The principle is simple: If you want to attract more search traffic to your site, you need to know what people are searching for. Then you can make sure you have the content there to satisfy that demand. We’ve seen through years of reviewing the results from businesses of all sizes, user-generated Q&A does just that. It produces content that people are actually searching for and gives you the opportunity to be the source of the answers. Through this process, you create more content – and more-targeted content – for search engines to pick up on, which steers more and more traffic your way.
Our clients’ experiences show that user-generated Q&A is proving to be one of the most effective ways to improve organic search results for your business and to drive people to your website. We’ve seen Q&A consistently deliver growing amounts of organic traffic for our clients, as the numbers below show. These are real results of Answerbase clients. If you make Q&A a key component of your website content, don’t be surprised if you start to see dramatic results like these in your own business.
- Many clients double or even triple their organic traffic year over year
- One client shows a 19% increase in organic traffic per week in the first two months after launching Q&A
- Another client’s results show a 32% increase in organic traffic month over month for a period of 12 months, and continued consistent growth
Further down in this post, you can also see the actual Google Analytics organic search chart for one of our customers and the consistent growth pattern described above. But first let’s dive into the reasons why Q&A produces such compelling results.
Longtail search drives traffic…
Q&A falls in the category of “longtail” search content, which report after report has shown to drive high search rankings. “Longtail” refers to a relatively long series of words in a search – for example, “How does Honda Accord mpg compare with Toyota Camry mpg” vs. just “Honda Accord.” Q&A lends itself to longtail searches because questions are more likely to take a longtail form than other types of searches. This makes Q&A extremely good at driving organic search traffic. Here’s why.
- Natural language: Like other user-generated content (UGC), Q&A tends to match closely with the natural language people use to construct their search phrases. For example, Angie’s List has pushed to the top of search rankings with a Q&A blogpost on how much it should cost to install a water heater. If people are typing in the question “How much should water heater installation cost,” and the content Angie’s List provides is headlined “How much should water heater installation cost?” it’s a no-brainer that the content will do a good job of driving traffic to the article on the website. That content originated on Q&A.
- Specificity: Q&A by nature offers very specific information that people are looking for – and the more specific the information, the more likely it is to contain the “longtail” keywords that often characterize a person’s search language. To return to the example above, “Honda Accord” is so general it’s going to return countless hits if you’re the rare site ranking high for those general terms. But “How does Honda Accord mpg compare with Toyota Camry mpg?” is so specific it’s going to connect you directly with people who are looking for a particular piece of content, and it’s also less competitive. If you can provide the content people are seeking in a less competitive space, you’re going to rank high. Basically, people are telling you exactly what they want to see. All you have to do is deliver it.
- Content insights: Q&A is a back-and-forth process in which you can incrementally improve organic search performance by constantly learning more about what people are looking for and fine-tuning your content accordingly. One expert on the topic recommends using Google Analytics to identify the best longtail keywords for your business, as well as paying close attention to your own website’s forums and monitoring social media for clues about what people are interested in and what they’re looking for. Answerbase creates longtail content naturally, but also provides Content Insights to accomplish this goal; the technology identifies content that needs refinement or that needs to be created to effectively satisfy demand.
…and longtail traffic drives conversions
A growing amount of Q&A content means more relevant content being indexed with higher rankings in organic search, which will bring more people to your website. Once they’re there, you’re in a perfect position to ask for their business – and get it. After all, they’re in search of specific information that you’re providing. Once you’ve done that, follow through with a strong call to action to help move you closer to your business goal and then continue to stay in front of them through remarketing (or retargeting) your call to action. Your goal might be driving sales, by requesting that they buy a product or sign up for a service from you, or driving database development, by simply asking them to provide contact information. Traffic produced through Q&A content can help produce more results in both these areas.
Always include a call to action and remarket to your audience to successfully convert visitors who find your website through Q&A content. The longtail keywords that typify question-based searches are far better at converting visitors than short keywords. One study concluded that “longtail searches outperform generic shorttail searches on almost every measure,” including click-through rates and conversion rates.
There’s no arguing with results
Of course, we always like to point back to the actual results of Answerbase clients that make the best case for Q&A, as the graph below demonstrates. It shows the search engine traffic growth one of our clients experienced from using Answerbase’s Q&A system, and you can actually see the sustained growth of organic traffic to their Q&A environment.
If you’re looking to bring dramatically more traffic to your site and also increase conversions, consider Q&A as part of a larger content strategy that puts together quality content, effective distribution, and constant measuring and refining to get the results you’re looking for.
Try it out for yourself, with a Free Trial of Answerbase Q&A Software.