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How to Create a User Focused SEO Strategy

Apr 13, 2016
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How to Create a User Focused SEO StrategyWhen it comes to developing an SEO strategy, many business owners and marketers overthink the process. While SEO has a number of moving parts that are constantly shifting, there are some constants. Google and the other major search engines have one goal in mind, give the end user the most helpful results as possible. So how can you make sure that your site's content is seen as most helpful? In this short video, I’ll explain how a user-focused SEO strategy will help you create contextualized content that earns links and drives relevant traffic.



Hey what’s going on everybody, I’m Ryan Shelley and you are watching the SMA Marketing Minute. SEO can be kind of a scary term for a lot of business owners and marketing professionals who are trying to find ways to drive that really precious organic traffic to their website. We've all read  the  stats and we all know that organic traffic converts at a very high rate because most the time the visitors we are driving from organic are searching for a specific solution that we offer. But SEO really doesn’t have to be all that extremely complicated. We like to break SEO down into three core components.
The first core component of SEO is the user. You have to understand your audience, who they are, what their actual needs are and then how to frame your message to appeal to them. The user is a person who is going to make that final decision. We really have no power over them. All we can do is create content, create offers and create an experience that engages them. If we engage our users, if we attract the right users, then we will have a higher conversion rate on the backend of our site. So we have to start with the users, understand the way that they think, understand the way they act, understand their pain points and then we can address the pain points with content.
Content is the second piece and is extremely important as well. But there's been a little bit of a misnomer, miscommunication per se, around content over the last few years. From a lot of stuff that I’ve seen, a lot of people say SEO is irrelevant, link building is not important, all you have to do is create content and it’s going to drive traffic to your site. Well that’s just a flat out lie. Content is extremely important but you have to have the right content; content that is actually going to answer the questions that people have.
Google has released “RankBrain," which is an extremely smart and intelligent software that’s going to learn how people use Google to search for specific terms and services. What it’s going to do is try to figure out and make connections between different queries to understand the context in which somebody is searching. You see, context is the key to developing content. We have to understand not only who we are speaking to, but what their environment is and really what they're searching for in the right context. Two things can mean the same thing, in just a broad scale, but when you place them in the context it could mean something different. Let's talk about links for example. Are we talking about chain links, links in a fence, in a necklace or are we talking about building backlinks?
Understanding the context of the conversation is what’s going to help deliver better results. That’s really what Google is trying to do with the implementation of “RankBrain.”  There’s still a lot of unknowns around the new algorithm, or piece of the algorithm, but what we can start to understand is that this smart learning software is going to help place our content into context. It’s about developing the right content, for the right persona, that’s going to speak to them. So content is extremely important to SEO.
The last piece is links. Backlinks is still the number one ranking indicator when it comes to ranking your site for a specific term. Linking has gotten a little bit of a bad edge, over the years with people saying "linking is all black hat tactics". The truth is you can actually build links the white hat way. You can request links or encourage links from people who really could benefit from your content. You’ve probably seen some posts about outreach emails to use for link building. There are a  number of other link building tactics you can do that are very white hat, you know looking for the appropriate directories, making sure that your site is in the appropriate organizations, not putting your site in irrelevant places. Again context is key to link building. You have to understand where you're linking to and what the right conversation to have around that link is and how it points back your site. Google knows all that stuff, they can read all that stuff, so if you just put a bunch of spammy links out there you're going to get crushed. Penguin is now part of the algorithm so it’s being updated continually. Google is constantly looking for ways to get rid of link and  web spam out there so make sure that you're building the right links, that you’re earning links by developing good content which is contextualized around your user and you will start to see some success with SEO.
If you have any other questions related SEO, Inbound or Web Design feel free to comment below and as always you can shoot me an email at Hope you enjoy this episode. I will see you on the next episode of the SMA Marketing Minute.
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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works have also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

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