Proving your technical content is the most important content on your website

In yesterday’s post, How technical content on the Web is turning traditional marketing strategy on its head, we discussed the importance of technical content to today’s marketing funnel. You might be thinking, show me more evidence.

Testing with Google AutoComplete

In their book “Content Strategy”, Rahel Bailie and Noz Urbina did some guerilla research into how often people searched for post-sales, technical, content, with regard to consumer technology. Using Google’s AutoComplete search feature, they entered a number of product names in to the search box and noted which common search terms Google suggested.

According to SearchEngineWatch.com, Google’s AutoComplete algorithm works to predict search queries based on indexed Web pages, your search history, and other users’ search activity. This means its results are personalised, unless you search using “incognito mode” or by logging out of Google, turning off customisations, as well as deleting your Web history and your Google+ settings. AutoComplete also generally makes only four suggestions.

For example, if we test this, using Red Gate Software’s SQL Toolbelt as our test subject, we get this result:

SQLToolbelt google autocomplete search

It only tells us that lots of people want to pirate the software.

Testing with Google AdWords keyword tool

A better way to research this is by using Google’s AdWords keyword tool.  When you enter a term or phrase, Google will provide a list of related terms based on search volume.
If we test this on Red Gate Software’s SQL Toolbelt, we get this result:

Google adwords search

We can see there’s a great deal of interest in learning about SQL, getting technical information to compare SQL Toolbelt with other options, and finding out how to build SQL queries. In this test case, most people want to learn, solve problems and compare possible solutions.

So if you’re not convinced your technical content is not important to your marketing, use Google AutoComplete and Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool to see what interests your prospective clients.

2 Comments

Roger Hart

Hi Ellis

Interesting stuff. With both my marketing and tech comms hats on, I’d agree absolutely that the AdWords tooling is a great way to get a feel for what users want. As is, obviously, Google Analytics (Advanced Segments, in particular, are handy for homing in on parts of your site or types of user behaviour).

I’m not so sure about AutoComplete. Or maybe I’m just not sure about the SQL Toolbelt – it’s an odd product, in that it’s a package of others with branding and positioning largely around price rather than use case. So maybe we’d expect results like that. Or maybe we wouldn’t. We should certainly take a data point like that and ask ourselves how we’d like it to be thought of, and that’s valuable.

But between there only being four suggestions, and the relative genericness of searches starting with just a product name, I wonder if we can get more value by being more specific. For example, typing “SQL Compare err” auto completes to commonly searched-for errors, and that’s something worth knowing.

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