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Effective SEO Marketing Through User Experience

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - Digital Marketing

Why User Experience is So Important for Ranking Among the Top Google Search Results

This is worth repeating: One of the major factors in search engine optimization (SEO) marketing is user experience. Google rewards businesses and websites that continuously put users first. User experience starts with search and ends with conversion, so optimizing your marketing strategy for each step of the experience will be extremely beneficial to both you and your users. If you gain an understanding of your users including their wants, needs, and motivations, this knowledge can be used to help you rank for top Google search results. Also, an understanding of why users will click on some search listings and not others will help you develop a better SEO marketing strategy, rank better, have more clicks, and ultimately boost conversion and sales.

Basic Human Motivation

User behaviour can be narrowed down to two basic human motivations—pain and pleasure. We strive to avoid pain and experience pleasure. These two motivations drive our decisions on a daily basis, from what we wear (based on the weather forecast) to what we search for online (based on our wants and needs for specific products or services). SEO marketing involves using this pain/pleasure understanding of human behaviour—AKA psychology—to improve marketing strategies. Marketers who understand the user can better connect with them via webpages, products, services, and search strategy.

Customer Personas

What better way to understand your customers and improve user experience than by creating customer personas? Personas are like avatars of your target audience, pieced together with various characteristics that suit a specific demographic. And since we’re all different, it’s useful to develop multiple customer personas to gain a deeper understanding of your users. To create and understand these personas, start with analyzing their demographics. Next, try some empathy mapping—put yourself in the shoes of the customer personas. Forget about the technical side of SEO marketing for a moment and imagine what the needs and wants of your customers are based on their varying perspectives. Then ask yourself these questions to determine the perceived value of your products or services to users:

  • What are you selling, delivering, and promoting?
  • What solution do you provide to users? Are you solving a pain or offering a pleasure?
  • Why should users visit your site?
  • What will users expect from your site?
  • What actions do you want the user to take?

Once you understand how different personas will view your products and services, you can improve your SEO marketing strategy to appeal directly to your users.

Earn Trust

Google rewards websites when they appeal to the user experience. This reward is higher rankings among Google search results. Websites that meet the needs of its users will earn trust and authority from both users and Google. Users are more likely to click on the top-ranked results since they trust Google to provide the most relevant links first. And since users trust Google’s ranking of websites, you can get more clicks as you move to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). At the end of the day, it’s all about the user. So understand what they want and need, and put yourself in their shoes to get an idea of who it is you’re trying to reach. When you put the user first in your marketing strategies, you will earn Google’s respect, and more importantly, the trust of your users.

Lia

Is Personalized Content the New Standard?

03/30/2018

Learn How Affordable SEO and User-Generated Advertising Strategies Can Yield Powerful Results For Your Brand

Personalized content is taking over the world of content marketing. Why? Because it gets results in a big way. Personalized content increases user engagement. It targets specific needs and increases sales. But more importantly, it’s user-generated more often than not. Big brands have been using personalized content strategies for some time now. And brands that take advantage of it will likely see a significant increase in revenue within the next year. If you want conversions, consider the powerful effects of content personalization, behavioural targeting, and user-generated content. Here’s how it works:

What is Personalized Content?

Whether they’re on your site to make a purchase or for research, the users visiting your site are there for a variety of reasons. Beyond sales and personal research, they might be looking for a job, following a referring link, or could be inbound from a social media post. The details aren’t important, at least for the moment. What does matter is the variety. Keep this in mind at all times and never forget it: User intent varies – so page content should, too. What’s relevant and useful to one visitor might also cause others to leave your page. A massive 71% of consumers want personalized ads, according to one study. Users want content that caters to their needs, after all, so the more effort you put towards creating that personal touch will go a long way. And, of course, personally-relevant content increases interest in a brand’s products and services. So: personalized content converts, which means more revenue for your business. Great! …but where do you start? We’ve got two words for you:

Behavioural Targeting

Behavioural targeting is exactly what it says on the tin: a way to target content based on insights from user behaviour. If you’ve spent any amount of time checking out the insights you get from your site, then you’ve already got a sense of user behaviour. We typically use Google Analytics, and it’s the standard for most digital marketers out there, but we supplement that insight and research with other tools as needed. Regardless of the tools you use, you can easily gather demographic and browsing data to target different content to different types of visitors. This is where personalized content starts to come into its own.

Behavioural targeting can maximize your content personalization as part of an affordable SEO strategy.
Photo by Tom Holmes on Unsplash.

Location Targeting

This behaviour data gives you tremendous insight into different subsets of your audience. Maybe you’ve got a bunch of young professionals in your city who access your site close to payday. You can specifically target these groups based on geolocation data to display ads relevant to their location. Changing your web content based on which country a visitor is from will help with sales, too. If the currency for your products is in their currency, it will remove a barrier to a sale—i.e. needing to calculate exchange rates.

Variables to Target

  • Device – Android phone or tablet, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Linux, Windows, etc.
  • Location – city, province/state, country, region (even neighbourhood)
  • Age and gender
  • Date and time of day – including how close to it is to payday
  • Purchase history
  • Behaviour – clicks, page views, session time
  • Search terms – which keywords brought them to your page
  • Referring URL – what backlinks that brought them to your site
  • Visitor frequency

Ad Targeting

When a user shows interest in a product online, you can target ads based on this behaviour. Users will start seeing ads on websites with a product they previously searched for. This is like online stores creating lists of suggested-items for visitors based on their search behaviour—i.e. “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought,” “You May Also Be Interested in These Items,” and, “Frequently Bought Together.”

Ad targeting based on behavioural variables can help you develop segmented content.
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash.

