Do you know who Google’s target audience is? It’s not the millions of website owners. Google’s target audience is the billions of searchers. If you want top search positions — which help to increase your online visibility, traffic, and engagement immensely — you have to focus on those who would be searching for what your website might offer them.
Let’s break down what you need to focus on for strong search engine optimization (SEO) to work hand-in-hand with a great user experience (UX).
1. What topics are your target audience searching for?
“Content is King” was the SEO mantra 20 years ago and continues to ring true today. Give your target audience the information they seek in unique and useful ways, and they will come to you – with search engines helping to make it happen.
Google measures how engaged searchers are with your web page. Do they click on that search result and quickly bounce back to the search results page to click on a different link? Or do they stay on your web page? And better yet, do they explore your website further? Google rewards those web pages that perform best with engaging searchers with higher search positions.
Therefore, great SEO starts with developing content that engages your target audience. Identify what information they want and what format they want it in (blogs, videos, infographics, etc.). Do some brainstorming with your team. Talk with your customer service team to discover what customers are asking. What are the hot topics of your target audience? How would they benefit from or operate the type of product you offer? What is your vision of the future for your industry? Putting together effective buyer personas can help you create engaging content, which in turn provides great SEO and UX.
2. How do you make each topic obvious to searchers and search engines?
Start with SEO basics. Which keywords describe your content? Fully express your phrases as that is how they will be searched, because otherwise your searchers will receive irrelevant search results. Use the phrases in your page title, headline, body copy, and links. Since your meta description will be used in search results, compose an enticing description so searchers click your page.
Now take care of coding for search engines. Use header tags (<h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5> and <h6>) to code your headline and subheads to tell search engines the importance the keywords they contain. Make sure your code is clean and works across browsers.
3. How do you make it easy to use your website – both desktop and mobile?
The ultimate UX test is how easy is it for users to navigate your website whether on desktop or mobile. Use your website menu and critique it mercilessly. Can you easily find your way around the website? Is it structured with a logical hierarchy?
A clean website hierarchy benefits you with more search page real estate. Google Sitelinks, which are links to interior pages shown on search results, are selected by Google using automated algorithms. For Google to reward your website with Sitelinks requires you to have a well-organized website hierarchy.
Every bit as important is page load times. How fast your website loads is a significant algorithm factor for Google. This is especially important for your mobile website because Google now indexes mobile first. A slow mobile website will hurt your search positions. Use the Google PageSpeed Insight tool to grade the speed of your website. The Google tool will give you recommendations on how to speed up your website. A typical good place to start is to make your image file sizes smaller.
4. How do humans respond to you away from your website?
Google measures user signals beyond how searchers respond to your results on search. You want to extend your online reach and create engagement.
What are you doing to promote your content? Your content has to get out there for people to notice it. Do you post on your Google My Business listing? Do you do guest blogging? If you do guest blogging, do you focus on websites where your blogs are relevant, or post anywhere that will accept your content? How active are you on social media? Are you advertising online? Do you engage in email marketing?
Are users clicking your content? Are your headlines and images inviting engagement? You don’t have to go all clickbait, but give plenty of thought to your headlines and images.
Reviews are important. If possible, request reviews from your customers. Your Google My Business Listing is a great place for them to say how much they like your business. Facebook, Yelp, Travelocity and so many other websites post reviews and recommendations that Google indexes. Then be sure to respond to their reviews. A simple thank you works with your customers as well as Google. If they say something negative, then demonstrate you have great customer service and publicly work to correct the problem.
If you don’t have the time or resources to develop Great SEO, there is always E-Power Marketing to count on to get the winning job done for you.