It’s starts with the audience. Frequently agency and private clients are surprised to hear questions at the prospect stage about the target audience:
Who are they?
Are they male, female, both? What age bands are they in? Where do they live? Where do they work? How much do they earn? Do they have children? Are they homeowners? All important questions. The more you know about them, the more you can ensure the content for link outreach, your landing pages and your blog will be on point.
What are they trying to solve?
What is actually the problem and what answers are they searching for? How do they even know they have a problem? The content on your website should be addressing this as it is not all about the conversion. People spout such things, obviously haven’t heard of attribution modelling and are sales driven without giving a hoot for the overall marketing infrastructure. Once you know the answer THEN you can go into commercial mode and start thinking about landing pages for converting into a sale. What we’re really talking about here is the search journey i.e. producing content that addresses each and every stage of the search journey for your target audience and helping them solve their problems. They may bounce out, but you’ll be remembered for it which is how the relationships are formed between your brand and your audience online.
Let’s take a telecommunications provider. It’s all very well having landing pages for each and every solution, but how about landing pages for each service starting with the problem and the solution?
A third dimension is added when each solution may have more than one customer group for the same service/product provision but different needs. For example, which the broadband product is essentially the same, different customer groups will want different versions of it and thus there is a case to have different landing pages accentuating the unique selling points of that same provision. This could and is likely to extend to the need identification, problem and solution landing pages also.
What questions do they ask?
If the search referral key phrases and PPC campaigns isn’t enough then you could look at the internal searches generated. The most popular searches could end up as a permanent landing page filled with introductory content.
The long tail
It is said that the long tail does change over time and expires quickly. Well guess what? So does most blog content because it tends to be topical no matter how timeless you think your thoughts and writings are at the time. Things change, and the world moves on. Well then the long tail is probably best addressed in a number of ways, longer copy for key landing pages and/or blog content. I’m not advocating writing nonsense posts to just create ecommerce doorway pages but I am advocating weaving in long tail content with topical news. Afterall some services and product will go in and out of fashion.
There is a time to consolidate and a time to fragment. It all boils down to usefulness and how big the body of knowledge is. You also need to think about the user journey in all of this as to how they logically flow in the website for to go from need identification to provision. Not easy I’m sure. Once you have the grid of content needs however, it’s simply a case of mapping the site pages out and then coming up with layout design to help facilitate the user’s search journey – almost as if they never have to leave your site!