Segmented Content

So now you’ve done your research and you’re ready to start specifically targeting key user groups. Fantastic! Using all your target research, you can develop A, B, and C copies of a home page or landing page to better target your user groups. For example, users visiting a page from one target group will see page A, while others will see B and C, respectively. This is segmented content, and it relies on some smart software and plugins that interact with your site and ad campaigns. It’s an easier, if still somewhat generalized, method of personalizing content. But developing personalized content based on these variables and behaviours is a time-consuming process. Why not have your users do it for you?

User-Generated Content

Creating content is a time-consuming job as is. Social media, site content, and images take time to research, plan, develop, and implement. You’re already creating content for a variety of audiences. It’s part of your initial content strategy. Fitting in these subsections is even more time-consuming than your existing content efforts. The solution? Get your users to do it for you. Instead of spending extra resources trying to make relevant content for everyone, why not leave the work to your audiences instead? Some brands are turning to talented consumers and influencers, asking them to share their experiences in a creative way. It’s a working partnership that creates greater authenticity for these brands by having actual consumers use and engage with products in more meaningful ways. It’s a remarkably affordable SEO strategy that keeps your costs low, too.

User-generated content is an equally beneficial and affordable SEO tactic.
Photo by Skye Studios on Unsplash.
These content creators use social media to share relevant brand content and reach new audiences. Because these creators and influences have such dedicated followings, it means your brand gets in front of even more eyes. In turn, this authentic, engaging social content creates meaningful connections with consumers. Businesses may find it difficult to keep up with personalized content creation, especially across all platforms. There is an ever-growing demand for content across various channels, especially social media. Brands may think they don’t have the resources or technology to invest in this personalized content marketing. But there are solutions to get you on board this new powerful ship to conversions. With the right approach and strategy, this remarkably affordable SEO means your business can offer engaging, personalized content that converts. CONTACT US TO LEARN MORE!  

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Designing for Three Levels of UX

12/18/2017

How Marketing Companies Use Design to Improve User Experience

Design guru Donald Norman once said, “Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.” The beauty and mystique of design is that it works in ways we’re not always conscious of. Design affects us on deep emotional levels, influencing behaviour without us ever noticing. Good design plays a major role in effective marketing strategies. User experience, or UX, is subject to massive scrutiny and attention to ensure optimal results. Marketing companies focus on creating user-friendly designs that are easy to use, and that shape user behaviours on a subconscious level. UX designers focus on pleasant, intuitive, and memorable experiences to get users to convert and return in the future. In fact, in his book Emotional Design, Donald Norman delved into these subtler aspects of UX. He refers to the three levels of design, three key ways in which it affects us without our knowledge. Understanding these three levels can help designers and marketers create emotional responses in website users. Careful application of these lessons can help influence product purchase decisions, CTRs, and conversion rates. But what are these three levels, and how do marketing companies make the most of them in UX? Let’s take a closer look:

Visceral Design—Gut Reactions, Lasting Impressions

It’s good advice when it comes to UX design!
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s the first thing humans do, instinctively. It’s a gut reaction, and the first emotions users experience when they encounter a design reflects this. These are visceral emotions, better known as gut reactions or instincts. Visceral emotions are subconscious. They are immediately felt, triggered by the initial sensory experience with a design, and are beyond our conscious control. These sensory experiences are influenced by design aesthetics, such as look and feel and how they engage our senses. This is the first impression your design will make on users, so it must be excellent. Malcolm Gladwell refers to this as “the blink,” that moment in which we create a snap judgment of something. This gut reaction influences everything from product credibility and quality to ease of use. In fact, a more attractive design that elicits a positive response will likely be considered easier to use. Creating a compelling design that sets your users at ease and instills confidence is a challenge but pays dividends.

Behavioural Design—Delivering on the Promise

Behavioural design influences how users interact with your site, and how they respond to frustrations.
Frustrated users are typically experiencing issues with behavioural design.
After visceral emotions, users experience behavioural emotions. This refers to the user’s experience with the function and usability of a given design. Users develop opinions on how easy the design is to learn, to use, and overall functionality. User experience will always run on a learning curve. Functionality must always start simple; overly complex functions too early on could scare away a user. A single bad experience, after all, can quickly outweigh all the positives you’ve created for a user. For example, say you’ve developed a professional-looking site that conveys confidence and respectability. Then say the moment a user takes an action, functionality falls short. It’ll be hard to rebuild the trust created by that gut reaction, as behavioural responses are starting to form. Behavioural design may be the most meaningful aspect of these three levels of design, more so than the visceral, because users develop an opinion informed by experience. It goes beyond the emotional and into the practical and pragmatic.

Reflective Design—“Now that I think about it…”

Reflective design refers to how a user will think on and assess a design after the fact.
Like The Thinker, your users will reflect on their experience after they’ve left the site
Design and user experience continues when the user logs off. People keep thinking! Their experiences stick with them, and users will reflect on these experiences when the design is no longer in use. If you’ve done your homework, they’ll develop positive associations and familiarity looking back at your site. It’s a challenge, but guaranteeing form and function operate hand-in-hand ensures your users will be left with a positive experience. Users will determine, independently, if the design will have any positive impact on their lives, attaching value to it if it does. This is where UX designers can maximize a user’s desire to continue using the design, which is to say, buy the product. Positive associations when reflecting on a design include:

  • Beauty;
  • Pleasure;
  • Satisfaction;
  • Ease of use and impact on the user’s life; and,
  • A bond with the product.

While designs that elicit positive experiences cause users to disregard minor downfalls, negative experiences will cause users to focus on everything that is wrong with the design. Marketing companies and UX designers work hard and consider every aspect and level of design. For true success, users must enjoy positive experiences throughout their journey, from the very first impression all the way to the end after they’ve completed a conversion.

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