Search experience optimisation: a new age for content

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In the past, it was appropriate to suggest that onsite content could be labelled as ‘SEO content’, with keywords being densely populated within the content so that rankings would remain high when users searched for a particular query.

Although this is still the case to some extent, in the past SEO professionals felt the struggle when it came to creating engaging content while meeting SEO objectives; now, content is being created with the user experience in mind – rather than optimising content for search, the user experience is being optimised through onsite content that is created.

Optimising the journey

When it comes to search experience optimisation, as opposed to search engine optimisation, the main focus is to enhance the customer journey, and this begins with the search query a user creates to find their required product or service.

What this means, is that content needs to assist users within this journey, and should not hinder them from finding exactly what they’re looking for on your website. To do this, gaps will need to be identified within your content, which will be discussed in further detail later. For now, let’s look at how you can define your consumer in more detail to accommodate the search queries your content should aid.

Detailed demographics

One of way of ensuring that content is optimised for the user, as well as for SEO purposes, is to explore more detailed forms of demographic analysis. To establish the ideal consumer, and therefore the search terms that they would use, many working in SEO focus solely on factors such as age, geographic location, and earnings.

Although empathy mapping is a less scientific approach to assessing consumer behaviours, this allows those attempting to target consumers the opportunity to step outside the framework of their own behaviours and attempt to understand how other users would search for specific products. This type of strategy is more practical in its approach, rather than technical, and may help SEO consultants define more specific search queries that will achieve greater rankings in comparison to more traditional forms of persona analysis.

Content gaps

Keywords and long-tail-phrases help to establish an inventory that can be used for those creating content, which then helps users on their journey with content establishing and answering their specific questions and requirements.

Within the customer journey, establish where there are gaps in content that hinder the user on their journey towards an end goal. Thus, gaps help to define what needs to be done to content in order for it to be optimised correctly for a user’s experience. To help, here are some common gaps that users experience when searching for products and services:

  1. The user path is broken. On some pages, are you using too much content and too many keywords? This may distract users from what they are actually looking for, and take them too far down a page away from what they are trying to find.
  2. Content is not specific to the user’s needs. If your content is not being specific in terms of the product or service you are providing, then users cannot proceed. Content should pre-empt and address any queries you feel the user would have before they have to ask.
  3. Have you developed dedicated content plans? For each set of consumer intents, a content plan should be created with these intents in mind. Put simply, if content offers value to the user, then you will be naturally rewarded and rankings will improve. If the content is good for your users, then it is always good for SEO and an optimised experience.

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