When someone is looking at your software or product, it doesn’t matter whether or not they’re already a customer. It doesn’t matter whether they already know how to find your website. And it doesn’t matter how easy-to-navigate you’ve made your website and help center.
Chances are, they’ll still go to Google for answers first.
It’s a habit, maybe even their default action when they open up a new tab.
And that’s a shame for most businesses, given the state of their self-serve customer support, with their brief FAQ page and robotic phone support hotline.
Many companies have a great product and customer support teams with in-depth product expertise, eager to help. Fewer companies have had these teams create knowledge bases and other self-serve resources for their customers. And fewer still have optimized them so that customers can easily find them in the first place they’ll look: page one of Google.
That’s why creating and optimizing an SEO-friendly knowledge base for your searching audience can be such a tremendous tool, not just for support, but brand awareness and lead generation as well.
With an optimized knowledge base, you won’t just have customers finding answers for help more quickly and easily, creating a better customer experience, or decreasing support requests.
In an era when bloggers, YouTubers, and other companies are creating content and tutorials about your brand, these discoverable resources help you get found by new potential customers in addition to the rest of your website and marketing content.
Clearly, such an important content project should be executed strategically. If you’re ready to undertake it for yourself, here’s what you should keep in mind.
Step 1: Do Your Keyword Research
Just like with other types of content, you’ll want to do thorough keyword research before creating anything for your knowledge base. Understanding how your potential customers are searching for can help guide how you provide it to them.
For example, it might seem obvious to organize your knowledge base based on the names of product features. But is that really how non-customers think about things? Don’t be so certain.
It’s more likely they’re thinking about themselves and their own use case than the official names of features. In that case, you’d want to organize your content around different uses and types of customer personas.
To find out for sure how they’re thinking about their problems, keyword research can tell you exactly how they’re searching for the answers.
Additionally, doing keyword research for your knowledge base can help you identify any gaps in its content. If the research shows that there are lots of searches for questions you don’t have answers to, that’s a signal you should create some knowledge base content that does so — both for SEO purposes and to provide that value to the readers.
That’s right, keyword research goes beyond search optimization and traffic, although that’s the most short-term gain.
Ultimately, allowing people to find the solutions to their problems more easily with free content impacts how much they trust you, affecting how quickly they buy your product and how happy they are with it. And in the case of your knowledge base, that includes researching the best ways to structure and format your support.
Step 2: Structure Your Knowledge Base Strategically
Once keyword research has given you a better idea of how prospects can discover your knowledge base content, combine that with everything else you know about your current and ideal customers to map out the structure of your knowledge base.
Like keyword research, this is for both SEO as well as your reader’s ease of use.
To continue the example from above, you may find that whether someone searches for a product feature or what they use it for will depend on their experience, and whether they’re coming to you from an alternative or no previous solution. In that case, your knowledge base structure would need to accommodate both methods for both types of customers.
Additionally, you need to format your content in specific ways in order to have it included in a featured snippet, which offers a large visibility boost on the search results page. Then there’s optimizing your site links and metadata, plus optimizing rich media like graphics and videos.
If it seems like a lot, there are tools that can help you streamline the process, like WordPress plugins and standalone platforms.
Wix Answers, a customer support platform created by Wix, explains in detail how to use its knowledge base creator to create SEO-optimized articles that should attract new customers. There are essential steps you have to take to make sure Google’s bots can scan your content easily:
– Setting up your metadata using the right titles and meta-descriptions
– Using the right HTML H1 to H6 tags to define the structure of your content
– Ensuring the UX is as smooth as ever which is crucial for SEO
– Designing a responsive knowledge base to answer Google’s mobile-first index scanning method.
Step 3: Build Your Links
Speaking of building links, that’s an important step all on its own. This will be one of the final steps of setting up your knowledge base as an SEO-friendly resource. Link building is a fundamental part of SEO, but a difficult one when it comes to such product-focused content as customer support articles.
Your knowledge base articles aren’t normally the type of content that will garner press mentions or links from other websites like you’ll often find in link building strategies. This makes it all the more crucial to build internal links to these pages, both between different knowledge base articles as well as from other areas of your business’s website.
Again, create internal links with usability and ease of use in mind. Whenever a page is talking about something you have a resource on, it’s smart to link to it. That might be in other knowledgebase articles, articles on your main blog, feature pages, product launch landing pages, and wherever else it might be relevant to your business.
Turn Knowledge Into a Resource
By building a thriving knowledge base, you’re able to better leverage the knowledge of your customer support team for both existing and future customers. The project can improve so many areas of your business that it’s worth handling carefully and strategically. And the following steps will get you well on your way to success with it.