When looking at online marketing from an SEO perspective, there is so much time spent thinking about Google’s algorithms, keywords, robots.txt files, backlinks and more. As such, it’s easy for SEOs and marketers to sometimes lose sight of the primary objective, which is to provide website visitors with useful information.
In SEO times past, it’s easy to understand why this was the case. You could keyword stuff on your pages, add some meta tags, and there you have it. You’re on the first page of SERPs.
Thankfully for searchers, Google recognised that this was not a beneficial way to provide quality results for search queries. So they rightfully changed their algorithms. Google’s interest in improving the user’s experience is evident with updates such as Panda, which was launched in February 2011 along with many more in recent years.
That doesn’t mean that you can completely disregard the more traditional SEO aspects and that keywords or backlinks no longer play a factor. All top digital marketing agencies in London can tell you that any search engine, including Google, still takes foundational SEO aspects into account. There is now more emphasis on organic search being implemented with a user-first approach.
What Exactly is User-First SEO?
The purpose of SEO is to make your website and its pages easy for search engines to find, discover its relevance to the search term and also to determine the value of your content. But optimising your content for the user goes much further than making your website findable, crawlable and easy for search engines to understand.
Quality content and the experience for the user are primary in any and all SEO. Both of these elements contribute heavily to improving the search experience.
However, we need to go beyond the search query. When the user gets the specific answer for what they are looking for with more detail and answers additional questions, the user may have over and above your competition, and the user gets more value from you, which will boost your position in search rankings. It also means that they can stop their research because they have found all the answers they need.
User-first SEO puts the user at the centre of the search experience.
Keywords provide valuable insight for SEOs, and keyword research is always a good starting place to start when looking at creating user-first content. However, a savvy SEO will be able to fully understand the intent of the search query and determine what the best answer would be to match that term. But not just that, they will also be able to answer all other possible questions that are included within the topic query.
Keywords and phrases alone won’t always capture all of the nuances. Whereas questions do – or, at a minimum, they do a better job of it. Because of this, the best content ideas will stem from questions, not keywords. When it gets down to it, keywords are basically just abbreviated questions, but they leave too much information out.
A question is a more targeted and specific type of search query. For example, with “best running shoes,” the question is more likely to be “what are the best shoes for running?” But it could also be “what is the best brand of running shoes?”
Higher Engagement Rates
Comment sections on social media posts, blog articles and products are great at showing that your content is relevant and beneficial to users because these comments will be from people who have already read your content.
In the same way, many customers also like the leave reviews for services, products and the company as a whole. For a business-to-customer company, a high number of reviews are used to convince your customer to trust you as a brand. This method of proof is also useful in business-to-business companies with client reviews because it sets a good impression for potential clients.
Listening to what your users what to see is key to having higher engagement rates. You need to identify and address their pain points and listen to your audience to achieve a better service for them, and in turn, for you yourself.
Higher Search Rankings
Any comments and suggestions from your audience can help you mould your content. You want to focus on the benefits of your product or service to the user. You should always be thinking bout how your business and product can add value to your customer and how that product helps solve a problem they have.
It’s highly likely that your audience is already searching for answers to their issues as you are reading this! Shifting your approach to include user-first content by listening and responding to what your customers are asking for and providing solutions to their pain points will help you rank higher in search engines.