Knowledge Base SEO Guide (2021)

So you have a knowledge repository to address customer queries, and you’re hoping to reduce FAQs and deflect tickets. 

But the reality might be a whole world away!

Your customers just aren’t coming to your support center.

When was the last time you ran into an issue with a product or service, and your hands did not instinctively start typing Google? The same goes for your customers. There are high chances that they would be looking for answers on search engines instead of your knowledge base.

Here’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes into play. Optimizing your knowledge base content for SEO can help you position your support center content properly within the search results. 

In this guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to optimize your knowledge base for SEO and tackle the latest changes in search algorithms to rank up your knowledge base articles.

What is Knowledge base software?

A Knowledge Base is an online self-serve library of information about a product, service, topic, or department that is used for customer support, retrieval within an organization, or for the general public.

Why optimize your Knowledge Base for SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of optimizing a web page or a website to increase the quantity and quality of traffic from a search engine’s organic results. 

Help customers find answers

It doesn’t matter whether your existing customers know how to find your website. And it doesn’t matter how easy it is to navigate your website and help center.

Chances are, they’ll still go to Google to look for answers, and if your knowledge article is not ranking on Google, your customers will not get to hear your version of the answer to the query.

Optimizing your knowledge base for SEO can ensure that you rank #1 on search engines for your current customer queries.

Attract new customers

Optimizing your Knowledge Base for SEO helps your existing customers and enables you to reach new customers. 

How?

In addition to niche topics for your product, you’re probably going to write some general tutorials. For instance, if you sell a WordPress plugin, you’ll have specific guides for that plugin, but you’ll also need a general article like “how to install a WordPress plugin.” Hence you not only educate your current customers, but you also help attract organic traffic to know about your company and the services offered.

SEO for your knowledge base is a win-win!

Enable proactive rather than reactive support

If you have built your knowledge base to provide links to the relevant articles only when customers seek help, you are underutilizing an important resource.

Customers like to find answers on their own and save time whenever they can. SEO-ready knowledge base ensures that customers or visitors get their answers right when it’s searched.

Create better content structure and user experience

Optimizing for SEO involves good content structuring of the knowledge base for web crawlers to find your content. This, in turn, helps in easier information retrieval and better experience for the customers. 

Serve a targeted audience

The internet is full of information, and search engines like Google or Bing try to get the best query match after crawling and indexing billions of web pages. Knowledge bases are designed to address specific queries and rank higher for long-tail keywords if SEO optimized. 

How to build an SEO-ready Knowledge Base?

With search engine algorithms changing rapidly, content creators should be aware of any major or minor changes they need to incorporate to rank in Google search. Making your knowledge base SEO-ready is no rocket science, but there are still many small elements, all of which need to be perfectly arranged for your SEO to succeed.

Following are well-researched tips that gear towards making your knowledge base more friendly to Google’s robots and readers. 

Let’s get started.

Your aim should be to work for your clients’ larger goals rather than working for rankings. By following the tips on this list, you’re not sacrificing the helpfulness of your knowledge base. You’re just making it easier for all types of visitors to find your content.

1. Keyword & Search Intent Research

You might be thinking that keyword or intent research isn’t a knowledge base thing. But getting an idea about the volume of keywords and the user intent closest to the topic can help you rank a lot higher. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind while keyword research:

  • Customer feedback is an important source of keyword research. Use it to address any gaps or missing topics in your knowledge base.
  • Next, simply type search terms into Google and look at suggested related searches at the bottom of the page to get an idea of highly searched keywords/phrases.
  • If you search for “knowledge base” and can gauge if people type “why use a knowledge base” or “how to build a knowledge base,” wouldn’t it make your KB article a lot more targeted? There are many tools available (like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SEMRush, etc.) for this purpose. Your marketing team might already be using it.
  • Use a mix of short-tail and long-tail keywords to rank for both kinds of queries.
  • Pick a primary keyword and some secondary ones to use throughout your knowledge base article. “knowledge base software” and “support center” can be used as secondary keywords to “knowledge base”.
  • Keywords should be included in any video and image descriptions for Google to know what’s in an image or video.

2. On-page Optimization

What goes into a web page is not just human-readable content. There is communication running in the background in the form of tags with the search engines. On-page optimization involves optimizing meta tags, Page URL, internal links, and media.

a) Meta tags

Meta tags are areas in HTML code that contain information about your website or knowledge base. Meta tags are a quick and effective way for Google to read what’s on the page. Therefore you need to take care of the following tags (title, description, and hreflang) on your knowledge base article:

Page title

If you have clicked on a search engine result, then you have seen a title tag. It’s simply the headline that appears on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). However, you can change the title tag and have a slightly different article title for your knowledge base.

Pro tip:

According to Moz, “title tags are the second most important on-page factor for SEO, after content.” 

Some tips to optimize your knowledge base title:

  • Keep the title short. Limit it to 60 characters.
  • The title tag and headline can be different, so make use of this and make the headline more descriptive and keep the title short for easy readability on SERPs.
  • Give a sneak peek at what value a customer would get through your KB title.
  • Append your brand name after the title tag like this “Title – Company Name”.
  • Make sure you don’t have any duplicate title tags.
Description

Meta descriptions get displayed as snippets in the search results. While meta descriptions won’t help rank a page, they will often appear as the text snippet below your listing.

