By MICHELLE THOMPSON
Digital Marketing Strategist, Crawford Strategy
301 redirects. Title tags. CPMs. Have I lost you yet? If you aren’t in the search-engine marketing field, you likely have no idea what these terms mean. To you, it’s just jargon.
As a business professional, the use of industry acronyms and colloquialisms can quickly become second nature. However, it’s important to remember that customers are not necessarily thinking or searching in those same terms. Here are a few basic tips to ensure your website speaks to your customers, rather than your peers, and gets found in online searches.
Develop a customer mentality
Think about your customers. How much do they really know about the products or services you provide? How likely are they to be familiar with product IDs or industry acronyms?
Search engines like content that is relevant and offers value. If your website does not contain content that clearly speaks to your customers, they will leave. When this happens, it can be particularly harmful to how search engines view your website.
When a customer finds a webpage through an online search, visits that webpage, and then quickly leaves without taking any action, it is known in the digital marketing world as a “bounce.” Search engines see bounces as a sign that a webpage is not offering quality content. Enough bounces, and a webpage will begin to lose rankings in search results.
Keyword research is key
It’s not enough to simply guess how your customers are thinking. You need to do your research. Google offers two different tools to gain insights into the exact words or phrases your customers are using (known as keywords or key phrases).
The first is Google Trends . With Google Trends, you can see how interest is trending for keywords over time and drill down into data on a granular level. Not only is this a great tool for gaining insights into how your customers’ thinking progresses over time but also it’s extremely useful for coming up with timely blog posts.
The second is Google’s Keyword Planner, a free tool that is great for comparing the popularity of industry-specific terminology against common terms. In order to use Keyword Planner, you will first need to have a Google AdWords account. However, you do not need to create or run any paid campaigns to use the tool.
With Keyword Planner, you have the option of typing in your own search terms or having the tool crawl a webpage on your website (or a competitor’s website) to come up with ideas. You can then get the average monthly search volume for all keywords and phrases in your list.
Pro tip: The higher the monthly search volume is for a keyword, the more competitive it is and the harder it will be to rank in search results. If you are just starting out, avoid going after broad or competitive keywords, which are difficult to rank for. For faster results, focus on gaining ground for keywords specific to your products or services and where competition is lower.
Once you understand how your customers think and search online, use that information to create unique, relevant content that contains the information they are looking for and answers their questions. If you can do this, you will be well on your way to having a website that both search engines and your customers love.