SEO is often something seen as belonging to the marketing team, and it’s easy to see why: 57% of marketers report that SEO generates more leads than any other tactic. Just because SEO is producing huge returns for marketers doesn’t mean that other teams can’t get in on some of the action.
One of the aspects of business most subtly intertwined with SEO is the customer experience. Search is playing an increasingly important factor in how customers come in contact with and develop impressions of businesses, meaning that it’s a factor your CX team can no longer afford to ignore. If you’re wondering how SEO plays into the customer experience at large, here’s what you need to know:
1. Customer Guidance
Over half of internet traffic is now coming from search, meaning that a similar portion of your customers probably first find your business through a search engine of some kind. How do you know which pages they’ll end up on first? How can you guarantee that their experience with your site will be a productive one?
“SEO isn’t just getting your webpage ranked highly; it’s ensuring that the pages customers click on will guide them in the direction they need to go,” explains Jason Hennessey, CEO and founder of digital marketing agency Hennessey Digital. CX-friendly sites likely have a few landing pages designed to intake customers and guide them along. Make sure each landing page on your site is optimized for the right search so that anyone who comes across your business via search ends up right where you want them to be.
2. Maximizing Search Intent
Marrying SEO with CX isn’t just about picking up as many customers off the web as possible — it’s also about making sure that you’re funnelling in the right customers in the first place. If Subway simply pumped all of its money into blindly maximizing SEO, then its sites would appear every time someone tried to look at a map of the subway in New York City, annoying web users and alienating potential customers.
The workaround here is through maximizing not just search but search intent. Do some research to know what searches customers perform before they reach your business and make sure they’re all aligned with your regular operations. If there are gaps, close them by investing in SEO that promotes more specific, targeted elements of your site. The worst customer experience is the one that customers don’t even want to be a part of, and imprecise search optimization can lead to far too many of those.
3. Working Across All Platforms
Mobile is taking over, and businesses need to be ready to accommodate its users. A report from SEO agency Brightedge found that a whopping 57% of all web traffic comes from mobile usage, with Brightedge CEO Jim Yu explaining that search is also “moving beyond the traditional web and will soon incorporate augmented reality, alongside existing elements like podcasts and videos.”
The pages on your site that rank the highest when it comes to search need to be mobile-friendly. If they aren’t, potential customers who access them on their phones or tablets won’t be able to properly navigate them. That’s a user base simply too large for business to be able to ignore, making mobile an indispensable variable in the SEO-CX equation.
4. Accessibility Concerns
SEO isn’t just about promoting your site as hard as possible or dumping a critical mass of content onto it. Your site needs to be usable in order to rank highly, and that usability needs to extend to as many people as possible. Accessibility has fast become one of the cornerstones of the mysterious search algorithms, and yet marketers and CX teams alike have been slow to adapt.
Ruth Everett, SEO analyst at search auditor DeepCrawl, explains that big search engines like Google are “taking accessibility seriously, as they want to ensure they include the best sites in search results, and they deem accessible sites to be the best, as they are the easiest to understand and use.” Make sure your CX accommodates the largest number of users possible, and you’ll be rewarded with top-notch search rankings.
5. Site Speed
Site speed has a positive relationship with both CX and SEO. Customers gravitate towards fast-working, efficiently designed websites, and search engines are more likely to give top ranking spots to high-performing websites. It’s a no-brainer investment: make your site faster, and everyone benefits.
Unfortunately, boosting site speed isn’t something you can just snap your fingers and do. UX redesigns, server migrations, and back-end code optimization are all required to maximize your site’s speed. Even so, teaming up together to make it happen can produce payoffs well worth the price of entry.
For far too long, SEO has been treated like a world unto itself, a subject that only those properly dedicate can study. The fact of the matter is that SEO plays into almost every aspect of your business’s digital presence, and the sooner that CX experts learn and embrace this, the better.
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