• Mick Fagle

The Next Era of Search - Experience not Engine Optimization

The way overdue shift from search engine to search experience.


When we began the SEO content journey back in 2005 the acronym SEO, it usually means Search Engine Optimization, was our guidebook to success. We were designing web content and off-page components to rank. SEO was our tools of trade.


And, as you’d expect, SEO in this context meant optimizing your website for

search engines. Search Experience Optimization is a newer way to think about the term SEO. Some have even called search experience optimization the “new SEO.”

Search experience optimization is optimizing for people in all the places your

brand and content could possibly appear. It goes beyond the nuts and bolts of

optimizing for search engines – although those nuts and bolts are still incredibly

relevant.


From Buyer's Journey to Search Experience Marketing. Way back in 2003 a new marketing concept "buyer's journey" was introduced which focused on all touch points a buyer has with your solution - not to your brand. Why? Because buyers are seeking to solve a problem not find a vendor. When your dishwasher dies most of us do research, look for deals and talk to friends. We don't just go to the LG website, plop into the check-out and lay down $1200.


Our new search paradigm strategies require us to create brand experiences, using the search results to build relevance. Ninety-three percent of online experiences begin with a search engine, according to a 2006 Forrester study. That means a search engine is the biggest touch point in existence. It is step 1 for 93% of all online experiences.


The four biggest questions people ask are simple. We know this because we are buyers who follow the same behaviors.

1.) I want to know. 2.) I want to go 3.) I want to do 4.) I want to buy


Simply investing in branded or product keywords does not answer the above questions. Those keywords do not help the buyer make a decision to buy from you.


First provide answers to questions your buyer is asking; what is a good option? why is this one better than the other? who says this one is good? do I trust them? One of our eCommerce industrial clients designed an amazing solution for balancing wheel when changing tires. The solution reduced labor by 20% while also reducing customer return visits by 80%. Amazing right? Sales were terrible. They marketed the product right alongside all the other competitors. In the buyer's mind it was the same product but more expensive. We designed a marketing strategy based on addressing buyer questions with clear answers via paid, organic, content and video. we needed to educate the buyer, capture their attention early, show them the why and make them an offer based on triggers. Sales went up 300% in the first two months of the campaign. We utilized these buyers to build a business case and testimonials. We had to do the work to attract and win the buyer.


How to find the questions buyers are asking. Two very simple DIY paths to travel. The quickest and lowest cost way to find the key questions your buyers are asking is to go to your customer service reps. These reps are on the frontline interacting with customers all day long. They know what questions are being asked. The second is back to the nuts and bolts of search. What questions, phrases and keywords are most searched? Using AHREFS or SEMRush will provide you the clues.


What to do next? Call us. Just kidding. 1.) Assess your current SEO/SEM programs. Dig in deep to find what keywords, campaigns and content is driving and converting buyers. 2.) Find the questions buyers are asking and compare to the questions you are answering today. That is your gap-analysis. 3.) Determine what content you need, can modify or can push. 4.) Finally, eventually map your buyer journey. Highlight the touch points you want to win and make a plan to win.


Really it's not that complex. We in the agency world get paid to solve problems companies think they cannot solve. If you are willing to invest resources you can do this yourself. Follow the plan, download the templates, make decisions and test them. Learn, adjust and keep moving forward.


Thanks. Mick Fagle, Founder BBM.

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