One of the essential foundations for an internet marketing web presence is a company website with a solid investment in SEO. One question that often comes up when planning an SEO strategy is where to focus your optimization – on customers or search engines? In the past there may have been a trade-off in making this choice. However, now with more sophisticated algorithms modern search engines can understand and measure the kinds of factors that are involved in a great web experience for customers. In 2016 it is possible to optimize your website for both customers and search engines.
Mobile searches have grown exponentially over the past few years and this year mobile use of Google search surpassed desktop searches. Mobile responsive websites are not just a bonus for customers; they are an essential part of their experience with your business. A website that doesn’t work well can alienate more than half of your potential customers. It can also affect your visibility and traffic from search engines since results from poorly working mobile websites will often not be shown.
A website needs to be technically sound to avoid turning away customers or jeopardizing your SEO strategies. Issues like slow load times, broken links, confusing navigation, apps with glitches, server outages or outdated technology can cause a bad experience for customers who may abandon the site out of frustration. These kinds of issues can also seriously hurt your SEO efforts by sending negative quality signals that hurt your search rank. Technical issues can also cause search bots to incorrectly index important content or completely miss it.
The amount of information available to customers through the internet has greatly impacted the sales process. Potential buyers are researching your product and comparing with competitors so you need to make sure you serve prospects by giving them the best answers they search for. Performing keyword research to identify relevant topics and pain points, creating content that addresses customer needs and optimizing your website so that content is easily found and consumed can all help to better serve your prospects.
Once you have gained new customers through SEO tactics, you need to have ongoing customer service and support available to them on your website to keep them coming back. Using SEO can make customer service tools easier to find such as FAQs, instructions, or product tips and tricks. A bigger customer resource section on your website will help save money in the long run because it can take the place of paid customer service reps.
Since people don’t usually buy something the first time they encounter a brand it is important to provide content that will nurture prospects into customers. Providing entertaining blog posts, videos, or infographics as well as longer content like white papers helps you optimize across the sales cycle. Giving customers the information that they are looking for rather than trying to manipulate search engines can ultimately help to optimize your website for both customers and search engines.