Traditional marketing and sales methods relied heavily on customer service and experience to make an impression. A bad interaction with employees or salespeople can kill a sale in an instant. Conversations over the phone and in meetings had to be pleasant, understanding, and prompt in order to create the best customer experience.
Now we’re in the digital age. Most, if not all, stages of the buyer’s journey can be done online. Conversations at physical storefronts have been replaced by a silent few clicks through an e-commerce website. Maybe leads are contacted directly after they leave their contact information, but most initial research can be done from your desktop or mobile device.
This doesn’t mean that customer service and experience are dead. Even if you are just communicating through text or video content, customer service should be at the front of your mind. Customers still want a positive experience; they are now just getting used to a different experience involving chatbots, automated deliveries, and less personal interactions. Customers who do not have a positive experience purchasing products won’t come back to a business, and they won’t recommend the business to friends or colleagues. No one from your business may be directly interacting with a customer, but that customer will be interacting with peers and potential customers.
So how can your business provide the best customer experience online? Optimise your website.
Okay, let’s back up. These two concepts can seem miles away. SEO is all about making sure your website is picked up by Google and appears at the top of search result. It all boils down to algorithms and data and colder concepts. Customer experience is more warm and fuzzy. But the two concepts actually rely on each other more than we might initially think. Google wants users to have a good experience when they are searching for information and consuming the information that Google provides. Their top search results represent their ability to provide customers with a good experience, so these top search results must provide a good experience as well.
If you are looking to provide an excellent experience for every user, lead, and customer who interacts with your content, use SEO best practices. Keep these two concepts as top priorities as you build your website and distribute content for optimal lead generation and conversion rates.
What Does SEO do for Customer Experience?
After all, the basic function of a search engine is to provide answers to searches. Users search using questions or concepts, and Google spits back what they think the customer wants to see. SEO best practices show Google that your site can answer these questions with your content and overall user experience.
In order to answer buyers’ questions, you have to get to know them really well and predict what they will ask before they ask it. Keyword research and buyer personas are two keys to knowing what your audience is searching for online before they make purchase decisions. If you can integrate the right keywords into your landing pages, and frame your copy to answer the questions buyers have, you will end up on the top of search results and provide buyers with something they want.
Provides Value for Customers and Resources
Link building is a classic SEO practice. Google wants blog posts and landing pages to provide accurate, informational content. Internal and external links serve two purposes while providing this type of content. They add credibility to the content that you are offering (provided that you draw accurate information from the sites you are linking to,) and give users a quick link to the next pages that they need to see.
External links are more effective when they are from credible websites. If a user clicks on these links, they will be able to answer their questions further and get more value out of their visit to your website. Links are more than just a way to prove that your information is accurate; it’s a “free gift” to users who want to learn more.
Internal links can also serve this purpose, if you have appropriate content on your website that you can link to.
Ramps Up Speed
Is there anything worse than a slow website?
People are impatient, especially if they are online. Four out of ten Internet users click away from a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Site audits show you where your site is slow and what you can do to make your site move faster. Compressing files, fixing bugs, and removing broken links all increase the speed at which your pages load and keep users engaged. Every second counts! For every extra second that your site takes to load, you will cut conversions by 7%. When you are optimising your website, don’t neglect issues that contribute to speed and loading times.
The journey throughout your website should be informative and consistent. Three out of four users expect consistency as they move through a company’s website. If you conduct a thorough site audit and apply best practices to every page, your website will be more consistent. A similar group of keywords will also promote consistency on your website; the copy will aim to provide information on the same subjects. The buyer’s journey has many different steps, but if you can provide a seamless transition and turn a user into a customer and loyal supporter of your brand, your customers will not even notice that they are making purchase decisions.
Evolves With the Customer
A single site audit and initial fix isn’t enough to guarantee lasting results. Google is constantly updating and changing its algorithm to provide the best experience for users as they interact with smart technologies and explore their world in different ways. If your business neglects SEO over the course of a few months, you may have to constantly audit and fix your site.
The Importance of Optimising for Mobile
So many SEO best practices adapt to how customers behave online. Mobile optimisation wasn’t as important before smartphones; now compatibility is one of the top ways to optimise your website and provide a positive customer experience. A majority of users have reported that if they encounter a poorly optimised mobile site, they will be less likely to move further in their journey with the company. These rules don’t just apply to e-commerce or B2C businesses. Four out of ten B2B customers search for products on mobile and tablet devices.
Goes Both Ways (Customer Experience is Crucial to Effective SEO)
Search engine optimisation doesn’t just benefit the overall customer experience; customer experience benefits your website and boosts your rankings. If customers are having a positive experience on your site, they are less likely to leave the site. Low bounce rates and longer sessions contribute to optimisation. Customers who have a positive experience are more likely to share content and recommend a site to friends, driving more traffic and engagement.
Customer experience is simply another term for user experience (UX,) which is one of the hottest terms in conversion rate optimisation and web design. Customer experience is more than just the copy on your website; every element of your site should keep the customer in mind and create a seamless experience.
There’s no way around it: customer experience and SEO go hand in hand. Keep both of these at the top of your priorities while building your marketing strategy and creating content throughout your next campaign.
Optimise Your Website For Optimal Customer Experience
The value of an optimised website, for both businesses and customers, is unmatched. Nothing will do more to boost ROI, put your landing pages in front of the right people, and convert more customers than SEO.
Search engine optimisation is more than just a process; it’s an investment in your business and your relationship with customers. And this investment isn’t just a single job. Continue to invest in your SEO and you will evolve with the way customers make purchase decisions.
Put your SEO in the hands of experts who can conduct research within your industry, optimise your website, and analyse your results for continued optimisation in the future.
At Digital Squad, we do all of this and more. Each client is a partner; we only work to optimise one business in each industry. Our expert team works with each partner to thoroughly understand where they currently stand in the industry and where they want to go, and then use first-hand knowledge to conduct a site audit, optimise the website, and work on a thorough content plan that can boost SEO even further. We monitor our clients’ rankings every day for the first month after we finish your site, and continue to create monthly reports. The team at Digital Squad wants to see long-term success for each and every client, and we are confident in our ability to bring you that with current SEO best practices.
If you want to learn more about optimising your website to generate more leads and boost your conversion rate, reach out to an SEO specialist at Digital Squad.
Megan Okonsky is a copywriter and content marketing specialist with Digital Squad. She is originally from Philadelphia but has landed in Melbourne after traveling for eight months in Southeast Asia and New Zealand. She also teaches vinyasa yoga online.