How, When & Why to use
Reports are used for the in-depth presentation of information, which often includes unique and original statistical data. Reports that contain original and compelling data can act as incredible lead magnets in the first stage of a conversion funnel. Many websites put a lot of time and effort into creating visually stunning reports with well designed covers, page flow and images throughout and then offer the report as a downloadable PDF through their website in exchange for a visitors name and email address. While this is a good strategy for building a prospect database, it is a huge SEO failure because search engines are very limited in their ability to crawl and index information that is in a PDF. Therefore, it is critically important that all of the information that is contained within the PDF appears in HTML on the page.
Consider putting the content on the page in an expandable div that only opens once the visitor has filled out and submitted the form. A big download the PDF button should appear at the top of the expandable div so that the visitor can still download and save the report. Also, make sure to use proper pagination for the multiple pages. This change will allow search engines to understand all of the information that is being presented and will help your landing page actually rank well in the search engine results.
Features and Functions
The following list of features and functions should be considered when creating reports.
- In depth presentation of either new data or a unique way to present information on a subject that is popular with your target audience.
- Statistical data should be presented in simplified visual formats and discussed in written explanations.
- Analysis, insights and interpretations of data should be included.
- Reports should cross the line between presentation of facts and interpretation of those facts. However the facts and the analysis should be clearly separated.
- Include citations to data sources.
- Reports should be posted both as HTML and downloadable PDF’s on your website.
- Reports should be used as an incentive for visitors to give you their name and email address for additional marketing.
- It is better for reports to be emailed, as opposed to being downloaded from your website. This is because it will cause the user to accept your email, open it and download an attachment. Each of these actions will give the ISP signals that emails from you to that recipient are not spam and it will ensure that your future emails also reach their inbox.
- Unique and insightful reports can be great subjects of further marketing efforts including social ad campaigns, AdWords, Remarketing, Articles, Blogs, Guest Blogs and newsletters.
Make sure that each of the following SEO strategies is incorporated into your reports.
- Make sure the written content that appears in the HTML version of the report on your site is optimized according to the static content optimization checklist.
- Optimize all images and video that appears in the HTML version are optimized accordingly.
- Begin the HTML report on the form fill page, hidden within an expandable div so that it becomes visible once the form has been submitted.
- Incorporate contextual links whenever possible throughout both the HTML and PDF versions of the report.
- Utilize proper pagination for the HTML version of the report.
- Build backlinks to the landing page for the report.
Marketing, Syndication, Distribution, Social Engagement
- Consider writing and promoting blogs and a press release to support the report.
- Include the report in your newsletter.
- Promote the report on social profiles and in groups.
- Specifically reach out to industry thought leaders, social group leaders, bloggers and journalists and ask them to take a look at the report.
- Look for questions on Q&A sites and discussion forums that are relevant to the information in your report, add a comment and include a link back to the report.
- Add social bookmarks to the report.
- Make sure the report is added to sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon and AllTop.
- Consider creating a Squidoo lens and a HubPage with a summary about the report.