Everyone in the marketing industry knows and predicts the fickle fluctuations of search engine optimization, but there might just be more of a meaningful strategy in terms of quality toward this living and breathing entity than what meets the eye. In the past, we have focused on keyword scores and relatable search engine results, which are both vital to the success of a brand or business’s Google ranking. However, there are a few avenues within these general SEO walls that can be outlined to improve the optimization strategy you are, most likely, already utilizing.
Ask and Listen
The first to be mentioned is the importance of capitalizing on the customer persona, which we (in marketing) get a good sense for with Google analytics, polls, A/B testing, newsletters and more. Even though these launched campaigns and strategies feel as though you are doing everything in your power to build and improve awareness and exposure, you can do more with this valuable database. The saying “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been” really encompasses it all here.
Find out directly from your current clients, that have already been established as “buyer personas” what makes them happy, or unhappy, or did at the beginning of the process; what works well for them as well as what doesn’t. Taking this beyond what your “target audience” would be considered, find out their interests in relation to your business or product by directly asking them rather than sending over a MailChimp poll or generalized email. Why did they want to buy a certain item? What turned them off from another? Not only will you gain a better understanding of who to target in the future and how to do it more effectively, but you will even build stronger relationships with the people you work with in the moment.
Quality Intent Is Everything
Words are just words until they possess meaning and optimization is no stranger to this belief. If you are interested in reaching beyond this advice to ensure good quality search results (as we hope you would be), focus on the quality of intent behind your content. Just as we tend to concentrate on someone’s intent when they are speaking to us, gauging whether or not they are truly and genuinely interested, the user does the same online. Outside of spending time hitting all of the keywords and reaching decent Yoast SEO quality, focus on what you are saying and what it will mean to your audience.
According to New York Times Best Seller Neil Patel, “What really counts isn’t just the keyword- it’s the intention behind a given keyword as it relates to the algorithm.” Basically, Neil is saying that regardless of executing a perfect 10 keyword match on a blog or article through SEO standards and although it may bring up the ranking of your business, it will never keep the potential customer engaged. One of the most important aspects of a site’s performance is its ability to keep customers on the page. Sure, you may bring them to page and initiate interest based on your optimization skills, but what is really going to sell them on working with you or purchasing your product is how relatable you are to them.
A Question and an Answer
When anyone types in something in the Google search bar they are asking a question and are expecting an answer. This is where most companies lose their stamina in addressing their customer persona, by not utilizing the specific searches beyond what keywords they see in front of their face.
Running specific campaigns through Google with different programs allows us to actually track what the users are typing in but are we truly looking at what they are saying? Great marketers will learn to read between the lines of these generalized searches in order to capitalize on what their customers are looking for. Search Engine Journal breaks it down as simply as this: “’Restaurant near me’ means ‘I am hungry, don’t want to cook and want to eat somewhere now.’” An adaptive and informed marketer that has restaurant clients would see this and apply the seemingly general inquiry to their site with “not in the mood to cook? Looking for something close and delicious? Try x ,y, and z.”
Care About Your Audience
To summarize these important points of marketing wisdom that really should never go out of style in the world of optimization, we will leave you with this: care about your audience. Have quality of integrity and intent behind the words that fill your site, understand who you are appealing to and learn who they are and what they want. Regardless of the ups and downs of the always-changing SEO market and the challenges it will continue to present your business, intent will never go out of style.