With the digital revolution happening over the past decades, a lot has changed in terms of the way we function. Every single industry that we know today has been impacted by this revolution.
Marketing being no exception has also seen great changes. The traditional forms are slowly becoming obsolete and are being replaced by the online marketing methods. One of the popular online marketing methods is SEO.
It has single-handedly assisted in bringing all the companies to a level playing field. In the world of SEO, only one thing prevails- the user experience. The website or the product which provides a better experience to the user and follows fair SEO practices will end up on the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and as they say, marketing is all about visibility. The more visibility, the more chances of gaining profits.
The Human Side of SEO
A lot has been already said and written about SEO, it’s updates, how it works, best practices, etc. However, let us focus on the intention behind the SEO practices and the human aspect of it.
To start with, what are SEO practices? why are they practiced, whom do the companies invest on, what is the purpose behind it? The answer will always come down to “people”. Eventually, regardless of the fancy tools you use, the advanced techniques you follow, you always have to come down to one basic question, who is going to purchase our product? What value are we offering to the said individual?
“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
– Damon Richards
The User Experience
Clearly, it all boils down to user experience and customer satisfaction. If that is taken care of, trust me, everything else will fall into place. This is exactly what Google is focusing on. The updates like Panda, Penguin etc. have all been rolled out with one singular objective- enhanced user experience. To make sure that the search results come up with the most relevant and helpful content possible.
There is a reason black hat SEO practices are frowned upon in the realm of SEO. Here, the focus is solely on the quick outcome and not on the value that will be derived out of it. Google was quick to recognize the same and tried to clamp down on any such activities.
So, let’s get to the objective here, its “people”. The better we understand the personas and try to address their issues; the more value it is going to add to the content. The question that arises now is, how? How to go ahead with the process? What does Google think about the SEO practices? SEO definitely is not about the tools, keywords and the technical know how. It is about the valuable content and how the customer derives complete satisfaction from your blog or website.
The process of value addition to your content can be divided into the following three parts. Which is exactly what Google wants from the SEO practices.
Try to understand who your end user is. Get a hold of stuff like, am I actually being of any value to the blog visitor? Who is this person? What does he like? etc. It all boils down to the building of personas. If you understand your end user and his psyche, half the SEO is taken care of. Especially in the field of marketing, there are a thousand other websites trying to sell similar stuff to the visitor. Why should he choose you above the others? In what way are you being of any help to the individual. The process of understanding this pattern is the key here as you are focussing on the deeper aspects and not just focussing on the sale. Once the customer acknowledges the fact that you are trying to help him, he’s more likely to get persuaded than diss you.
“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize themselves.”
This can be done only with the assistance of quality and helpful content. This was the reason behind the Google Panda update in 2011. I personally know a number of websites whose fortunes came down crashing overnight. A lot of websites lost their credibility and were handed with heavy penalties. All because they lacked quality content.
There are a number of other websites and some of them with great credibility, offering solutions to the customer. The question that arises again is why should he choose you? Imagine you are writing on a tried and tested topic like “What is SEO” which has been attempted thousand times. Now there is a high possibility that if the user wishes to read about the above-mentioned topic, he will go to the more popular websites. This is where your uniqueness comes to the fore. Instead of writing on the same repeated topic, write about something that is actually providing some value to the user. Write on how SEO is going to benefit him (based on the personal research). It’s the uniqueness of your content in that niche that gives you the leverage to stay ahead in the Google’s listings and be visible.
You see your visitors having a persistent issue? Act on it. Try to resolve the issue. It’s the personal touch that is going to generate a great outcome. Your empathy is going to lend you a great credibility. Create content that is problem-solving and educating. Create content that you feel is going to bring a certain change in an average visitor at your website. Remember there are numerous other websites trying to sell everything to everyone but not many that would help someone. Creating a brand would ensure a great organic crowd to you and assist you in your SEO goals.
If Google Were a Person.
Let us for a moment assume that Google is your average guy. What exactly has he been trying to do with the whole algorithm updates and the penalties on “thin” websites? What would Google say if we asked what he thinks of SEO based on his actions?
The answer would be simple. The SEO is less on the technicality and more about psychology. The better we understand the user base of that particular niche, perhaps create quality and helpful content, the better the rankings. There is no equivalent to gaining honest credibility for your website and the statistics out there, they don’t beg to differ.
After the “Panda” update in 2011, Google sent one message quite loud and clear- it’s the quality and credibility that matters nothing else. Below we have compiled and simplified the list of Google’s 23 guidelines that were published in 2011to build a quality website.