Semalt Expert Explains Why Search And SEO Are Important
If you're a business owner, you should know that the consumer journey most times start from search. Users use the search option to accomplish tasks, solve problems, and do other things they find beneficial. At a private dinner in 2009, Bill Gates addressed his guest and in the address, he mentioned that the future of search is verbs.
In this context, he wasn't referring to the words people type into the search box but instead, he was speaking on why people search. This is why Semalt dedicated so much time and effort to understand why people search. With this knowledge, we are able to do the amazing things you hear of today.
Why do we search?
In the early years of the Internet and search engines, people had to search and find a list of documents that contained the exact words they used in their search query. This, however, isn't how the search is done today. Searchers can now search to solve problems, accomplish diverse tasks or do something else.
We use search engines to find ways to book a flight online, buy something or get the lyrics to our favorite songs, especially when that's someone like Eminem. Whatever we choose to use the Internet for is an action which Gates called verbs.
Whenever we input a search query, we start a journey. Marketers call this journey the consumer journey. This is a fancy way of describing a user's path from the moment they start a task to its completion. Most users start off their consumer journey with a search.
In the last decade, the consumer journey has played a larger role in search. You may have heard of a consumer funnel; it means the same thing as the consumer journey. It is a description of how a consumer moves from the point of awareness to consideration and then the final purchase. This model of a consumer journey has become outdated even though we still make reference to the funnel model for illustrative purposes.
The evolution of search and how it has changed the consumer journey
The modern consumer journey can no longer be described as a funnel. Instead, a more accurate description would be a crazy straw with several twists and turns. Each diversion, bend, or twist on the straw represents the various channels, mediums, and devices with which users interact today.
In order to match this ever-evolving ecosystem, search had to evolve from simple words on a page to understand the user's intent accurately at every point of their journey. Search engines have gone beyond understanding just keywords. It needs to be able to provide the right content to the right users almost immediately so that users can accomplish their tasks with no delays.
For users, it is all about the verbs. As marketers, our sole purpose is to help users on their journey as we try to influence their decisions along the way. With the straw model, it is obvious that today's consumer journey no longer happens on a single device.
Users today can start a search on their mobile devices, continue their research on their tablets or desktop and place an order over a smart Bluetooth home assistant speaker. Search is no longer limited to just computers or phones. Internet users can access search engine platforms from a variety of devices. Smartwatches, smart glasses, refrigerators, Bluetooth speaker assistants are now embedded with Internet access which makes search more convenient and accessible to users.
As search marketers, it is our job to keep track of these developments and monitor how these devices relate to each other and how they play a part in a user's search experience.
In today's SEO, we are more focused on:
- Understanding personas
- Data-driven insights
- Content strategy
- Technical problem-solving
The three main tents of content marketing
Search touches three primary areas, namely:
The first part, "attract", is what search is more focused on. Having amazing products doesn't guarantee that you would be successful on the Internet. You must be able to attract customers through multiple channels and outlets. This is why we make every page on your website an SEO page. If we plan on attracting potential customers, engaging these visitors, and converting them to customers, every page that contributes to this process must have an SEO component.
With search, you can be found by anyone and everyone, which means by optimizing your website, you get free advertisement.
What makes SEO so important
From the very first time you spoke to a professional about making a website, we are certain you heard the word SEO. In this article, we've explained the user, their journey, search and verbs. You know that users are important, and many times, their journey begins with a search. But what makes SEO important?
Is SEO just something developers should be concerned with. Is there a plugin for it? Search engines should be able to figure out my website. These are all opinions of some clients we've worked with.
We started this article with a Gates quote but what we didn't mention is that Google is one of the only websites that took that advice to heart. Google has attempted to modify its search engine algorithm and move it from words to action so it can help users accomplish what they are focused on. As a result, we've witnessed updates like Hummingbird, RankBrain, Panda, Mobilegeddon, Possum, Penguin, Pigeon, and many others. Not only do all these updates show us that Google is determined to understand users' intent, but it also shows that understanding user intent is no simple task.
Looking back, all SEO professionals will agree that SEO has come a long way, especially when it was something you worked on within the days of metadata. No doubt, there are a lot of best practices that will be studied by the development team, but you shouldn't expect this on every issue.
One way to look at this is that websites are more like apps than they are websites. Applications come with many fancy features which sometimes do not play well with search engines.
SEO is important not just because it forces your website to be its best but essentially because it improves user experience. Think of it this way; you just finished building a condo. Anyone looking to live in that building will expect a top-notch finishing, quality materials, and it should be something they can show their friend. Simply by looking at the building and walking through its rooms, a potential buyer either smiles or losses interest in the building.
Well, SEO is just like that. Yes, we use SEO to get you on the first page of SERP, but all that is a means to an end. Our primary objective is to get users to convert from visitors to customers. SEO is important because, without it, you'll lose your investment. As business owners, we know that isn't something you would like to experience.
What is Good SEO today?
SEO has evolved to not only focus on content, but it also helps users:
- Easily navigate through multiple versions of the same page.
- Solve technical issues that could make a page or content invisible to search engine bots.
- Integrate with social media, paid search, user experience, or analytics.
- With proper server setting.
- Find new ways to speed up their site.
A good SEO professional needs to understand the searchers as well as the competitive landscape around them. Just understanding the user's task isn't enough; as search marketers, it is important that we also understand what other options are available in the marketplace to figure out gaps we can fill to provide better solutions to search engine users.
Over the years, we've come a long way. As SEO professionals, we now wear multiple hats as we connect development, information, architecture, user experience, content strategy and more. We understand the game, and we do all these to create something that works for search engines and users.
There are many reasons why a site can lose traffic or disappear totally from SERP, leaving the business in jeopardy. The simple truth is most changes you make on your website, either small or big, affects SEO. If you plan on seeing great results, it is best that you start SEO upfront and build it throughout the project.
Search is important because users are important. As technology continues to evolve, we have to continually stay on our toes to figure ways in which search occurs on new upcoming devices and the evolving ways to search because one thing is certain, and that is people will continue to search. Why people search will always exist.