Marketers are flocking to resource centers as the holy grail of lead generation (and SEO), and for good reason. Your audience, especially if its a B2B audience, is willing to give you something for high-quality content – for example, their email address! And with every algorithm update, Google continues to insist that reliable, resourceful content is the best way to generate organic traffic and improve rankings.
A robust resource center creates a great user experience, and provides a host of SEO opportunities. But if you’ve ever browsed a resource center — especially a mammoth like those provided by Velocity or Motorola — creating one can start to seem like an impossibly huge task. Fear not: the right strategy and inspiration will get you launching your own in no time.
Last week we covered inspiration when we toured six of my favorite online resource centers, and examined pros and cons of each, so this week let’s talk strategy. Building a good resource center is like building anything else that you want to stand strong over a long period of time, and under heavy usage: you need a solid structure and high-quality materials.
Putting together a resource center that actually drives leads means starting with the right structure. Before you start creating or curating content, commit some structure considerations to paper.
Structure navigation for the user’s needs, not by content type. Your user isn’t going to click through thinking, “I need an ebook.” They come with specific questions or pain points to address. Topical categories are much more effective in your primary navigation than content-type categories (such as Webinars, Case Studies, etc.). If you’re not sure where your users are starting, consider a few clues:
A little testing here won’t hurt either. If you gamble on a topic and discover after a few months that it’s getting far fewer clicks than the others, swap it out for something else.
Yes and no. Ungated content is crawlable, which makes it really good for SEO. The more ungated content you provide, the more content Google can find and index. Gated content, however, generates precious leads. For most business, the right approach is a mix of gated and ungated content. Gated content generates leads, but it doesn’t do much for SEO!
When you do gate your content, be sure to include specific, unique, and compelling descriptions of that material on pages which Google can index. Landing pages for gated content can still rank and earn SEO traffic, if approached properly. When thinking about ungated content, build authoritative figurehead resources for the important topics in your industry. Consider Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How questions. We have found that a detailed “What Is…?” article about the most important keyword in your industry is often the quickest route to Page 1 rankings.
Keep URLs short, clean, and descriptive of that page’s content. And avoid those pesky URL parameters!. Good: www.domain.com/resources/title-of-a-reasource Bad: www.domain.com/resources/category/sub-category/resource-title Good: www.domain.com/resources or www.domain.com/answers Bad: www.domain.com/resource-center?category=your-category&sory=most-recent
Once your strategic foundation is in place, don’t just line the walls with every blog post the brand has ever produced for the sake of volume.
If you want resources to rank well, build content strategically for each of your target keyword + user intent combinations. Don’t simply write about the same one or two keywords over and over.
Visually appealing content earns more engagement and more shares, significantly increasing its SEO value.
Most markets are flooded with resources saying the same thing. Be sure that you have something new or unique to say about each topic you take on.
Demonstrate the value of your content with social proof: Share buttons with share counts are easy indicators of the value of your content. Also ask other leaders in your industry to review your material – a handful of short testimonials will go far.
The goal is not simply a re-collection of old blog posts and PDFs that you have laying around. You’re creating a centralized location that will define your company’s unique expertise for the whole world to see, with resources to eventually answer every pain point your audience may have.
Hosting and organizing a library of resources on your website can be an SEO goldmine, but it’s not a push-button strategy. Organize content for the user’s needs, mix both gated and ungated content, make it sharable – and get started! No resource center ever starts perfect.