According to Jill Kocher Brown of IBM iX, content which focuses on the benefit of the entire community interested in a niche (instead of just shoppers) will earn the valuable backlinks necessary for SEO growth. In her article on Practical Ecommerce, she argues for providing community-centric, educational content because it will be widely read, shared, and linked to which, in turn, will lead to higher rankings and higher sales from natural search.
Search engine optimization requires a unique blend of relevance and authority. Relevance is more easily mastered, but authority requires the community of people that is interested in the things you sell to take action.
Currently, my company (Orion Telescopes & Binoculars) has over 600 articles, over 450 videos, and over 1,900 astro-images (obviously a medium/genre somewhat unique to our industry) which we have added to the community sections of our English-language websites (our German and French websites are not currently as robust in terms of content) and also within the path to purchase. We have consistently worked hard at adding this content to our websites and we believe it not only helps us from an SEO perspective but also brands us within our industry as a go-to resource for educational content.
Jill’s article is a good reminder of why we do this and why we need to redouble our efforts in this area.