In today’s digital world, it takes more than your standard marketing tactics to reach consumers. With so much information coming from multiple directions and numerous companies to choose from, you have to go above and beyond to stand out. In particular, you have to specifically cater to the user or the consumer rather than playing a numbers game to simply boost sales.
Furthermore, Google, the most popular search engine, is built and used by people. It utilizes an algorithm that attempts to match human intelligence and understand human thinking. In short, it’s people-driven. As a result, your SEO strategy also needs to be people-driven and user-focused if you want your content to successfully rank on Google.
SEO is somewhat of a numbers game. But when developing your strategy, your customers should be at the heart of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Simply focusing on the metrics as opposed to the people can result in lackluster content that fails to connect with your target audience, which isn’t helpful when you’re trying to rank well, boost conversions, and increase sales.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at why a user-focused SEO strategy is so important and effective, as well as how you can develop a strategy that is more focused on your users and consumers.
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Previously, marketing tactics were simply focused on the best way to make a sale. Companies held all the power because there weren’t as many options to choose from, so they didn’t have to try as hard to convince consumers to buy their products. Marketing was about telling customers why they needed this product or service and why they couldn’t live without it.
Today, those kinds of sales tactics won’t cut it. There are so many brands and products to choose from that consumers now hold the buying power. This has resulted in a shift in how consumers interact with brands and what they expect from them.
Customers now hold the power in this relationship, not the other way around. Of course, customers still need things, but when they have so many choices, it puts companies in a more vulnerable position.
As a result, they can’t just tell a customer that they need their product; they have to show the customer why their product or brand is better to encourage the consumer to choose them over another brand.
Because of this, we are now living in what is called “The Experience Age.” Since consumers hold all the power, they can make more demands. They want brands that provide them with better experiences.
Buying and selling are no longer just about the transaction. When the customer can get what they need from a million other places, you have to provide them with more enticing experiences that make them choose you as their go-to brand.
But what does that mean exactly? How do you turn something that is traditionally just a transaction into an entire experience?
The answer is consumer-focused or user-focused content. Instead of developing an SEO and marketing strategy that’s focused on simply making the most sales possible, you need to be focused on creating the best experiences possible to connect with your consumers.
Consumers today want to be wowed. They want authentic, transparent brands that feel more relatable and connect with them on a personal level. Customers already know what they want; they don’t need you to tell them. They need you to show them. They want you to prove to them why your brand or product is the best.
Proving the worthiness of your brand requires a winning SEO strategy that is user-focused, helps you connect with consumers, and shows that your company sees them as more than just a transaction.
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When building an SEO strategy, it’s easy to overcomplicate things and lose sight of what matters — your customers. SEO is complex, but it’s important to avoid getting caught up in the numbers of it all.
At the end of the day, the numbers aren’t what matters. What matters is who your customers are, what they want, and how they feel about your brand and what you provide. Still, it’s helpful to understand the building blocks of SEO before diving right into developing your user-focused strategy. There are essentially four main pillars of SEO:
- Technical SEO is primarily concerned with ensuring your content can be crawled and indexed by search engines. It doesn’t matter how good your content is. If it has technical issues and search engines can’t find it, your content will never successfully rank.
- On-site SEO is concerned with the content on your own website. It’s about ensuring this content is optimized to rank for certain keywords so it can reach your target audience and drive traffic to your website.
- Off-site SEO is about building authority and making sure Google stacks things in your favor. This is often done through link building.
- Content is king, as they say. This is what you will use to connect with your audience, provide them with the answers they need, and help them find what they’re looking for.
Content should be your focus when you are creating a user-focused SEO strategy. It’s how you’ll wow your customers and provide them with the experiences they’re looking for.
Below are some tips for creating a more user-focused strategy:
Step one of any SEO strategy should be to research your target audience, so you understand then, their buying habits, and what they want from your business. If you don’t know who your customers are, how can you expect to reach them and influence them to choose your brand over another?
It can be helpful in this stage to use mind mapping to help you get a visual of your customers and how they think. For example, you can create user personas and map out what the user's customer journey might look like when they interact with your brand or what their general buying journey might look like.
The keywords you use in your content can also play a critical role in whether or not your content reaches your intended audience. As part of the initial research phase where you are attempting to better understand your target audience, you should also conduct keyword research to find out what keywords resonate the most with your customers. With the right keywords, you can optimize your content so it’s easier for users to find what they’re looking for.
Another important aspect of any SEO strategy is making sure your website is accessible and user-friendly. If your website doesn’t have a good UX (user experience) design, it can be off-putting to your customers. If your site is difficult to use, it may deter people from making purchases or choosing your brand in the future.
You must create a website that is easy to find, easy to navigate, and easy to understand. If your website is slow to load, isn’t searchable, and is difficult to navigate, you will likely end up losing customers, even if your content is good.
When it comes time to create your content, make it as personalized and customized as possible for your customers. The more your customers can connect with and relate to your content, the better experiences they will have with your brand. They may be more likely to become loyal customers that continue to shop your brand and recommend you to other people.
To do this, your content should speak to your customer's wants and interests. It should feel authentic and transparent, not like a sales pitch. And most importantly, it should be as unique and diverse as your customer base. If your content doesn’t reflect who all of your customers are, it will fail to engage and attract them.
Good content includes more than just text or copy. Your content should be highly engaging and even interactive. This means using things like video content, webinars, and live stories on social media.
Users have much shorter attention spans, so you need to entice them to engage with your content if you want to wow them. Don’t just hit the “post” button and be done with it. Interact with your customers, respond to their comments, and host live videos that are interactive and immersive.
To create user-focused content that attracts your customers, you have to be where they are. And today’s consumers are highly active across numerous channels.
Don’t just stick to your website or a single social media platform. Use multiple marketing channels so you can expand your reach and grow your customer base.
Of course, the key to any successful SEO strategy is measuring your results and monitoring your rankings to ensure you’re on track with your target goals. Just because you think you’ve created good content doesn’t mean it’s actually working.
It’s important to audit your website and gather metrics from each place you’re publishing content to get a comprehensive view of your performance. This will help you see what’s working, as well as what isn’t. From there, you can make any needed adjustments to get better results.
In the fast-paced, digital world, everything is about the experience. People have heard, done, and seen so much at this point that they have grown numb to basic information. Now, you must provide a customer with a quality experience if you want them to choose your brand.
Ask yourself, what are you doing to focus on the customer? And what more can you do to provide them with better experiences? The more you focus on their wants and needs, the more you can grow and expand into a more successful business.