I’ve been writing a lot of guide content recently.
Guides are a great way of providing value to your reader, by answering questions they needs answers too.
And they often have massive SEO benefits.
A collection of guides, covering a variety of relevant topics, can be the backbone of a solid content marketing strategy.
Evergreen content that can sit on your website for years and years, with only minor tweaks needed occasionally, will build your website’s authority – and allow you to become a trusted brand in your industry.
If people have questions about your product, or your services, then guide content can be hugely beneficial.
Most websites today already have guide content. In fact, it’s become harder to stand out because of how much competition there is.
But there are a few things you can do to really take your guides to the next level.
Find out What People Want to Know
You need to answer questions people are actually asking – otherwise, what’s the point?
Standard SEO practice is to embark on a round of keyword research, focusing on longtail, to try and determine what people are typing into Google.
But this might not work 100% for a couple of reasons. You might not be an SEO expert. And it can be difficult researching queries regarding a product you know nothing about.
If possible, the best thing you can do is speak to somebody actually on a relevant customer journey.
For example, imagine you’re writing a few guides for people looking to buy a house.
If you’ve never bought a house before, then you might not know about terms such as ‘conveyancing’ and ‘negative equity’.
So how would you know to include these phrases in your keyword research?
Talking to someone who is actually in the process of buying a house, and asking them about the things they have needed answers to, will provide you with content ideas you might have otherwise missed out on.
Meaning your guide subjects are as comprehensive as they can be.
Become an Expert on What You’re Talking About
More important than being good – your content needs to be right.
If you get important information wrong you can lose all trust amongst your audience, and it will take a long time to build that authority again.
So you need to know what you’re talking about.
When planning the creation of a guide – plan in time to really learn everything there is to know about your topic.
Sticking with the ‘buying a house’ example. If you’re writing about negative equity, don’t just learn what this term means, become an expert on it.
Read everything you can on the subject until you can cite the definition on demand. Until you can answer questions other people might have about it off the top of your head.
Only then should you begin to write.
Bring Your Guides Together into One Cohesive Hub
Don’t write each guide as an individual piece, with its own specific purpose.
All guides should work together towards one big-picture goal – normally, getting the reader to a point where they convert into a customer.
You don’t want them to read just one guide and leave. They need to take the next step on their customer journey, and read the next guide.
Final time I’ll use the homebuying example. Say you write a guide on how to buy a house, the user reads it, and they have more questions.
Now, they need to read your guide on what mortgages are, and how to apply for one.
Then, they need to know about solicitor’s fees, and stamp duty tax.
Each guide should work well on it’s own, but they also need to work as part of a funnel, constantly moving the customer to the next step until they get to the end.
It’s easy to do this. You just need to consistently reference other guides when writing one. And link to them, making it even easier for the reader.
Internal linking will also provide substantial SEO benefits. So it’s win-win.
None of these suggestions are particularly ground-breaking, or difficult, but they are often missed by content writers.
Which allows competitors to gain an edge.
Don’t let that happen. Put everything you can into building authority, and providing value to your audience, and the benefits will not only be substantial – they’ll also last a long time.