I had a meeting with a potential client last week. He is a CEO at a small company that develops CMMS software – Computerized Maintenance and Management System. His software is used by major airports and it is considered a leader in the janitorial software market. He saw my advertisement about SEO and reached out to see if I could help his company reach higher place on Google search. We had a great meeting and scheduled a follow-on meeting in two weeks where I will be presenting overall marketing plans with SEO at the center.
If you ask any real SEO professionals, not the amateurs, they will tell you that SEO is really about providing the best user experience to your site visitors. And I do not mean user experience as in technical term – UX Design, User Interface Design, etc. I mean the overall user experience your customers go through once they arrive at your site and leave the site.
How Google knows that and how it incorporates that into their algorithm is a $500 billion dollar question. But given that Google has so much data about us, our websites, website visitors, our past browser history, it’s not surprising that they are able to figure out which sites provide the best user experience. Big SEO companies like Moz attempt to break it down but it still is a guess based on research and data. Nobody will ever know the exact formula.
So if SEO is really about providing the best user experience, how do you do that with your website? Well, by having the right content and delivering it effectively.
Having the Right Content
You should foremost understand that your web visitors are coming to your site for the content – to learn about you, your company, and your products and services. Content is the most important element of your website. Write well and get to the point. Write with your audience in mind. I’ve seen some people writing about how best their product is and how its long list of features are so awesome, not really understanding their customers’ real needs and challenges.
I’ve also seen businesses contracting out the content writing to people who haven’t worked in their industry. They do it just for the sake of creating content and inserting keywords. They may be able to trick search engines to think that the content is highly relevant in their industry but will fail to create true followers. And search engines will eventually find out that your content does not engage real users.
If you do contract out the content writing, make sure that you are fully involved with the writer. You should come up with the topics and should always review the content before it is published.
Delivering the Content Effectively
How the content is delivered is pretty much everything except the content itself. It includes having the right images, and videos sometimes, to emphasize your key points. It includes providing good aesthetic, i.e. your overall branding that the content is included within, making site faster and mobile responsive, and simplifying your navigation and content layout.
I want to spend a minute here and talk little bit about site speed because it’s one area that you can easily improve but overlooked by many people. I have seen so many people who are new to the digital marketing and website management and use GoDaddy as their hosting provider. My recommendation to those people is choose a premium hosting provider. It may cost you a few dollars extra per month but there is a reason why it is a premium. If you have a WordPress website, consider WPEngine. For Drupal or custom websites, consider Pantheon or Digital Ocean. The difference will be huge and it will really help with site speed and, ultimately, SEO.
Someone once told me that a great website is invisible – you are in and out of a website after getting what you need and don’t even notice anything else. But you will unconsciously remember that site and come back and back in the future. If any one of above areas gives negative experience, they won’t come back.