December 4, 2012
Once your site is live, the marketing work begins. And it never stops. However, there are ways to pre-engineer your content plan to publish articles faster and easier, as long as your site shall live. Product and service reviews are a great way to do that. Here’s why:
Review Opportunities Never End
No, they don’t. Never. I don’t care what business you’re in. A website developer can create (or curate) reviews of hosting services, WordPress themes or widgets. An SEO consultant can review software or other SEO-related services. An offline business like a contractor can review window brands, cabinetry or plumbing fixtures.
Think about the kinds of things your target customers are looking for when they go online whether you offer that specific product or service or not. Prospects are trying to solve a problem and they might be guessing about how to do it, or otherwise roaming about in search of answers. Reviews are answers, and they work a lot better to retain a reader’s interest than any marketing pitch possibly could.
It doesn’t matter that you aren’t “in the business” of doing reviews, like Consumer Reports. Being a worthwhile resource in your niche should always be a primary marketing objective.
Reviews are Formulaic
Once you decide on the factors to include in a review, you’ve pretty much got the template for every other one to follow. Not only that, but you already know what you’re going to write about (a certain set of products or services), it’s just a matter of choosing which one comes next.
As someone who writes daily, I welcome the opportunity to publish useful content without too much brain strain. Everyone has competing priorities, and finding a flow for creating new pages of content lets you ensure content production doesn’t routinely take a back seat which, in turn, inevitably leads to less site traffic and fewer conversions.
Reviews Make for Killer Keywords
Ranking for relevant keywords gets easier the more specific your terms. This is known as the “long tail” where fewer and fewer sites compete for more and more keyword variations. Reviews and ratings are excellent long tail keyword opportunities.
For example, any site would have a hard time showing up on the first page of search results for “DLSR camera.” It’s just such a broad term and, with 201,000 searches a month, only the biggest, baddest sites are going to rank for it. But notice what happens to search volume as you clarify your subject matter:
• digital slr camera reviews – 14,800
• Nikon D90 review – 3,600
• Nikon digital slr camera reviews – 880
Generally speaking, lower search volume signals better ranking opportunities and, if SEO is an important marketing channel for your website, ranking in search results is vital to getting traffic. At the same time, more specific keyword phrases usually provide important information about user intent. Knowing the intent of the users who visit your site is the first big step to improving conversions.
One of my own sites built a client base quickly by targeting a particular keyword phrase that averaged just 46 searches a month in the U.S. Forty-six searches! User intent is so clear, we convert a significant percentage of visitors who call or e-mail us. New websites don’t build a Web presence by going after high-volume keywords from the start – they’re built by getting a foothold with longtail keywords first.
Reviews Can be Outsourced
Most webmasters and site owners like to keep a firm handle on what they publish on their sites. That’s understandable of course, because your words represent your brand. However, to compete online, you have to publish a lot of quality content on a regular basis. Outsourcing is the easiest way to scale up your article production.
Reviews and ratings are easier to outsource than many other types of content because they are based upon factual lists of information and the scope of the topic is clear. If you find a knowledgeable writer, you many even commission a series of reviews that span weeks or months.
Finally, remember that curating good information can be a powerful way to provide value to readers – you don’t have to write everything from scratch (or hire writers to do so) to demonstrate your expertise. You can leverage other published reviews to provide your own opinion and editorial content. No matter how you approach it, reviewing and rating products and services that are relevant to your niche can provide endless content opportunities, and help you to be found in search by more people, more often.
Mike Sobol has been called a lot of things in his past 13 years as a sales manager, marketing director, trainer, business owner and entrepreneur, most of them nice. These days, he’s focused on content marketing and link building, teaching site owners and webmasters how to guest blog both for credibility and links.