How to Complete a Buying Guide Content Gap Analysis

To be competitive, e-commerce retailers need an understanding of the importance and influence of buying guides. With their potential to improve SEO rankings, increase traffic and create conversions, buying guides are a powerful tool in your marketing strategy. Even if your site already has an extensive knowledge base, there may be opportunities you’ve missed, called content gaps, that could make your company’s buying guides more effective.

What is a Buying Guide?

E-commerce sites use buying guides as useful information to help consumers make authoritative decisions. For example, if an individual needs a space heater, a buying guide on that topic can outline the various types of space heaters available and the pros and cons of each. As a retailer, you have the opportunity to provide your customer with objective, useful and unbiased information that helps them make an informed purchase. Buying guides lend credibility, foster trust and position your company as a brand authority. Details like product and technology comparisons, specifications, and customer reviews lend further credibility to both your business and your content.

The SEO Value of Buying Guides

Buying guides allow you to share specialized information. They also provide a unique opportunity to embed crucial keywords which drive traffic to your site. Buying guides give you the space you need to create a long article with a variety of keywords relevant to a specific topic. Using the space heater example, targeted keywords such as “infrared space heaters” and “energy efficient space heaters” can pull in customers searching for those terms. Buying guides therefore serve a dual purpose: Positioning your company as a trusted authority on a number of different products, and greatly improving your search engine rankings. To get the most from keywords:

  • Ensure 1-2 percent keyword density
  • Space out keywords evenly; no more than one keyword string per 100 words
  • Use keywords in H1 and H2 headers

Buying Guide Content Gap Analysis

Product links are crucial ingredients in your buying guides, moving potential customers from discovery to purchase. Properly embedded, buying guide links can persuade a casual reader to invest in a targeted product. To promote conversions:

  • Verify that all product links are current
  • Perform regular keyword updates to existing buying guides
  • Remove any broken links
  • Archive older material if it’s still relevant
  • Include embedded links to other articles on your site

Buying Guide Tone

Buying guides should be neutral and impartial. Avoid using marketing language. While it’s acceptable to embed links to specific products, be careful not to promote any one brand or technology. Infographics, charts and tables which compare different types of products are extremely helpful and engaging. Any calls to action should be subtle and should only come at the very end of the article. Use conversational language and a knowledgeable, friendly, supportive tone.

Buying guides should present neutral information. Neutrality helps the customer make a personal buying decision which does not feel influenced or biased by your information. Focus on the benefits of different products. Define and demystify unusual or foreign technological concepts (this is extremely important with consumer electronic pieces, like external hard drives, laptops, smartphones, and computers). Avoid comparing brands and, instead, define the features and operational elements for each product category. In the space heater example, you might discuss safety elements, the different types of heating technologies, and the effectiveness of various types in large or small spaces. In doing so, you never have to complete a side-by-side brand comparison, which ensures that the information stays neutral.

10 Buying Guide Tips

The outline below provides a good basis for writing clear, concise and relevant content for your shoppers.

  1. Create a Title using the phrase “Buying Guide”
  2. Introduce the topic in a clear manner
  3. Make sure the buyer knows early on that this isn’t a marketing piece
  4. Attract attention with bold H2 headings that include relevant keywords
  5. Write distinct sections that cover different topics
  6. Educate and inform, don’t market and sell!
  7. When possible, use third party statistics and charts
  8. Create infographics, charts, and tables that illustrate product differences
  9. Include a list of benefits or advantages when applicable
  10. Include customer reviews and testimonials thoughtfully

Buying guides are one of the most important elements of your content marketing plan. They reinforce a trust relationship with your customer and brand you as an authority in several product areas. Creating a consistent knowledge base marks your site as a go-to for current and future customer purchases. Identify content gaps in your buying guides to increase the overall performance of your site.

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