How How-To Guides Can Raise Your Search Engine Rankings

Interactive Walkthroughs

Type in any search query into Google. Just below the ads, you’ll find the top websites for that keyword, and you’ll find that they have a few things in common: They’re easy to navigate and understand; they design user experience by delivering high quality, informative content that’s accessible to desktop and mobile browsers; and, they provide immediately actionable information relevant to search queries.

    1. Simple navigation
    2. High quality content
    3. Mobile-optimized
    4. Actionable information relevant to search queries

 

While two out of four of these factors are best addressed during the user experience design process, creating high-quality content with actionable information should be an ongoing task. Why? Because search engine algorithms are designed to measure the success of page rankings by observing how users engage with those results.

Does the user:

  • Click onto your site and immediately click off again? Then they didn’t find what they were looking for.
  • Click onto your site and stay a while to read your article or tutorial? That tells the algorithm that the user found something useful.

When users find useful information on your site, they stay on your site longer – which improves your rankings. With Google’s Panda update, the algorithm incorporated machine learning to separate “low quality” content from “high quality” content – rearranging no less than 20 percent of Google’s search results. Most websites that were demoted still haven’t recovered, but that’s not Google’s fault. Most of those are sites that didn’t emphasize quality or user experience in the first place and then floundered when those two factors began to matter.

If Quality is King, Useful Information is Queen

“Make great content” is the most frequently repeated suggestion in SEO, and it’s far easier said than done. However, ruling the rankings requires more than creating appealing, useful content – that content has to be paired with a positive user experiences throughout the site.

Site rankings depend heavily on user experience, which includes ease of navigation, website design, and mobile optimization, but is really driven by content. And not just any content. Content that answers a question, solves a problem, or has a real, immediately actionable use.

Social sharing is heavily weighted by search engine algorithms to judge the quality of content. People don’t share what they don’t like, therefore, what they share, they like – and that deserves higher rankings.

Enter the tutorial

Next to funny cat memes, tutorials are possibly the most shared content across all social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. They frequently rank among the best-performing blog content as well.

If anything, the internet is cluttered with tutorials, which means to win more shares (and higher page rankings), your tutorials need to stand out.

Successful tutorials require:

    • Information that matches a need
    • Clear, concise instructions
    • A simple but visually interesting design

 

Meeting these basic requirements isn’t quite enough to make your tutorial stand out. Adding interactive components, however, will.
Some companies employ user experience design tools like Whatfix to create tutorials on a wide variety of topics – ie. not just how to use their app, but how to do other tasks their target audiences need to accomplish. There are tutorials on how to “Check when your Facebook Page fans are online” or “Create an infographic to assess the impact of mobile advertising,” or even “How to get tab layout on Gmail.”

Add value

Tutorials not only have a higher potential to be shared, they also help you add value to whatever you are offering – which is a vitally important part of attracting and retaining customers. Moz.com, for example, offers a Free Beginner’s Guide to improving rankings and optimizing sites for search engines. Gimp.org offers nearly 50 tutorials for everything from simple graphics to creating icons from scratch. Offerings like this attract new customers and keep existing customers engaged and coming back for more. From an SEO perspective, they also increase time spent on site, another indicator of quality.

Many of our users love how Whatfix helps them get their customers off to a strong start using their products, or the how-to’s ability to reduce training and ease user onboarding, or even improve customer support. But some are leveraging our easy How-To’s to create tutorials that grab attention, generate shares, and contribute to the quality content of their websites.

The mission of a search engine is to connect people who have questions with websites that have the best possible answers. And what better answer is there than a step-by-step interactive tutorial?

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Nichole

Nichole

Chief Strategy Officer at @Inturact. Moderator at @ProductHunt &@GrowthHackers. Co-Founder at@GetTheCraft & @SaaSCommunity. Previously: Growth at @InboundOrg.
Nichole
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