Once upon a time, SEO or search engine optimisation was all about using tactics to make a website more enticing to search engines. Today, it’s all about the user experience – you might even call it “search experience optimisation.” Search engines, particularly Google, aren’t looking for websites that are perfectly optimised in terms of keywords, meta tags, and tons of inbound links. What they are looking for are websites that deliver the information and value that users expect and deserve!
There are two things that are actually king online today, the customer, and content. Essentially it’s a matter of giving potential and existing customers what they want; it really is that simple.
Implementing sound SEO tactics doesn’t generally provide super-fast results, but is critical for medium- to long-term success. Yes, thorough keyword research is still required. After all, without keyword optimisation, targeted results could not be delivered to those searching for particular information, services, or products. However, focusing on keyword density and stuffing meta tags are things of the past.
Companies who want to enjoy higher search engine ranking and increased visibility can accomplish these goals by keeping the customers’ needs first and foremost. Here are a few key tips to keep in mind when it comes to SEO:
Focus on a memorable customer experience. For those who use the Internet to search, it’s all about “me.” Customers are looking for quality solutions to their problems, answers to their most pressing questions. Ultimately this means your content must be fresh, informative, and engaging – so good your visitor is not compelled to go in search of your competition. Should your content include keywords and search terms? Absolutely, but used in a way they flow naturally into the content, and never forced.
Before you create content, be sure you know how your target audience is searching. What keywords are driving traffic to your website? Google analytics used to provide these answers, but this isn‘t totally true today given that many search terms will come back with “not provided.” If you use Google Adwords you will still be able to identify new keyword opportunities via impression data, or you can use Google Webmaster tools or Yahoo/Bing to better determine how your audience is searching. It’s also vital to know your target market intimately, who they are, what they want, where they hang out online.
Understand the role of social media in SEO. Social media has grown exponentially over the past few years; when you deliver an exceptional experience to users, it can be shared with hundreds or even thousands of prospective leads and customers in a matter of seconds! Google also “listens” to social signals, using these shares, pluses, and re-tweets in determining which websites are really delivering what customers want and expect. Focus on value; get into your customers’ minds, determine what it is they really want, and deliver.
Be aware of how search is changing. While keywords are still critical, it’s important to be up-to-date on search engines and how they work. Search engines are becoming more “human” all the time, and those in search of products, information, or services are becoming less technical in terms of how they search the Internet. Make sure your content is crafted in a way that meets both keyword queries, and longer, less technical queries. For instance, if your company focuses on iPhone repair, those two words should be included in your content. However, your pages should rank highly should someone key in a search such as “Where can I get my iPhone repaired” as well. Basically, people are becoming more relaxed in the way they search, so create your content accordingly.
It all comes down to the fact that today, SEO is not about focusing on search engines, but the customer experience. As the old saying goes, “The customer comes first.” Never has this been more true than for companies who promote their goods and services online!