Talking Business-to-Profit

Know what your online visitors are looking for.

KAs promised in my previous blog “How to make SEO sexy? Think SXO.“, I’ll zoom in on 4 key questions that keep every marketeer awake at night (sic). Today, I’ll share some tips and tricks how you can find out what your visitors are looking for on your website. And I take it one step further by answering that one million dollar question: “How does Google know?”

Focus-on-visitor

More than anything else, SXO is about the overall experience for a searcher, and that experience starts the moment they enter a search query. The better their experience with you – from your search page result listing (SERP), to the quality and relevancy of the content on your site, to the ease with which they can move through your site – the more you make out of every SXO effort.

So what is that ‘experience’ primarily about?

Simple. It’s about giving answers to questions.

Ask questions, provide answers

Previously, marketers used to obsess over ideas like keyword density, meta descriptions, and link profiles. They had everything down to percentages and numbers and it all made sense when it was placed into an excel sheet. But how on earth was a website that was built from data on an excel sheet supposed to appeal to a human being?

That’s the problem the search engines set out to fix. And you need to accommodate the changes they’ve made.

Specifically, you need to think about your website visitors at every stage of your web design and marketing process. And this can be done easily with a series of question and answer audits you can ask yourself as you’re creating your marketing campaign.

For instance, if you’re designing a web page and you’re wondering how to make it appear in the Google search results, you should start by asking what your customers are typing into the search engine. This sounds rudimentary, but think it through for a moment. Previously marketers would optimize for terms such as “snow tires”. But search habits have become more semantic and people are no longer typing in general terms, but rather they’re asking questions.

Thus, the search term “snow tires” has evolved into, “what are the best snow tires for a 2008 Ford F150?”

And it’s the companies that are answering the questions for their customers that are starting to win in the search engine rankings. So, stop fretting over how many times you mention the keyword in the content you’re writing on the page, and instead start asking yourself what your customers need help with.

The impact of Google’s new search engine results page

How many of you have noticed a changed in Google search engine results page (SERP) recently? Well, everyone who is thinking of leveraging on SEO must have noticed that now the Google Adwords shows 4 Ads (the paid results) on top. The right side ads on Google search page have disappeared and there are 3 more paid Ads in the bottom. These changes in Google SERP are already impacting the SEO and digital advertisers. And it will impact everyone who is keen to go ahead in digital marketing and content management.

Here’s what changed:

SERPS-november2011-changes.jpg

Of course, the change is set to bring more ad revenues for Google. It is also a wake-up call for everyone who has not taken optimizing their content seriously. Do you need to panic? First think of this…

Ranking for what?

“I’m sure we all remember those ‘Guaranteed to get you to #1 on Google!’ ads. But they never said what for. Rather than obsessing about ranking, be useful — then your readers will bring about more consumers because they’ll share your stuff.”

Studies of clickthrough rates and user behavior have shown that searchers favor the top search results — particularly the top-three listings. However, it’s also been shown that on subsequent pages, being listed toward the top of the page shows similar click behavior. And with search results now being appended with rich text/snippets, results that appear below the top-three search results are getting much higher clickthrough rates.

Even before all of that was applied, rankings did not guarantee success. Theoretically, you could rank quite well for a specific keyword, get tons of traffic, and not make a dime from it. Is that what you really want? I don’t think so.

This is a big misconception — that higher rankings mean more search traffic. It is true that people will see your listing, but it does not mean you will get more click-throughs. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. You do not have the correct keyword strategy because you are trying to rank for keywords that are unrelated to your field.
  2. Your meta descriptions are not appealing and inviting for the user.

Which brings me to the next one million dollar question: “How to make smarter use of meta descriptions and keywords?

You’ll get the answer in my next blog, so stay tuned.

Can’t wait? Contact us now to get started!

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