Our recent blog post on An advertisers guide to SEO in 2011 was an introduction to getting the foundations right for your ecommerce site. After some feedback some advertisers wanted to know how to over come the recent Panda update, along with tangible linking tips of how to improve their rankings in the search engines.
Content Generation Machine
The A4U event Performance in Fashion last week focused on how to improve your online marketing strategy. One of the talks focussed on engaging with bloggers on a higher-level, through organising more face to face meet-ups and developing a community and brand following through contributors or publishers. I see the role of the publisher as two fold; they write content, and they also promote your products.
Whether this is through social media sharing, designing websites and link building, they represent part of your brand. If you take the first part of generating content, you have a whole group of affiliates that might be starting out on their journey to affiliate success. These affiliates could be generating content for you not only for the sole purpose of back linking, but also as a crowd sourced way of generating content for your website.
To move forward in online marketing, affiliate marketing people at advertisers, agencies and networks need to be not just talking to the search people but understanding and contributing to search campaigns through clever content generation and optimisation.
Content Management Processes! (Not CMS)
If you take a large ecommerce website with over 10,000 products you’d think it is no easy feat to generate content for each of these pages. After the Panda update much of the advice has been just get it done, without much thought put in to how to tackle such a mammoth task. I’ve put together some achievable ideas of how to gain new content to help ensure we can stay in Google’s good books and ensure we stay on top!
1 - Prioritise your content requirements
Prioritise top traffic and sales conversion pages affected by the update. Separate all you content in to three sections tier 1, 2 and 3. Your priorities may change between the ones below, but here’s a quick rundown so you can visualise what your content generating structure might look like.
Tier 1 is your priority content on your core site pages such as your home page and category pages.
Tier 2 is your sub category or high selling product pages.
Tier 3 is for products that you’re not currently getting search visibility for or if you’re running a pay per click campaign the page might not be converting. These pages still need attention, however we want to prioritise and work on our highest revenue generating assets first.
2 - Write a brief
For ensure tier 1 content sourcing is the highest quality (and budget, yes good writers aren’t cheap!). A brief should cover what type of categories and products they will be writing about, along with experience required. Ensure the writers you’re hiring for tier 1 are actually doing the work themselves. Most importantly ask to see not just examples of writing work they’ve completed for others, but an example of what they do for fun in their own time. You may think this is only for writing product descriptions, but this could be a good way of sourcing future editorial talent!
3 - Research writing job boards and forums
Identify a short list of sources of content writing based on recommendations and not just the websites you’ve heard of. Be sure to include any costs associated with job placement on websites such as problogger that costs $50 for a 30-day placement and gives you access to higher quality bloggers.
I wont go in to a writers brief as this will change with not only tone of voice, experience of specialist subjects etc. However be sure to ask for examples of similar work and a trial 400 words before you outsource your entire tier 1 content!
4 - Build a community
Build a team for sourcing content for your tier 2 pages and don’t look at it like hiring a freelancer. It goes without saying you’re a brand ambassador of your company, and your freelance writers should feel the same or they can probably write about a subject they’re less passionate about and earn more money! Putting your writers in touch with each other is a great way of encouraging community and brand advocacy too. Using a project management system that is based around conversations, such the one we use at Climb Digital called teambox.com is a great way of encouraging debate, getting writers to answer each other’s questions. You can also moderate at the same time and support your virtual army!
5 - Launch a competition
To source your content for your tier 3 pages you may want to look at a longer-term strategy and consider some more creative options. If we give an example of an online fashion retailer, who I had a conversation with at the performance in fashion event, they said they were having trouble sourcing interns due to the recruitment process. If this were the case then ideally it would be great to have your writers in the office. One idea is to launch a competition where the writer has to describe your products in 3 different ways. This way the writer has to think about how to position what you sell, and you can see alternatives outside of your internal point of view.
6 - Encourage competition in your community
Develop a forum or community that encourages the creativity without it being all about the money! Tests conducted of workers who had more freedom of creativity instead of cash bonuses ended up performing better at work. Think Google’s 80/20 projects that created products like gmail. A token system using gamification methods for content writing could be something you could consider. Gamification for those of you not aware is where, similar to a computer games, users compete to pass tasks to get to the next level. Remember this is you planning to outrank, outsmart your competitors by engaging with your most loyal customers, the people who work with you.
You can use some or all of these ideas for content generation, depending on the scale of your operation and urgency of getting content on your site. I hope you enjoyed this guide to generating content and hope to hear your feedback about how you, the advertiser are implementing these ideas and coming up with new ones too! If you want to find out more about ecommerce seo, head over to our website www.climbdigital.co.uk.