The world of search engine optimization, or “SEO”, is ever evolving. If you Google just about any SEO related search term you’re bound to be flooded with contradictory feedback, misinformation, and plenty of outdated rhetoric. Just about the only way to stay completely current with the latest and greatest SEO strategies is to be an actual SEO strategist, and even THAT can be strenuous. So how, you may ask, can one even begin to tackle staying current with the latest and greatest search enginge technology? Think like a user.
Think like a user. It’s the single greatest piece of SEO strategy that anyone can employ. Years ago, SEO was about, well, thinking like a search engine. With everything from meta data, to keyword density, to hidden code- it was all about tricking and manipulating the search engines to find success. No more. With the advent of more advanced algorithms and technology, a search engine’s #1 goal is to think like a user. Have you ever Googled the word “Hammer” in Columbus Ohio and noticed that the first result is a hardware store selling hammers a block from your location? This is an example of advanced computer behavior, or, the search engines thinking like a user.
To better illustrate this concept, let’s assume you’re in the business of selling popsicles. You might, naturally, want to improve the search performance of your site. Rather than tackling complex coding, trying to trick the search engines into ranking your site well, and manipulating the code to appear #1 for the word “Popsicle”, start asking a few critical questions:
- Why might my customer be searching for popsicles? Are you going after a corporate buyer or an average Joe at home?
- Where are my customers located? Is your customer base worldwide, nationwide, or defined by a small geographic area? Will location be a part of their search process?
- Why would my site be valuable to a customer? Am I offering tips and information, new content, or valuable pricing information?
By asking yourself a few key questions, you can begin to understand how a potential target customer may want to find your site. If your “golden customer” is a corporate popsicle buyer in Scottsdale, Arizona, who just wants to know what your popsicle case price is, you now have a great basis for creating meaningful content and copy to our target customer. Now you have an opportunity to dominate the search phrase “Bulk popsicle prices in Arizona” and truly connect with your most valued customer. How did you achieve this? By thinking like the user.
When it comes to search engine optimization, forget the tricks, forget the deception and forget the wacky formulas. Technology is now enabling users to find what they want and faster than ever before. This means that the more that we can think like a user, the faster we can connect with them.