpful content builds the user's confidence that they can trust your business. Reliable content and links from other relevant content sites also build the page rank of your business web site.

Now let's look at what this means to a business web site that also wants to build more user traffic. Users have three major tasks they perform when using a content rich site like DVInfo.net Community or your business website.

Customer Need 1: Learn Enough About the Topic to Identify Needs

How does a new video camera user approach the DV INFO web site? A beginning video camera user may not even realize that the video he shoots can be edited to remove bad video shots, or tell a story. The new video camera user reads about the way more experienced users shoot video and edit video. Gradually he realizes that he can do more than just shoot home movies. He begins to want a PC that can edit his video. He learns because the web site community has rich content.

At first, your business web site customer may not even know he has a need for your service, or may not understand that need. Your website content should first focus on helping people understand their need without pushing a particular product at this point.

Customer Need 2: Learn About Alternative Solutions

Next, the DV INFO user studies the different ways to edit video. Should he get a PC or a Mac? He learns about video edit software by reading about other users and their experience with different brands of edit software.

During this middle stage, web site customers look for possible solutions and then narrow these down to make a decision. Website users need both rational and emotional reasons to make their decision, but content at this stage generally shows the benefits of a solution or compares it to other solutions. Many websites focus on the rational, technical description of a solution, although a study of Amazon.com's product reviews found that the more subjective product reviews were as helpful to customers as the more objective reviews. This testimonial-style content helps alleviate fear and lets customers learn from other peoples’ experience with your product.

Commercial web sites, like Amazon.com, have User Reviews to allow purchasers to see how others liked a certain book. This reduces the customer's fear of the unknown. The buyer at Amazon.com feels more confident buying a book about cave exploring, by Michael Ray Taylor, if 30 other users also liked the book. Good reviews or testimonials on a business web site overcome the buyer's fear of the unknown.

Customer Need 3: Choose the Best Solution and Feel Comfortable

The DV INFO user settles on 1 or 2 video edit solutions and needs to learn more. If other users write about good experiences with the same hardware and software choice, the aspiring video editor starts to feel more comfortable. Especially if the cost is great, the good experiences of others reduce the user's fear about making the wrong choice.

Finally, your business website customer chooses a solution, by purchasing a product, or choosing a service. Content at this stage helps people learn about their chosen solution and adapt to working with it. Technical support or sharing experiences and advice with other people who have also chosen this solution can help the customer use the product successfully. Good content at this stage strengthens the relationship with customers. This stage is ongoing and sometimes leads to more questions. This may mean additional sales for your web site.

This understanding of content could be the guiding force in creating different parts of your web site. Your website selling business services could have a web page that educates clients about the different problems that they may have in their business. Your second web page could offer several possible solutions to these problems. Finally, you could build consumer confidence in your services by showing user testimonials or case studies.

By writing your website content from these three client viewpoints your web site meets the three most crucial information needs of clients. This is the first step to earning good Search Engine rankings for relevant content.

Ed Hill does Search Engine Marketing and website promotion using PR methods. He works mainly with businesses, PR firms and web design firms. Learn how search engine marketing can drive more traffic to your business website: http://www.edhillpr.com/

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