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by Stephen Logan on 25th October 2011
The more pages you have on a website, the more keywords you can target. Long-tail or short-tail, a well optimised page with its own targeted word or phrase can attract traffic. However, you don’t want to clog up your site with arbitrarily positioned information pages. So how can you expand your website without ruining its cohesiveness?
Well, there are certainly plenty of sites where the balance is horribly askew. They have endless pages, each of which are obviously keyword optimised and provide only a limited benefit to visitors. Usually they are listed in a muddled page footer that requires extensive scrolling just to reach the end. Unfortunately this is the risk of having a little SEO knowledge and applying it liberally, without any consideration for the consequences.
So if you’re looking to add static pages to a website (i.e. not content that is regularly updated, such as a Blog or News section) then you have to find a logical way of grouping it together. You can’t just randomly create pages throughout your site in an arbitrary fashion, you need to maintain structure. Here are a few of the ways you can add new content without ruining the shape of your site:
Your Frequently Asked Questions can serve multiple purposes. As well as providing online assistance for genuine queries your sales or technical team receives, you can also find out what people are searching for on the wider web and use this data to provide an answer.
Remember, each page has the ability to rank independently. However, deeper pages in your site are unlikely to attract many links, which means that they won’t be as strong as top level pages and therefore could struggle to achieve visibility within competitive searches. So you should be looking to elongate your keyword strings and maybe even target unique queries.
So for instance, if you’re selling garden machinery, you might want to look at the kind of searches that people are already carrying out in this particular area (on Google and on your site). So if “What lawnmower should I purchase for a large garden?” is receiving a lot of searches, maybe you should be looking to provide an answer. Equally “Are ride-on lawnmowers dangerous?” might be a question that commonly arises, so why not write a few paragraphs on the subject.
Your FAQs can be split into a number of different sections, each of which should relate to specific aspects of your business or the products that you offer. Again, this should be a logical categorisation to help users find what they’re looking for quickly – using clearly marked sections to guide their way.
This is an unobtrusive way of developing your site and its content. By considering the needs of your end user and not simply trying to boost your traffic levels, you can achieve some fantastic results. So make sure your FAQs serve a purpose. Short, over-engineered snippets that don’t provide an answer will only work against your site. Don’t forget to use anchor text links to send users through to the appropriate page and always research your keywords/titles beforehand.
Whether you’ve abandoned or embraced FAQs as a way of boosting your site’s landing pages, buyer’s guides and user guides can provide an effective alternative. This can be written in a jointly promotional and informative guise. Therefore it’s a decent marketing tool and yet another way of creating new entrances for search engine visitors.
These guides should be expansive, informative and unique. They are an opportunity to shine some light on specific product ranges or services that you offer, so make sure you take full advantage. Again, you will only ever get out of it what you are prepared to put in. So if you are only producing these pages for SEO/traffic purposes, there’s a good chance they will fail when it comes to delivering visitors with insightful information.
Consider your keywords, but also make sure that your guides fit within a clear framework and serve a purpose. Rubbish content is rubbish content in anybody’s eyes. Deliver something that visitors find interesting and you could turn them into customers.
So when you combine the potential for new traffic, with the value of internal linking and conversions, it can be a hugely effective tool for your site and business as a whole. Just make sure that they’re kept up to date (remove or edit any that are outdated) and only ever publish if you’re entirely happy with the content. After all, every page on your site represents your business and therefore quality standards need to be consistent throughout – even if it is ‘just a user guide or FAQ’.
Always consider your navigation and maintain logic at all times. If it doesn’t quite fit in with your site, don’t force it. However, if there is an opportunity to expand naturally and in a manner that will improve the experience for visitors, then don’t be afraid to take advantage of it. One minor change to your site navigation could open up boundless opportunities to expand your site as well as its ability to attract and convert traffic.