The keys to high search engine positioning (free) are regular relevant updates to the content, providing the information for the search engine robots in a clear way and links between similar relevant sites and pages.
The first can be done more easily through a mix of updates and collaboration. The core articles about the organisation are likely to be unchanging. News is always an issue where the rate starts high and tails off – particularly where dates have been applied. The key is to start out at a pace that you know you can maintain. Plan to have a routine for updates and perhaps link to a summary newsletter. When prospects and client know there is likely to be something new on a routine, they may be tempted to book mark and return.
Beyond simple news and achievement articles you could consider forums and blogs. Both increase the level of interactivity and the search engines will be looking at all this content as well. Blogs can be content hungry so again keep them short but updated at a routine frequency. Blogs and forums can be linked, within the content, to articles in the main body of the site, so a problem highlighted can be linked to a solution you have. If this is done in a “knowledge sharing” manner within a business community, it will hold greater import and credibility.
Customers in the digital environment like to feel they are in control of the developing relationship. They will initially visit the site to browse for information (for free) and they believe they are anonymous. If they believe there is a benefit and the company is reputable, they can be persuaded to hand over limited contact details in exchange for an information update or report. A frequent pitfall is to ask for too much information too soon. Draw the client in a stage at a time, perhaps with just the first name, surname and email to start in exchange for a newsletter.
At a later stage the client can be offered a specialist report download in exchange for increased personal information. The Free-rein solutions can be provided with an integrated database (mini CRM) that allows you to build the information held and carry our detailed tracking and profiling – probably suitable further along the brand rebuilding path.
We have a number of techniques for helping create stickier sites – particularly where there is a sound block of content. Standard cross references on “people who read this also read this”, “articles on the same subject”, “similar searches” etc can all be built in and automated. These are simple rules that can cross reference other articles, media content, forums etc.