By Jeremy Gillespie
Chances are, you’ve heard about search engine optimization (SEO). But, what about SEO and customer success? When developed properly, your help center can be a huge source of organic traffic. And today, you’re going to learn how to make sure your support center is properly optimized for search.
Before jumping into specific steps to optimize your content, let’s discuss the foundation of SEO. I won't try to explain Google’s algorithm, just know its sole purpose is to spoon-feed searchers with high-quality, relevant information about their query. They determine the quality and relevance in a few different ways, but the core pillars are:
This consists mostly of the written content on the page, but also includes images, videos, and other content on the page. It’s important to point out, this includes something called “meta description tags.” Most help centers will let you edit these and they should concisely describe what is on the page.
Links are incredibly important and often overlooked. Links fall into two categories:
- Internal - link to other pages on your site
- External - link to page on 3rd party sites
For your help center you’ll likely focus on internal linking more often. When writing content, be sure to link to other helpful content on the topic they’re researching. Referencing another page (i.e. linking to it) gives Google more context about the content on the page.
This is a little technical for what we’re covering today, but “structure” refers to the site architecture, how Google crawls your pages, and what is indexed (shows up in search results).
It’s important to note - one area where many companies run into issues is having duplicate content in the help center. Duplicate content will confuse a search engine, because it won’t know which page to rank over the other, which can cause lower rankings.
Now that the basics are out of the way, the next 7 steps will put you ahead of the pack and get you in the good graces of your marketing team.
Pro tip: Work with your marketing team to develop a strategy specific for your company and relevant keywords.
1. Be original.
All content you create should be high quality, but keep in mind that search engines also favor original content. When writing content make sure it specifically addresses the user’s problem in detail and is unique. In-depth and specific articles keep the user engaged longer, and the time a user spends on a page signals to Google the page is relevant and helpful.
2. Provide a great user experience.
Ensure your Help Center looks good and is easy to navigate. To create an enjoyable experience, make sure you have:
- Clear and easy to understand article titles
- Tags or labels in your articles to easily find similar topics
- No broken links
- High resolution images for help to demonstrate solutions
A good user experience will help users get the most out of the help center and visit more pages. Visiting multiple pages in a session is another positive signal to Google.
3. Avoid keyword stuffing.
A common trap people fall into is stuffing as many keywords into their articles as possible. This will actually harm your Google ranking. Keywords should be feel natural in the article. Google recommends focusing on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.
4. Use human-readable links.
It sounds obvious, but make sure your links are easy to read with keywords. Keywords in URLs will help increase search rankings and place more authority on your content.
5. Choose a title that concisely describes the content of your article.
The title is the most prominent piece of information in the search results and carries a lot of weight for rankings. It’s also what people use to decide whether to click the link or move on. Take time to write titles that are clear and easy to understand what the article is about.
6. Promote your content.
Highlight useful and high-quality content on social media or in your Help Center. Promote important and notable announcements on the homepage of your Help Center for greater visibility. This will increase your site's reputation and Google ranking.
7. Look at the numbers.
Lastly, but most important - use Google Analytics to analyze information about visitors and Help Center content. By knowing which articles have the best metrics, you’ll be able to refine future articles to improve search ranking.
It’s important to note, changes to your SEO rankings will not happen overnight. This is a long-term game and rankings will build over time. Use this article as your template when creating new content for your Help Center. If you follow these 7 steps, you’ll be light years ahead of your competition.
Are you a CSM who wants to augment your professional tool kit? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers online training and workshops on core CS topics like Customer Goals and Outcomes. For more information on this and our other classes and workshops, please visit TheSuccessLeague.io
Jeremy Gillespie - Jeremy is a growth marketing expert who loves using complex data to build creative retention solutions. By leveraging data and technology, he excels at creating innovative retention and expansion marketing programs for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Jeremy is a founding advisor to The Success League, and is also the founder of Built to Scale, a Bay Area consulting firm focused on helping businesses build scalable customer acquisition and retention programs. He holds a BA from the University of Pittsburgh and MBA from Point Park University. He's a proud former Pittsburgher, currently living in San Francisco.