How-To and Buyer Guides: The Real Value of Advisory Content For Internet Marketing


How To Influence Others

How-to guides, buyer’s guides and instructional videos can be an effective content marketing tactic for online retailers.

How-to guide is one of the most likable and shareable type of content for readers. It targets specific audiences and if the guide is specific and credible enough, the company will gain positive reputation and a lot of shares in social media. In today’s post, you will find some good examples from ecommerce sites and show how effective they can be.

What are how-to guides?

In this context, the how-to guide is the content on retail websites which offers useful advice for visitors. This may be help with product selection, advice on finding the right fit for clothing, or practical advice on how to fix something. This content works on-site as it addresses possible customer problems, where solving them may mean more sales. Off-site, this kind of useful content can attract visitors to you site through search. If you’re addressing common issues and concerns, then your potential customers may well be searching for solutions.

Why should we produce how-to guides?

Yes, why bother? Well there are some good reasons to do it, including:

  • How-to guide helps to target long tail search terms. There are lots of them out there, just find the ones that match your product or service.
  • It attracts specific users with specific intent. Searches with phrases like ‘how do I fix a leaky faucet’ obviously indicate that the searcher has an intent to solve the problem, and may also indicate an intent to purchase the tools needed to complete the task. 
  • It’s highly likable and shareable. This content is worth the investment as it works over a long period of time, providing a useful resource for visitors and a consistent source of traffic from search and other channels. Content like video or written guides are likely to be shared around, increasing the reach of the content.
  • It helps visitors. If you can help them solve a problem, then it generates a positive feeling towards the brand. Even if they don’t make a purchase now, customers will remember this. 
  • It makes you look like an expert on your field. If brands can show their expertise in an area, it increases the customer’s trust in the brand and products. 
  • Video content can increase search visibility. Video results stand out in the SERPs and can help to give you the edge over other results. 
  • It can drive sales. If a customer wants to buy jeans but isn’t sure about sizing, a well-written guide can solve this issue and nudge them towards a purchase.

Some examples of great how-to guides

1. eSpares

This retailer has a dedicated advice centre. Its focus on video guides has paid off in terms of search results:


The video also gives the brand a presence on YouTube, where it has amassed more than 25m views of its videos. It doesn’t sell too hard, and concentrates on providing useful advice, yet the links are there for viewers that need parts. It also helps to establish the brand as a go-to place for such advice.


2. Home Depot

DIY is another obvious area for this kind of content, and Home Depot provides a good example of how this can work. A search around weatherproofing windows generally brings up publishers, blogs and DIY advice sites.

However, Home Depot has managed to rank here thanks to the content it has produced to help solve this problem.


It also uses autocomplete on its site search and serves up buyers guides and other advice for searchers:


3. Nordstrom

Now for an example from a less obvious sector. Nordstrom has a suit fitting guide, providing some useful advice.


The beauty of this content is that, in being useful, it also helps customers to find the most suitable product for their need. It helps to drive sales, and also ensures that, if customers can find the best fit, then returns are minimised.


It also works in the SERPs:



Helpful and advisory content is one of the great way to reach customers and improve the SEO at the same time. It takes some expertise, staff investment and resources to produce it, but it surely can pay off in a big way. For shoppers, especially those looking for more technical products like spare parts and DIY equipment, this content often exists elsewhere, on blogs and publishers’ sites.

So, rather than having customers find these resources elsewhere, it makes a lot of sense to provide them on-site where you can provide links to related products. The SEO value may well be worth it alone.