Search Experience Optimization – the “New” SEO

Google changed the rules again.

We’ve all heard that phrase more than a few times lately. Have they really changed the rules or is SEO finally evolving to the place it should have been all along? Is Search Experience Optimization the new SEO?

Google Changed the rules again_Man wearing a black hatFor the past decade many SEO’rs have chased algorithms and devised clever tactics to deliver on the promise to gain their clients top rankings for target keywords. Even many “white hat” SEO professionals put the focus on the search engines and not on the searcher’s experience.

Business owners bought into the idea that keyword ranking and page views are the most important SEO metrics to monitor.

Perhaps the focus of many SEO tactics has been wrong all along. Poorly written content stuffed with keywords and hard to navigate websites may have ranked high in search engine results but they often failed to convert visits to dollars.

They failed to convert visitors into leads and customers because the search experience didn’t meet the searcher’s needs. More than likely, the content aligned with a keyword phrase according the the search engine but didn’t match the searcher’s intent.

Optimizing for the search experience rather than search engines can help you prioritize your efforts and attract the right people to your website.

Search Experience Optimization Steps:

Everything from inbound links to the content on a landing page should be about the searcher’s experience.

  1. Keyword research –  discover and understand the words and phrases your target audience uses to talk about the products or services you sell. More importantly, it’s about understanding the things they value and what questions they want answered.
  2. Creating content – content gives people a reason to visit your site time and time again. Good content helps you establish a reputation as a subject matter expert and opens up opportunities to engage with your visitors. Tap into your unique experiences to provide answers to the questions people are asking about your product, service, or industry.
  3. Optimize your content – incorporate the keywords into your title tags, meta descriptions, and headings. The intent is to give people a clear understanding of what your landing page, video, or podcast is about. Remember that the page title displays as the link on the search engine results page so make your title compelling and capture the click through.
  4. Share your content – take advantage of and incorporate social media into your PR strategy. Social networks offer another way to engage with your visitors and build your reputation. The key is to network not to market.
  5. Provide value to others in your industry – develop relationships with other professionals in your area of expertise. This can lead to opportunities to increase your visibility through links from them to you or a chance for you to write unique content for their readers.
  6. Measure and track your results – use analytics to understand how visitors are engaging with your site and identify opportunities to improve the experience.

It’s time to shift our focus from search engines to search experience or perhaps I should say from strings to things. Search engines don’t do business with us, people do.

Please leave your thoughts about this topic in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.