The white paper is a tool that businesses have used for decades to present customers with an authoritative document that presents a specific view on a topic or a revolutionary solution to a complex problem. Over the years, we have learned that there are other ways to utilise white papers. UK companies, as well as those across most of the world, can go above and beyond printing white papers and distributing them to customers by publishing them online for SEO purposes, producing what we know today as SEO white papers.
My company (Connotations) offers a white paper writing service capable of transforming a proven medium into a very useful SEO tool. We have written numerous white papers covering a broad range of topics, both for the company website and for the sites of our customers. In so doing, we have learned some crucial things about how to effectively use white papers for SEO purposes.
SEO White Papers – Start with the Basics
The usefulness of SEO whitepapers begins with the basics. As with any other form of online content, the white paper is subject to the same kinds of scrutiny search engine algorithms apply to blog posts, advertising copy, and so on. Thus, we start with the fundamentals of SEO from the perspective of search engines.
Using Google’s standards as an example, choosing the title of a working white paper is critical. The Google SEO guide explains that document titles tell both search engines and readers what a document is about. So choosing a relevant title that actually summarises content is very helpful. We then use that title on the white paper itself as well as in the title tag of the webpage where the white paper will be published.
Other basics include:
- using brief but descriptive titles
- making use of the meta-description
- using the document title to create a unique url
- creating a white paper that is relevant and useful
- using the right balance of keywords and phrases, in the right volume
- making use of authoritative links to similar sources.
These are all things that apply to the actual creation of the content on its eventual page. But using SEO white papers goes beyond the basics of search engine algorithms. It extends to how your readers perceive the information you are providing.
A properly constructed SEO white paper presents readers with a problem or challenge, proof that the problem or challenge exists, a workable solution, and reasons demonstrating that the issuer of the white paper possesses the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to apply a satisfactory solution. In short, the white paper establishes the issuer as an authority on the question at hand. This offers tremendous SEO value.
How do you establish your company as an authority using SEO white papers? Companies Connotations has work with have used their SEO whitepapers to:
- address an industry topic no one else is addressing
- detail a solution no one else is offering
- provide a launching point for additional blog content
- explain the benefits of a particular solution
- explain how their solution is superior to the competition.
By designing a white paper to do these kinds of things, the issuer is giving customers a reason to inquire about the products and/or services that the company offers. It is a lot like falling ill while you are out and about, and having a doctor approach you to identify himself. As soon as you know he’s a doctor, you instantly want to know what can be done to help you feel better.
Using SEO white papers drives web traffic which, in turn, impresses search engine algorithms. When information in a white paper is presented correctly, it also leads to referrals. Those referrals translate into social media references, link sharing, and even more traffic.
If your company has never looked at using SEO white papers, you may want to consider doing so. The white paper that presents your company or organisation as an authority within your industry can go a long way to improving SEO performance.