If you want to know one of the hottest buzzword in SEO right now, it is “knowledgebase.” Knowledgebases go by many different names, help center, community guide, resource center…websites that have knowledgebases are SEO powerhouses and I’m here to show you why, and how.
Knowledgebases have a huge impact on SEO, and here is why:
- They are essentially a mega-silo of content
- They greatly expand your websites architecture
- They have all the great evergreen SEO characteristics like keyword rich content, great interlinking, and permalink structured
Go to pretty much any major corporation and you’ll find a knowledgebase. Many SEO’s might think they exist for the sole purpose of ranking, but their purpose goes so far beyond that. Mega-corporations build knowledgebases to reduce customer support hours. It is much cheaper to tell someone “look it up on our website” or “check out this link …” than to spend time with someone on the phone helping them. It really gives new meaning to “faceless corporation.”
Uber has an excellent knowledgebase that both riders and drivers from around the world rely on for help. Uber really doesn’t want to deal with customer support, they would much rather you find an answer to the question you are looking for on their help site.
Uber breaks down their knowledgebase into several main parts:
- Partners (drivers)
- Eats (people ordering food)
My only complaint about Uber’s knowledgebase is that their permalinks are kind of ugly. An example:
Most other URL’s look like this as well. I don’t know why their URLs must have this cryptic ?nodeId appended to every URL, but it would look a lot better without it.
Uber’s knowledgebase is not only big, but it is very helpful. It is easy to navigate and also offers a search feature.
Digital Ocean is one of the most popular VPS hosting platform in the world. First and foremost because it has an easy to use platform, with quality servers, at a very low price. But their platform is driven by a very powerful and capable knowledgebase that they call Digital Ocean Community. Their Community is broken down into a few main parts:
- Tutorials – guides written by the community
- Currents – latest reports
- Questions & Answers – a forum
- Product Documentation
If you do a Google search for almost any VPS related keyword, chances are you will see a search result for digitalocean.com
Google Search Console Help
Google’s Search Console Help and Support page is so massive, it is easy to get lost inside their documentation. Almost every time I go to this part of their site, I discover a whole new section. Google is constantly adding new content to their site, probably on a daily basis. They are also very good about going back and changing information (text, images, etc) that is no longer up to date.
The only thing slightly confusing about their site is their branding. A few years ago they changed everything from “Google Web Master” to “Google Search Console.” Their is still a huge section of the support site with “webmaster” branding, some of it nestled under search console. So it is a bit confusing, but still very helpful. I can’t even begin to describe their hierarchy, it is very deep and very detailed.
Google’s text is easy to read, their images are high quality, and of course the site loads lightning fast.
But don’t be intimidated by this site, Google has a literal army of people working around the clock generating new content, coming up with new ideas, doing research on what people want, producing videos, and so much more.
TD Bank Learning Center
Like most major institutions, TD Bank wants to minimize the amount of support phone calls they receive. More phone calls means more money. So they really want you to use their learning center.
TD Bank has several main sections of their Learning Center organized into main categories. Getting help on their site is easy to navigate and searchable.
The NBA (Winner)
Not all knowledgebases are traditional help guides. In the case of the NBA, their knowledgebase is a full archive of players, teams, standings, stats and so much more.
In addition to this being a beautiful website, they’ve really beautified their content as well. All information is sorted using pristine tables, side navigation, high quality images, and complimentary colors. Almost every detail is hyperlinked to more information that in most cases leads to a YouTube video of game footage. You could get lost for hours in their data, which is exactly what any SEO or webmaster wants. The takeaway from the NBA: think outside the box when it comes to knowledge bases.
How can I implement a knowledgebase on my website? (for beginners)
If you are a small company just starting out, don’t get intimidated by these massive knowledgebases. Remember, all websites started with 1 page. Try to resist the urge of farming out your content and writing dozens of articles every week, unless you are a massive enterprise with 100s of locations and millions of customers.
Identify your subject matter
Example – dog groomer: articles about dog washing, cutting dogs hair, types of breeds, etc.
Example – roofer: types of roof, materials used in roofing, average length of job, tools used for the job
Example – clothing company: fit guide, wash and care, list of brands carried
Start with 1 category
Start with 1 category, and start writing articles or guides from most important to the least. I did this on our website over the course of a few months with our guide to learning on-page SEO. It is now one of the top ranking guides in the industry.
Once you’ve completed writing for the first category, move on to the next. You can always go back and write more on the first category later. Rinse and repeat, once you’ve identified enough categories your knowledgebase is now starting to form.
Develop a Hierarchy
This is probably the biggest decision you’ll make when it comes to your knolwedgebase. You really need to think about your keywords in terms of most popular to least. Pick the 1-10 main categories, and use that as your top level navigation. From there (if you need to) develop subcategories under each main category. Underneath that, you’ll have your articles, guides, FAQs and blog posts.
For a very basic site, the hierarchy might look a bit like this:
Stick to the main theme / design of your website. Don’t go changing up your brand colors or anything. A few tips for knowledgebase design:
- make sure the font is easy to read. that means big, but not too big
- use colors that pop off the page
- side navigation are hot hot hot right now, everyone is using them because they are easy to navigate
- make sure to implement a search feature, and be sure that it actually works and the search results look good
Don’t worry about knowledgebase software when just starting out, that can be very intimidating and leads to people feeling the need to.
Don’t go implementing an online forum unless you have the staff to manage it, or have enough traffic where people are going to use it. There is nothing worse than going to a website, seeing a forum, and then seeing zero or little activity.
That is it for now, we can go on and on about knolwedgebase features, tactics, methods etc but this should be enough to get you started. Good luck!