Can you avoid SEO?

If you think you can, here are two statistics that will help you make a better guess.

  1. 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
  2. 60% of clicks go to the top three results.

In short, you need SEO now more than ever, especially with the online market and competition growing at astronomical levels.

However, it is important to imagine your target audience as a single customer, with wants and needs that make them turn to the internet for answers. Your potential customer isn’t searching the internet with your carefully curated list of keywords in mind. Instead, your users have an intent, and you need to understand it.

To capitalise on this need, you have to understand the three types of intent:

  1. Navigational: the user is looking for something they potentially need
  2. Informational: the user is researching product information (this can include features, reviews, alternatives and so on)
  3. Transactional: the user is ready to buy a product

It takes six to eight touches with a brand before a customer decides to buy their product. That means you need to be interacting with the customer at each of the abovementioned stages. How do you do that?

Place yourself in the customer’s shoes:
As I said before, the customer isn’t searching with your list of keywords. Instead, they are often searching up words and phrases that mirror their needs. For example, if I’m looking for a new laptop, I might search for “lightweight laptop models.” Your keywords might not cover that need.

So think about what your target audience is looking for. Is it lightweight laptops, or an extra-springy mattress? What concerns would you have if you were searching for the same product?

Now that you have some words and phrases that are highly targeted, create content around those queries. Answer them. Become a thought-leader and show your customers you can address their needs.

Learn from the best:

Now that you know the phrases your potential buyers may be using, type them into Google! What are the top results?

Look at the channels the top search results are using to promote their content. Are they using images, video or sound? Or is it just text? Do they include charts, comparisons and more?

The best strategy is to look at what content the top results are producing that is useful. Pay attention to titles, format, and diction — there’s a reason they’re on top. However, don’t blatantly imitate everything they have. Take what they are doing well and apply those principles to your content. Consider presenting it in innovative ways — what do you wish someone had told you? Inform your customers.

When you provide information that is useful to them, they will trust of their own accord, and this will bring them further down your marketing funnel.

Take advantage of the buying cycle:

When customers first begin investigating a product, they will have broader search terms. If you can identify these and appear in the customer’s search at an earlier stage, they are more likely to consider purchasing from you.

Remember the rule of six to eight touch points: if you can identify queries your customers will have at every stage of the cycle, you have a better chance of being visible at every stage. When your name comes up time and time again, it will create brand recall and a sense of trust — thus increasing likelihood of them purchasing from you.