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Attacking the Long Tail - Why FAQ’s Should Come From Your Customer Service Team and Your Copywriter.

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Epiphany Search

On more than one occasion recently, we have met with clients who have started to add FAQ content to their website. Not only is this content extremely useful from a usability point of view, but it can also help attract the long tail of search. FAQ sections are useful areas of content on a website as they help to dispel any fears from a potential customer about delivery, warranties and the like. However, FAQ sections are rarely structured to what the potential customer might ask, and are generally tucked away in a content plan that lands on a copywriter's desk.

Just as you wouldn’t ask a delivery driver to sell something to a customer, you wouldn’t ask a copywriter to solve a customer service problem. But in effect, by sending your FAQ content brief to your copywriter directly, that is exactly what you are doing. What is absolutely essential is that the questions in an FAQ section are real questions – this means questions that customer service teams get asked regularly. So in effect, the customer service team should devise the content brief for this area. When new questions or queries come up, these should be added to the FAQ section of the website on a regular basis. If you are struggling with what to enter into this area, take a look at your Google Analytics data (other web stats systems are available), specifically at the keywords that drove traffic to your site in the last six months. This will unearth a surprising amount of questions (how do I do this, what can I do about that) which your customer service team should be able to answer easily. These tend to be very long questions, but should form part of your keyword strategy moving forward. Enter these questions exactly into Google and see how many results answer the question posed. Think also about how you search when looking for financial, computer-based or car related issues on the internet! This approach will then provide more copy for the copywriter to rewrite, and more content to add to the FAQ section. Fresh content is good for Google, so this is a small but significant way of ticking this box. So by assessing your FAQ’s in this way, you are providing content that is good for users as it informs them of things pre and post-sale, and is also good for search engines as you are adding new content to the site that is specifically aimed at informing your user base. Which brings us back to the long tail… In any search marketing campaign, the long tail is absolutely essential. A lot of top level focus is on short tail keywords (car insurance) which shows a client that they rank highly in Google for such competitive terms. While these terms account for a good proportion of traffic to a website, the cost per conversion for a purchase driven by these terms is usually the most costly. The long tail of search, when implemented correctly, can account for around 80% of traffic to your website. There are generally hundreds of thousands of keywords that could deliver three or four visits a month to your website. However, these will generally convert at a much lower cost per conversion than the short tail terms, which will in effect bring down the overall cost per conversion keyword wide. A narrow short tail ranking strategy can also result in a massive swing in rankings. If you are putting all your resource into ensuring you rank highly for things like car insurance, you are leaving yourself open to any algorithm changes Google decides to make, or any outside unplanned factor (your website going down for a period of time). Once something like this happens, your traffic from these phrases could plummet as a result of a loss of rankings which is at a massive cost to your business. A smart long tail strategy will underpin this and lessen the effect of a massive fluctuation in rankings. The long tail is generally less competitive too, so easier to attain rankings for. It also allows for quicker results overall, and ends up giving your website a more natural SEO profile. You are adding content that is genuinely what people are searching for and Google will class this as good informative content. So there you have it – your FAQ’s could be the key to driving down your cost per conversion! Any thoughts on this? Please leave your comments below! (Photo: SoloSEO)