Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps your brand put its best foot forward by improving the entire customer experience from searching, clicking through to your website and ultimately making a purchase or inquiry. As the digital landscape changes, so do the SEO trends. But, by focusing on a few strategic, customer-focused areas, you can make both the algorithm and your customers happy! If you understand your audience, deliver fast, flawless functionality, leverage the power of Google’s tools and measure beyond the metrics, you’ll be one step ahead of your competition in 2019.
Here Are Four Customer-Focused SEO Strategies For 2019 To Jump Start Your Success.
Understand your audience and deliver an exceptional experience
Fast, flawless functionality
Leverage the power of Google’s tools
Measurement beyond metrics
Understand Your Audience & Deliver an Exceptional Experience
You can’t deliver an exceptional customer experience without first knowing who your audience is. We call this your customer persona, and there’s often more than one. As you begin to understand who you customer is, you’ll understand how to speak to them in a meaningful way.
Key customer persona insight should uncover:
- What types of content do they like? (video, infographics, photos, blogs, podcasts, etc.)
- Where do they spend their time online? (websites/blogs, YouTube, social media, etc.)
- What questions do they have?
- What are their pain points?
Once you have this persona information, you can apply it by providing quality content, including video and images that answer their questions and show how your products and services address their needs. Think of the full depth of questions– from a prospect who has no clue about your business, to a repeat customer looking for advice on existing or new products. Don’t overthink this one. Just start brainstorming! With your list of questions, then decide how it’s best to answer them. (blog, vlog, podcast, social media, etc.) Make it easy for them to find exactly what they need. This is often your first and only chance to make a good impression, so the user experience is critical. You want to be noticed and remembered for providing an exceptional user experience, so you can see why it’s so important to know who your audience is, so you can deliver exactly what they want.
Fast, Flawless Functionality
Let’s dive a little deeper in to the user experience as it relates to your website. In our “need it now” society, attention spans are short and patience is thin, so we expect to get our information fast and flawlessly, especially on mobile devices. In fact, with so many people using only mobile devices, Google now uses mobile-first indexing, meaning they will predominantly use the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking. In 2019, a responsive design simply cannot be an afterthought.
Speed and functionality considerations:
- Responsive web design and customization of design as needed. What works on desktop may not be suitable or make sense for tablets & mobile devices, so it’s not as simple as using one design and “duplicating” for mobile size rendering.
- Proper image sizes & tools to render images for various screen sizes (desktop, tablet and mobile)
- Testing your site’s speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool
Leveraging the Power of Google’s Tools for 2019 Success
Now that you know who your speaking to, where they are, and how they like to be spoken to, it’s time to reach them when and where they are searching organically. Google search works hard to understand the content within each page of a website, so it can deliver the most relevant and best quality results. By leveraging the tools Google provides, and utilizing their mindset, you position your brand as reputable and relevant and increase your ability to be found online.
Featured Snippets & Ranking for Position “0” with Structured Data Markups
By now, everyone understands that you want to rank on the first page of a search, and ideally in the first 3 positions, but what about “position 0” with featured snippets? Featured snippets, or “answer boxes”, appear on top of Google’s organic results, and aim to answer a user’s questions right away. Being featured means you appear first and get additional exposure. Featured snippets aren’t for every market, but if your company can benefit from providing fast answers to searches, then it’s worth structuring the data on your website accordingly as paragraph, list or table snippet.
Google Business Listing
In addition to verifying you’re a legitimate business, showing hours, phone and location, a Google Business listing has powerful SEO benefits. The more places your business is listed online, the better Google can understand your business. It also boosts exposure and takes up more real estate on the search results page. It captures attention and provides the information your prospects and customers need to take the next step. Finally, a Google Business Listing is imperative if you rely on local business doing local searches. “OK Google, what’s the best brewery in Green Bay”?
As we seek more automation in our daily lives, voice search is becoming increasingly relevant to marketers. Whether it’s Siri, Google or Alexa, we are using voice search to find the answers, products and services we need fast. Think about how we’re using more natural language in our searches. Would your website show up as a result? By anticipating the questions your prospects are asking, you can refine your keyword strategy to include more of these long-tail keywords being used in voice search.
- 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, per comScore. (Is it even a post about voice search if you don’t lead with this stat??)
- About 30% of all searches will be done without a screen by 2020, per Gartner.
- A predicted 55% of all households in the United States will own a smart speaker by 2020, per OC&C Strategy Consultants.
Measurement Beyond Metrics
Metrics are what it’s all about. How else do you know if your marketing strategy is working? While this is true, there is so much more going on beyond the “click.” A click is great, don’t get us wrong, but just because someone clicks through to your website it doesn’t guarantee he or she will stay there long enough to learn about you, become your customer or make a repeat purchase.
Measuring Beyond the Click
- Focus on driving engagement, in addition to just clicks. Blog comments/shares, newsletter shares, social comments/shares and inquires or messages are all indicators of success that your brand is getting noticed, talked about and remembered.
- Uncover competitive keyword data by doing reverse keyword research to see if websites like yours ar ranking for a targeted phrase. If the top search results are filled with review sites or directories, and your site isn’t one of those, then move on to another phrase.
- Understand that the omni-channel nature of marketing doesn’t always take a linear path. For example, Randy may may see a television ad that causes him to do an online search to learn more. His kids are acting up, he gets distracted and stops searching. The next day when he’s online at work, he sees a display ad you’ve set up to “remind” him that he was looking for you, so he makes a note in his planner for later in the day. When he gets home, he types in your website url and goes directly to your site to finish his research. So you can see that metrics can’t always be interpreted at face value. The customer’s journey may be longer and less linear than expected.
Each year brings new or evolving SEO trends, and as we look to 2019, it’s a great time to evaluate current SEO techniques to make sure that your efforts are smart, measurable and customer-focused. SEO is a science of patience and persistence, which is why most companies hire an expert. Check out our blog on when to hire an SEO expert or these great articles from other industry experts on the Top 10 SEO Tools for 2019 and 10 Important 2019 SEO Trends You Need to Know.