As a strategy for driving traffic to websites, SEO is nothing new. Yet there are more uses for it than just that. Done well, SEO enables businesses to best reach target customers and accompany them along their journeys. As marketing initiatives, SEO and customer experience (CX) need to be interlinked.
We’ve put together this guide to using SEO to help you align them and ensure your customer experience hits the mark.
What is an optimal customer experience like?
In a world of multiplying consumer choice, the importance of customer loyalty continues to grow. How can savvy businesses step up their customer experience game and set themselves apart?
SEO efforts must be in service of empowering customers and enhancing their experience at every touchpoint. Why? Because Google prioritizes websites that deliver intuitive and appealing user experiences.
What is the correlation between SEO and a better customer experience?
On-page SEO can boost your client’s Google rankings. But it won’t matter unless you make it easier for customers to find you and get their questions answered. When your CSAT score (customer satisfaction score) falls, bounce rates go up, and any high SERP rankings will soon drop.
Ways To Use SEO For a Better Customer Experience
To stand a chance of emerging on top of SERPs, marketers need to deliver a streamlined CX that powers and is powered by SEO best practices.
Produce Content that will Guide the Customers to the Right Solutions
Yes, high-quality content is king. Yet, your client’s customers can spot search engine manipulation a mile off. Content that cannot answer queries will receive short shrift.
You can use analytics tools to create a fresh flow of content focused on search intent and direct customers to the solutions they need.
Customer journey mapping helps marketers curate content that resonates at each stage of the shopping experience. Consider how you format and categorize content into headings and subheadings to improve scannability and help customers focus on the client’s offering.
Enhance Site Speed to Help Create a Positive User Experience (UX)
Having a fast and responsive site is a significant factor in the algorithmic search rankings. No surprise there. Not even the best content and SEO strategy can save sales if a slow-loading website means quicksilver customers can’t get anywhere in a hurry.
The solution is clean code. Remove unnecessary redirects, use caching, and pay attention to web hosting. Test with Google PageSpeed and shoot for loading speeds of two seconds or less to keep the bounce rate low and customers happy.
Aim for a More Mobile-friendly User Interface
The number of unique mobile internet users and searches we undertake from our devices is soaring. For this reason, mobile-friendliness is just as important as page speed. Like Etsy, you can make your client’s site mobile-friendly by avoiding flash elements and minimal horizontal scrolling. Users shouldn’t expect to zoom out and pinch in. Instead, responsive design automatically adapts to the device screen size they’re using. Local businesses can perform web app testing on any apps to identify local issues that might be affecting growth.
Strategize the Use of Interlinks
Site architecture is also intrinsic to helping customers discover content. Building visible links to other pages on the site will redirect users to less-popular content, driving views and reducing bounce rates. Contextual and intelligent internal linking is the key to successful on-page SEO because it helps search engine spiders rate the importance of particular pages, including updated web pages.
Google prefers pages with a good dose of internal links; the trick is fitting them into relevant content naturally. User-friendly site architecture can help customers find your client’s products, for example, a business phone system, boosting click-through rate, and conversions. Meanwhile, marketers can reap the rewards of higher rankings for SERPs. Make sure you get rid of any broken links that could frustrate users and detract from the holistic user experience.
Promote Customer Reviews
Consumers trust the personal recommendations of fellow shoppers over corporate advertising speak. So, proactively collecting customer reviews is crucial to generating user engagement and capturing attention.
Marketers can be assertive in asking for authentic customer feedback, as long as a business ticks all the customer experience boxes. Give customers a day or two before approaching with short and simple survey forms. A quick pop-up asking for a review will do. It doesn’t hurt to sweeten the deal with promotions or discounts (provided you check the review site’s guidelines on this first), nor following up with a reminder or two. Respond graciously to reviews, good and bad (see: how to respond to negative reviews).
Businesses can amass enough positive reviews and a healthy average to feature in Google’s rich snippets. Featured snippets are preview text, which shows up in SERPs below individual results. Because Google wants to highlight what it deems the most relevant and useful pages, and people prefer to click on results that provide more information, rich snippets have a higher click-through rate. To gain one, embed the structured data in the site.
Beyond the insights on how to take your customer experience to the next level, customer reviews attract Google’s attention and can boost your client’s SEO.
Get Updated with the Latest Social Signals
If used correctly, social media can be a profitable channel, where providing the best customer experience is taking care of your client’s SEO. Just as customers look favorably at businesses that seek feedback, they’re leaving it on social media and using these platforms to engage with brands.
Integrate keyword-rich hashtags to posts to get more eyeballs on your client’s products and services. Keeping up-to-date social media profiles also helps brands rank highly in search results and brings more visibility and traffic to content.
Content that hits all the right notes reigns on social media, so share it to grow your audience. Include blogs with good backlinks, diversify your output, and deploy the right visuals. Content that speaks to their pain points will elevate brand awareness.
Develop a More Organized Knowledge Base
A comprehensive knowledge base enables self-service, shortens shopping journeys, and can be a cornerstone of great SEO.
Categorize documents in a way that allows for instant problem-solving. As with all content, keep it readable and crisp, using anchor links in longer articles. Simple, informative how-to titles rarely miss. Also, a logically organized knowledge base signals that your client cares about optimizing UX.
Optimize Customer Experience for Local Businesses
For brick-and-mortar businesses, serving local communities is their bread and butter. Yet, local SERPs should be a key area of focus for local and ecommerce businesses trying to improve online rankings. Online customer experiences can also complement physical stores.
Besides listing their name, address, and contact details on their website or landing pages, businesses serving multiple locations should create separate product pages for each area. That way, they’ll appear in long-tail SERPS for specific locations.
Businesses can establish a robust local SEO presence by forming co-marketing partnerships with non-rival companies that have overlapping target audiences. Swap content and online mentions for each other to start off. If you tap into partnerships in more depth, an affiliate network script can help businesses build a network that generates sustainable profits.
Ultimately, a proper local SEO strategy helps customers discover accurate information when they need it and drives more foot traffic to local businesses.
Strong SEO will ensure your client’s site ranks near the top of the search engines. But you won’t stand a chance of achieving your marketing goals if you restrict your thinking to churning out backlinks and keyword-stuffed content.
Given the technical complexities of SEO, it’s easy to miss the wood for the trees sometimes. And, while no one can predict the algorithms’ next moves, nothing levels up the customer experience like a marketing calculus that gives ample attention to both SEO and CX.
Follow our guide to using SEO for better CX, and customers that stick around longer and contribute higher lifetime value surely await.