Content in Context Equals Conversion
26 Jul 2012 | By Jessica Benton
Content curation will assist online businesses with conversion, drive up search rankings and increase site traffic. Sneaking Duck is an online retailer that has mastered the best practices.
The message to website developers and publishers resonates clearly – content in context begets conversions and higher rankings.
With drastic changes to Google’s search results ranking algorithm in order to lower the rank of low-quality websites, online businesses have been forced to take a pro-active approach to producing quality and original online content.
Google’s Panda update is intended to lower the rank of low-quality websites, and return higher quality websites to the top of the search results, whilst the latest Penguin update works to decrease search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s outlines by using black-hat SEO techniques such as keyword stuffing, cloaking, participating in link schemes or deliberately creating duplicate content.
With these new ranking measures, Google is taking a much tougher stance on websites designed to manipulate search engines over delivering a quality user experience.
As Google threatens to punish publishers of unsolicited or copied content, it forces businesses to take a pro-active approach to internal content creation.
Google’s advice to online publishers on its blog is “to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your website and not to focus too much on what they think are Google’s current ranking algorithms or signals”.
Many retailers and online businesses have taken this on board, and have begun to incorporate good quality non-product content as a way of providing relevant subject matter and improving the online customer experience.
Online prescription glasses retailer, Sneaking Duck, has led the way locally with its engaging, informative and original blog posts.
The retailer regularly incorporates non-product content into its blog, as well as engaging elements on connecting social networks. At the moment, co-founders, Mark Capps and Jodie Fox, write the blog posts.
Mark Capps says creating non-product content is a key part of the Sneaking Duck business strategy.
“There’s two reasons for this. The first is around building a brand, and trying to make buying glasses fun and easy to purchase. We feel we need to engage people with quality content,” he says.
“The second is to provide great customer service. We love people calling, emailing or tweeting, but it usually means they couldn’t find something on our site, so we’re always thinking about ways of giving this information to customers when we get these questions.
“People want to be engaged around a brand not specifically on the product. We aim to be fun and interesting.”
Sneaking Duck began experimenting with non-product content a few months ago, posting useful and interesting articles to the blog, and implementing other innovative measures.
Capps says video content is another engagement tactic, as well as building social network communities such as Facebook and Twitter.
Help videos are next on the agenda, Capps shares.
“We’ll be launching help videos, looking at a few aspects such as buying glasses or measuring your pupil distance which is a key measurement you need to get your glasses prescription made correctly. We think video says a bit more than just a post.”
Other innovative content includes a how-to tutorial that looks at how to use the recently launched Virtual Try-On Tool, a digital tool that lets you upload a photograph and try on glasses virtually.
“The reason we wrote that post was to make sure that people knew how to use the tool well, were aware of it, and to make sure that when people take pictures of themselves, they look good.
“It’s been one of the most successful parts of our site. There’s no doubt that people who engage with our try-on tool are much more likely to have a positive brand experience and talk about us, creating a buzz.”
People who visit the try-on page spend three times as long on the website, and look at twice as many pages, Capps divulges.
Quality content is a great way to make people spend more time browsing your website. It’s the best tool to engage and inform customers, and build a relationship with them.
If you think of your audience as people who have never visited your site before or know little about your brand and product offering, the content on your site should inform, inspire and create interest.
The content should also make them want to come back again and give your company an air of authority and expertise.
Sneaking Duck has also been recognised for their use of plain language, winning a Clear Mark award from the Centre for Plain Language recently
“We were blown away by this. We spend so many late evenings trying to write good content. We believe that buying glasses should be fun, simple and easy. For too long the process has been made very complicated and not very much fun,” Capps shares.
“Customers used to tell us all of the time, ‘I used to hate buying glasses and I used to avoid it, but now I love buying glasses from you because it’s fun’. The key to that is writing good, clear content so that that technical side goes away.”
Capps says analytical evidence proves that content curation is a huge benefit to online customers and Sneaking Duck as a business.
“We think it’s working. People who are coming to the blog are spending over a minute on that first page, and most of the blogs are quite short, they’re certainly under a minutes read,” he says.
“Over half of the blog visitors click through to our site so that tells me we’ve transformed someone who was just reading a blog post to visit our site.
“For example, we put up a blog post about winning the ORIAs and 50 percent of readers then came through to our site. I feel we transformed that engagement which is sort of around the periphery of our brand into people that are actually interested in our site and products.”
What is clearly evident is that delivering content curation will ultimately assist businesses with conversion, drive up search rankings and increase site traffic.
“We’ve found that the more you engage people, the more time they’re likely to spend on your site, and the more likely they are to convert,” Capps finishes.
“All of the evidence backs that this works.”