Q: In your book, you mention the benefit for “non-commercial” content as a way to gain visibility in the search engines. Could you provide me some examples of commercial websites with non-commercial content? I’ve really never seen any at all.
I’m afraid of looking “weird” by putting philosophical beliefs, etc. on the site.
A: What we really mean by “non-commercial” is this: informative and helpful, with little or no sales-speak. Of course this content should be related to your product and we don’t recommend going off on a philosophical (or, heaven forbid, political) tangent. Here are a few ideas and examples:
- Resume tips on an executive recruiter’s website
- Wine reviews on a site that sells wine cellar management software
- Case studies, white papers, how to, or troubleshooting tips related to your product
- Q & A, “ask the experts” or answers to common questions in your industry
- Free tools or downloads
- “Area Sights” on a hotel website (but only if this is really unique – not like the generic ones we usually see!)
Some “real world” examples are:
- Author Rhonda Abrams provides expert advice, a newsletter, and several other pathways into her realm of authority.
- Stevens Creek Software, which sells athletic software among other things, has a target heart rate calculator.
- Search engine expert Aaron Wall offers free online SEO tools
Inlinks are great, not only because they bring traffic directly to your site, but also because search engines notice them and use them to measure the authority of your pages. Notice how, in the three examples above, we used keywords to link to the content. These links will give Ms. Abrams a little boost for ranking well when people search for “Rhonda Abrams,” the software site a boost for “target heart rate calculator,” and Mr. Wall a boost for “free online SEO tools.”
Of course you could delve even further into the realm by building content primarily designed to gain links, and that would be what we call “linkbait.” This is one of the most talked-about subjects in SEO today – for more on Linkbait you may wish to read:
- Matt Cutts’ SEO Advice: Linkbait and Linkbaiting
- Search Engine Journal with an article on linkbait
- Problogger on “What is Linkbait?“
The important question is not “is this material non-commercial” but rather: “is this material linkable?” Information that is not readily available elsewhere on the web, or which provides a new and different perspective, can serve to be quite linkable. It will also help you build your credibility and relationship with your potential customers. And that’s your real bottom line, isn’t it?