At InterWorks, we are constantly striving to bring the brightest and most talented folks in their particular I.T. field to our company. Once on board, our blog does a great job of allowing them a platform to share knowledge and tips regularly. This policy works for everyone as it drives a significant portion of our website traffic and continues to build the individual’s prowess in their field.
Being sure that the world sees the results of our effort is a primary goal of the InterWorks Web Strategy and Marketing teams. While we work to achieve this goal, I wanted to bring you along as we discuss ways to improve our own site through traditional and non-traditional web marketing techniques. Today’s post is an example of this process.
Garrett Sends Me A SEOMOZ Article
I was pointed this morning to an excellent article on SEOMOZ entitled Using Google Analytics to Power an Effective Q&A Strategy by Joshua Unseth of Alarm Grid.
Joshua explained that by pulling the data from Google Analytics on unsatisfied search phrases, you can create a great list of questions that need answered on your site. Ever need an idea for a blog post? Check your list of searches where people didn’t find an answer.
On his company’s website, one that has already done a great job of creating an environment of Q&A around specific manufacturers and products, this is a perfect idea for sourcing content ideas.
Hey Garrett, thanks for sending.
Would This Search Data Help InterWorks’ Current Website?
I found that this wouldn’t work very well for us right now. In short, you have to think of the primary generator for this data.
In the case of Joshua Unseth’s company: If a person searches Google for words that include “how”, “when”, “what”, “where”, etc — plus a manufacturer or product found on his site — there is a good chance that the user will be presented results in Google for his site. He’s simply done a great job of optimizing his site for search.
The results presented may not be perfect; but close enough to get the user to click through. And BOOM: Now Joshua has a new item on his list to write about.
Our Search Data
I pulled the data based on the articles direction; essentially, going through all visits and searching for ‘question words’ in the search query that brought them there.
For our site, the results were not all that exciting. The list showed search phrases that generally led to a search engine presenting us as a pleasing result. There is always room for improvement, but no list of questions on which to focus.
So in the case of our current website, this method is not all that powerful for finding unanswered questions. The data shows that the questions found an answer. Of course, there is a great argument for looking through this list for popular searches and writing better articles…but that’s another topic. (Hint, hint.)
I Learned Something, Right? Push Q&A Phrasing and Site Search
Since I’m taking all the time to write this article, I must have learned something…right? Absolutely.
We have opportunity in front of us with two fairly minimal changes in direction:
- Create a site that feeds Google with Q&A style phrasing.
- Create a site and community that drives loyalty. Loyal users use your site search.
I don’t think I have to go into much depth on #1. People are asking Google, Bing and Siri questions in the question format more and more. Its time to take advantage of the trend. (Man, another great blog topic…)
Now, let’s talk about Site Search.
Is Site Search Important?
On our site today, we have a blog search and no site-wide search available. Even more unfortunate, the blog search is rarely used — only four searches reported by Google Analytics over the past six months. I’m a bit embarrassed to even type that statement.
We have some work to do. Our amazing team of I.T., business intelligence, development and web strategy consultants continue to do very well in driving traffic to our website by writing great articles, but we aren’t working very hard to build loyalty or push them to look at more of the site than just the landing page answering a single question.
It’s time to push site loyalty more, beginning with Site Search. This can be achieved with visual cues through UI modifications, by better cross linking throughout the content and with stronger presentation of links to relative posts. We want people to return to our site and search for answers, not just start at Google and hope we get them.
So why is Site Search important? If users came to our site to ask their questions, or if first-time visitors stayed to ask more questions, the list of unanswered questions would become a powerful tool for us — just like it did with Joshua Unseth at Alarm Grid.
Is That All? You Just Want Potential Questions?
Of course not. Having loyal visitors and an established community goes WAY beyond just drumming up a list of future blog topics.
However, we started this article looking for ways to improve visibility for our company and the amazing people on board. Today’s process revealed some excellent opportunities to help us get there. Once we get some changes in place and start to build a data set of focused questions, I’ll check back in and let you know how its going.
If you have any great tips or thoughts for us, don’t hesitate to let me know!