Tips to improve meta description:

  • It adds value to the reader and should be written to encourage searchers to click on your listing.
  • Include necessary keywords in the meta description; there are chances that the keyword mentioned in the meta description gets highlighted if the search query matches the keyword.
Hreflang

Google is a global search engine, and so languages play a part in reaching the right audience. If you have a multilingual help center, then you will need the hreflang tag (also referred to as rel="alternate" hreflang="x")that tells search engines which language you are using on a specific page. So it can serve the most relevant result to users searching in their language.

b) URLs

Having a clear and simple URL for your Help Center is paramount for better crawling your content by search engines. Sometimes if there is no fixed pattern to URLs, there are chances of missing out on a few articles.

Following is an example for having a clear URL for your knowledge base:

Having a clear and simple URL for your Help Center is paramount for better crawling your content by search engines. Sometimes if there is no fixed pattern to URLs, there are chances of missing out on a few articles.

Following is an example for having a clear URL for your knowledge base:

https://domain-name.top-level-domain/path

The path can comprise of id+slug, where id is the article number and slug can be the article’s title.

c) Adding internal links

As the name suggests, internal links are a practice of linking another page of the same domain from your KB article. Anchor tags help in internal linking.

Including internal links makes it easier for search engines to “crawl” your knowledge base. It also prevents important information from being buried under a mountain of other resources, pages, and tutorials. 

Interlinking is especially good for knowledge bases where the content is inter-connected. 

Here are the benefits of having internal links:

  • Builds your domain authority. The more good quality backlinks, the more the authority.
  • It makes it easier for search engines to crawl your entire knowledge base.
  • Adds relevant anchor text to pass some authority to the other pages in your knowledge base. That gives those pages a slight boost in the search engine rankings.
  • Provides value to the users by helping them find related content on your platform. 

d) Optimized media

An effective knowledge base includes engaging media that makes your information easy to digest. Search engines love the use of videos and images, so including well-optimized media will make your SEO even stronger.

Having product screenshots can understandingMake sure to optimize your images by including a descriptive alt text and adding keywords to the image file name. On-page SEO can also be improved by publishing transcripts alongside your tutorial videos.

3. Sitemap

Sitemaps are a longstanding SEO tactic. Humans don’t care much about them, but robots provide an easy way to understand your articles’ hierarchy and relationships.

Sitemaps tell search engines about updates to a page, the frequency of updates, the relative importance of pages within a website, and how to find and index content that may be found deep within the site’s structure.

If you have a well-branched knowledge base, xml sitemaps can help Google index all the articles appropriately. While choosing a knowledge base provider, make sure to automatically create a sitemap for you to submit to Google Search Console.

4. Structured data/ Topic Clusters

It’s always good to be thoughtful about how to structure your knowledge base before building one. A topic cluster is a way to organize related content to make it easier for users to find it on your site. For example, you may organize tutorials by content type, category, or by-product. This makes it easier for visitors to find answers about a particular product or service in one place. 

Making your article structured is also equally important. Content should be broken down as headings, subheadings, numbered lists, etc. wherever required.

5. Improve Page Experience

Google’s latest algorithm update has put light on-page experience for boosting search engine ranking. Following are the key aspects to optimize your KB to improve Page experience.

a) Mobile SEO

Every one of us is aware of how mobile screen time has increased over the years.

And you might miss a huge chunk of traffic to your knowledge base or website if it isn’t mobile-ready.

Tips to improve mobile SEO:

  • Make your knowledge base mobile-responsive. This includes making the text readable, making the buttons easy to click, and making it simple for navigating the platform even on a small screen.  
  • Improve mobile site speed. You can use Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool to determine how your site looks on mobile and any mobile usability problems.

b) Page load

Google has indicated website speed as one of the factors used by its algorithm to rank pages. Slower page load means that search engines can crawl fewer pages using their allocated crawl budget.

Page speed is also important from a user experience perspective. Pages with a longer load time tend to have higher bounce rates and lower average time on page. 

Here are some ways to increase your page speed:

  • Enable file compression to reduce the size of your CSS, HTML, and Javascript files.
  • Optimize your code to increase your site speed.
  • Reduce redirects. Each time a page redirects, your visitor faces an additional wait time for the HTTP request-response cycle to complete. For example, if your mobile site loads like the following: “test.com -> www .test.com -> m.test.com,” each of these redirects makes the page load slower.

c) UX

User experience includes the user interface and other factors like mobile readiness, page load times, etc. 

Competition is high, and you need to make sure that you provide a great experience to the user after landing on your knowledge base. The knowledge base should be well structured and interactive. Search engines can only look at the bounce; they cannot see why. UX could be one of the reasons.

d) Safety and Security

An unsecured website risks the safety of the users and could be throwing a wrench in your SEO. Search engines can pick up on this spam and could blacklist your site. Security helps protect your knowledge base’s integrity so that you won’t be penalized because of hackers.

 Tips to improve security:

  • Make sure you switch to HTTPS domain distinction
  • Avoid link building through unknown sites and secure your site so that hackers cannot hack your website through link building.

6. Share on Social Media

Agreed you are making all the efforts to expand your reach through search engines. But another popular way to educate your audience is via social media. 

Your customers and their network all of them use social media. If your customers engage with your Knowledge base article shared on social media, it can boost the page views and click-through rate (CTR), all of which play a part in SEO.

Key Takeaways

Knowledge bases were created with the idea of documenting the knowledge about a specific product and helping customers with FAQs. In this post, we explored the other side of using a knowledge base – SEO strategy to improve search ranking.

We covered the why and how of making the knowledge base SEO-friendly with examples and simple tips in this guide. These tips will also help you evaluate the best knowledge base software that can help you with SEO.

Want to see how a great SEO-ready knowledge base software looks like? Head to https://support.happyfox.com

Thinking to build something similar? Book a demo with our product experts today.