Though the actual execution of search engine optimization may be technical in nature—pulling data, optimizing keywords, link building — the why and how behind these actions is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle.
Why is one particular keyword outperforming the others 10-to-1?
How can we attract more attention with our ads?
Those answers go beyond numbers. There is a psychology to effectively incorporating a sound SEO strategy to your marketing plan. Understanding that psychology is key to any SEO success.
Here are five things to keep in mind when planning how SEO will boost your next campaign.
1. Who are your customers? Create personas.
One of the most effective ways to understand who your customers are and how you can tailor the right content for their needs is through the use of personas. These semi-fictional characters represent who you are talking to when you create campaigns, resulting in more personalized content that speaks to their needs.
What do they want? When do they want it? What motivates them to seek out products or services like yours? CRM data, surveys and other tools allow you to begin developing an idea of what type of people buy your products or use your service, but personas help complete the picture.
2. How are your customers searching?
The way we search is changing. People are becoming less likely to search those concise phrases compiled from Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner. Instead, they are starting to show a preference for longer phrases, as well as asking questions. With increasingly popular voice-to-text apps and location-tracking on phones, searches are becoming more conversational.
Instead of typing “Manchester NH car mechanic,” consumers may instead ask Siri, “Where can I get an oil change around me?” This will only increase as more searchers go mobile and use voice search. This new trend will encourage marketers to think outside the box and make sure they’re ready to answer these search queries.
3. What are your customers’ fears and pain points?
The search engine queries that are most likely to lead to a sale are the ones that focus on a problem. What dilemmas do your customers face? How do your products solve them? By identifying these issues, you can create optimized content that addresses them. When customers see how you create content that caters to their needs, they are more likely to buy.
4. Where are your customers in the buying process?
Consumers go through stages where they become aware of the product, research more, come to decide between a few brands and then purchase. Eighty-one percent of those people start their searches online before buying. By creating keyword optimized content for every one of these stages, you can meet consumers where they are and hopefully nurture them along in the process.
5. How thoughtful is your user experience?
Once a customer has reached your site, your work is far from over—will they actually stick around and read your content, or get annoyed and feel like they’ve been a victim of click-bait? You will not only lose a potential customer, but Google is apparently penalizing low-value content sites, as well.
Instead, make the experience tailored to the search, starting with landing pages that cater to your identified personas. Make sure they address your customers’ needs. Is there a form? Is it easy to fill out? What other calls-to-action could you incorporate? The more thought put into landing pages, the more customers are likely to engage and convert.
SEO that focuses on the minds of consumers and asks questions about their experiences won’t falter as much as SEO that uses shortcuts or focuses on search engine tricks. By thinking of SEO as a part of your long-term marketing strategy instead of a short-term technical tool, you can plan to enjoy far more search engine success.