Optimizing content for the semantic web isn’t a single action – it involves a series of steps that improve a site’s odds of appearing in SERPs. Google will show how-to videos, in-depth answers to questions and other info-rich media it determines that they’ll be helpful to users making specific queries. The latest addition to semantic search results offers an excellent case study for how this kind of optimization can be leveraged for quantitative content marketing results.
Instructables: Building a solid sales pipeline
Recently, we’ve been noticing more SERPs that include step-by-step instructions for certain tasks. For instance: The search “make french toast” produces the following info card:
Those instructions are relatively straightforward and might help someone make french toast – but most searchers would want a little more detail. Because the info card is so prominent, there’s a good chance visitors will click on the link – which takes them to instructables.com.
Funneling toward sales
Instructables.com is filled with how-to articles and step-by-step instructions about how to perform a variety of activities, from making crafts at home to improving the range of Bluetooth-enabled gadgets. It also involves a partnership with Radio Shack, and many articles that involve relevant products that could be purchased there are linked to the site’s ecommerce pages. There is even a dedicated section for projects that require items for sale at Radio Shack.
Additionally, Instructables.com is owned by Autodesk, which is a large seller of enterprise and personal software. Other how-to articles discuss software and computer know-how, giving Autodesk a great deal of branding (and possibly ecommerce traffic) simply because its web property appeared prominently in relevant SERPs.
How-to: Increase qualified traffic
Brands that worry about info cards scraping their information miss the point that these semantic search elements lend credibility to content. Prospects who are most likely to make purchases want in-depth information, which can’t really be expressed succinctly in SERPs. Semantic data for content about recipes, detailed industry histories or explanations of complicated processes will give warm leads the level of detail they want. The real challenge for brands is making sure that their content is seen first, which means optimizing with the latest tactics to keep up with the evolving web.