Could Building Free Tools Provide A Boost To Your Organic Search Performance?

· Digital Marketing

If you've been following the news recently as it relatest to Google's algorithm and the likes of the 'Helpful Content Update' (and subsequent rollout/test of SGE/AI results) then you'll know that publishing info content to capture traffic from organic search, and then turning that traffic into leads/sales is probably more difficult than it ever has been.

In almost every niche/industry, somebody with a Chat GPT account can crank out info-based content at the speed of light and compete with you. Google knows this, and so tends to be rewarding larger publishers with top ranking positions.

Although impacts on "real world" businesses haven't been as bad as what has taken place in the digital publishing world, there is still no doubt that the easy days of a business publishing heaps of long tail keyword-targeted content and raping massive rewards, are all but a distant memory if only due to the increasing prevalence in search of video results, forum results and so on. In other words, we have arrived a point of diminishing marginal returns for website content creation.

However, there is one 'untapped' category of content that is (thanks to AI) more readily creatable for a reasonable budget but which still has sufficient barriers to entry that most lazy AI content spammers won't bother with the hassle.

I'm talking about creating industry-specific tools and calculators.

For example, let's say that your business sells water tanks. There are almost certainly going to be prospective customers out there looking for information on what sized water tank to purchase, based on rainfall, water usage etc.

In fact, your sales team might already have some form of internal calculator or tool - e.g. an Excel workbook - that solves the customer's problem. Plug in a few numbers, spit out an answer ... and increase the chances of a successful sale.

I'd say that at least two thirds of businesses I work with as a digital marketing consultant have some form of "internal" tool/calculator/worksheet that serves the fundamental purpose of answering a question/solving a problem for a prospective customer (as part of the sales process).

Oftentimes part of the reason the tool is not made public is not due to any great commercial sensitivity, but because it will be something so rudimentary - e.g. an Excel file with a number of work-arounds - that it would be reputationally damaging to release it widely.

However, if the tool could be wrapped up in nice packaging it could be a great asset for both improving the sales process (by generating leads and/or reducing resistance) and also generating inbound traffic from search results, social media shares etc.

Once upon a time making this type of tool and releasing it publicly with a user-friendly interface would have required serious internal or external development chops.

Now, with the power of AI, you can conceivably be up and running very quickly indeed. Talk to ChatGPT, for example, and see how difficult it is to turn your industry-specific calculator idea into reality. You might be surprised.

If you'd like an example, here's one I built for fun - a free NZ GST calculator. Although that has no great relevance to my business, I just wanted to show the sort of thing that can be very achievable and doesn't need to be too complicated.