How many of you have run a business but could not pick the right plan to reach your potential customers? How many of you have taken help of SEO or search engine optimization to reach that goal? Even so, just using SEO does not necessarily always guarantee that you would get there. There are certain steps to follow if you really want to ensure your content gets its message to the potential customers of your business.
So what’s the first step to building a solid SEO foundation?
When you try to answer this question, there are many items to tick off the list: Building a user-friendly website, putting in the correct keyword/phrases that your customers search for, what external links/social media can maximize your business reach and many more. But what sequence do you follow and where do you start? So much information to gather and so many steps to follow can get a little congested at times but there is a simpler way.
If you intend to build a solid SEO foundation, you should know it doesn’t start with any of the aforementioned steps. It doesn't start on your website, it doesn't start on Google, it doesn't start on social media.
It starts offline by talking directly to your customer. Sit down with your customer and get to know them, try to understand their problems better than they understand them themselves. This is the first and foremost important step that are oftentimes overlooked to focus on other areas instead. Many businesses spend hours building the perfect website, connecting to Google and advertising links on social media, without having adequate information about their customers, who hold the future of their business.
So what do we do next?
‘Put yourself in their shoes’- Jesse Harrison's saying applies perfectly here.
Build a map. Where do they start? Understand their search to find a solution for their problem.
To build a solid SEO foundation, first you have to know your customers, look at problems from their perspective and only then can you build this map for them .
It doesn't just stop here. The aim is to go through the process entirely. Not just the major problems. Any other problems they are facing in the following stages is to be addressed with equal importance. What other problems are they trying to solve in the next stage? What solutions are they searching for? What solutions could possibly be the most effective?
Then the next stage? Same thing - what types of words are they searching for? What do they need and finally how do they reach your product or service? You have to be certain that your potential customers find a way to reach you most conveniently. To verify this, the first task is understanding what they are looking for. This will help you list down the keywords/phrases and help to start building the initial platform of your foundation. And what better way to know about the thoughts and wants of the customers than from the customers themselves? Hence, it is essential that you are aware of what your customers search up whether in Google or any other search engine while looking for your business. You should be aware which social media platform your potential customers are more adapted with, and what style and content they prefer.
Complete this full map of the customer’s journey at every stage and beyond purchase. By this point, you know who your customers are, what their problems are, what they search for, and how your products/services can reach them most effectively.
Then you can bring all of this information to SEO and now when you develop your website, your social media and your relationship with Google, you know exactly what to plug in based on the research you've done with your actual customer. Letting experts take hold of the gear at your convenient price could also be a wise option you might want to consider.
A practical scenario
Now, let’s consider this: Suppose you sell water bottles. Now, your business is launching a new ‘F-10 water bottle’ which has an in-built filter. So exactly from where do you start? This is where you ought to follow the aforementioned steps. Know your customers, learn their problems, align them with your product and figure out which of their problems you are solving with your product features. Look into the keywords search, what style of website they find easy and understandable, what information they look for ( prices, warranty, color and size) when looking at your products.
Now with all this information from your customer, you can build your website accordingly that is going to attract your target market, put in the effective keywords and phrases throughout the content to make it easily recognizable for search engines. In addition, social media advertisements, promotions leading to your page and other external links will make it accessible for your customers to know about your products and offers just by a click. All this thoughtfully created and studied content would ensure that search engines like Google promote your website when your customers are looking for your products.
The aim of SEO
The whole purpose of SEO is to structurally plan content. This content ensures that your business achieves maximum reach to potential customers using Google or any other search engine. However, it is not always easy for a business alone to navigate its way to reach its customers. This is where SEO comes in and takes control. It aligns everything solely on your business rather than focusing on many things at once. This makes it easier for you to know how to design, approach and reach customers, creating a narrowed down path for them and hence making things more simple and less congested.
Although SEO itself is known to provide a clear one-way path for your customers, you have to know the process of building a solid SEO foundation that doesn't crumble down when hit with many different tasks/barriers. And this solid SEO foundation can only be built when you know your potential customers accurately and are aware of their each and every steps that will lead them to you.