SEO – search engine optimization – is something very few know a lot about. When we speak with business owners, most think it has something to do with keywords, content, and ranking high in Google. They assume it has to do with coding a website correctly, so it shows up where they want to be. They know they need SEO if they’re going to be first in the ranking of their choice.
But they are missing the bigger picture.
SEO isn’t about you – it’s about your customer. It’s about the people you hope to attract to your site. It’s about being in the search engines when your ideal customer looks for answers.
SEO is all about your customers – it has little to do with you.
Are you scratching your head right now? Don’t worry. Read on, and you’ll discover the real reason you should be paying attention to SEO. And if you understand nothing else about SEO, this tutorial will help turn your focus where it should be – on your prospects and customers – and will put you way out in front of your competition.
Get to know your customers
One of the first questions we ask a potential client is: Who is your ideal client? And we cringe when we hear: Anyone who is breathing.
Your ideal customer isn’t “any female between 30 and 60” or “a married couple with kids”. If you’ve ever defined your customer with a phrase or two and left it at that, you’re missing the most crucial part of SEO.
SEO dives deep to determine who your specific customers really are. The more you get to know them, the easier it is to target them.
Think about this for a moment: Who is an ideal client? Picture him or her. Think of a name. Describe her. How old is she? What are her interests? What goes on in her daily life?
The deeper you go, the better the picture. And as you dig deeper, you’ll start to see ways you can target this person on a completely different level.
Think you can market better to “Anne, a thirty-seven year old nurse who is married with two kids in grade school” better than you can “any female between 30 and 60”?
Diving deep allows you to really understand your customers’ needs. It helps you see things differently, look at the products and services they use, and understand where they hang out during their busy lives. Instead of “guessing” if they use Facebook or Instagram, you know.
Understand what your customers want
If you’ve dug deep into understanding who your customers are, you’ve probably discovered that you have a variety of customers at many different levels of buying. In general, you’ll find a customer is in one of five stages:
Awareness – they have a need and are just starting to understand what that need is
Research – they jump onto Google and start plugging in keywords to find possible answers to their questions
Decision – they finalize their decision and are ready to buy
Purchase – they push the button and hand over their money
Post-Purchase – this is confirmation stage, where they ensure they don’t have buyers remorse, continue to research to use the product or service better, or stay aware of the company they have chosen to do business with
If you’ve thought about your ideal customers and have developed personas for multiple different people, you can probably start plugging them into the above five stages. Depending on where they fall will determine what they want from you.
For example, a person in research mode may prefer to remain anonymous, maybe provide an email address in exchange for a free report. Or they might like to dive deep into your blog, reading several articles to find out what you’re all about.
But a person finalizing their decision is ready for action. They want to talk to you. They want connection. Their goals and needs are going to be drastically different than at other stages.
Define their pain points
You know those tiny questions that pop up along the way as you’re ready to invest in something new – they usually start with a: But …
But what about a different color?
But what if I don’t really need this?
But what if I regret my decision?
But questions can build up in a customer’s mind to where they don’t finalize the purchase.
If you define them, you can answer them in many ways. That’s what your blog is all about.
This gives you a chance to address their pain points and provide answers that lead back to you being the perfect solution. By anticipating their needs, you calm their fears. And you can do so in many ways.
If you understand your customers and know what they want, you can transfer your answers into many different methods. Blog posts can be shortened into posts on Twitter, or condensed into images for Instagram. You can create a 7-day email class, or offer a free report by signing up. You can generate click buttons to talk with representatives.
The possibilities are endless once you discover your audience really is.
Always consider user experience
This is the part most people get wrong. Have you ever been to a site that still puts SEO first? You see keyword mumbojumbo everywhere, and you question whether they are actually using common sense?
Yep, they are still using old SEO strategies. That was when design and user experience was separate from SEO – the goal was merely to get eyeballs onto a site. Because the internet was still a clunky experience, people forgave the messiness that came along with it.
That’s gone. People want a user-friendly experience first, and they could care less about SEO. In fact, it turns them off more than they are willing to ignore it. All they can focus on when they click on sites like this is: “They need to come up with the times.”
Your job as a business owner is to work with marketing companies that understand new-world SEO. They realize things like title tags, keywords, and metadata still is important, but it takes a back seat to ensure the best user experience.
By understanding what your customer wants and needs, you can develop the right landing pages, the right content, the right marketing tools, and the right social platforms to meet your customers’ needs.
What’s your SEO strategy?
Before you develop your SEO strategy for the coming months, you need to first get into your customers’ heads and determine who they are and what they need.
You shouldn’t be creating content or an ad “just because.” If you haven’t given it careful thought, now’s the time to change that around.
If you start crafting your strategy and channeling it in a smart way, the end results will be more beneficial for you for a long time to come.