How many of you have run a business but have difficulty reaching your potential customers? How many of you have tried to use SEO or search engine optimization to reach that goal and build a solid SEO foundation? Even so, just using SEO does not necessarily always guarantee that you will get there. There are certain steps to follow if you really want to ensure your content gets its message to your potential customers.
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.
To build a solid SEO foundation, it is absolutely paramount that you understand your customers. Look at problems from their perspective and only then can you build this map for them. Schedule a 15-minute meeting with at least 5 of your current customers. Sit down with your current customers and build a map of their journey:
Find the Challenges What challenges did your customers encounter before even reaching out to look for help? Get a clear picture of their problems that brought them to search for you.
How Did They Attempt to Solve These Challenges? After they identified their challenges, what did they do next? Did customers begin their search to solve their problems on social media? Did they use Google as their main search engine? What words or phrases did they type into the search engine? This will help you list down the keywords/phrases and help to start building the initial platform of your foundation.
Your Product/Service How did your customers reach your product or service? What did they do on your website that brought them from visitor to customer/contacting you? What is their feedback on this process? You want to determine if there were any barriers for them so you can adjust, and what they liked best so you can continue that.
Beyond Purchase How do your customers like to interact with your website now that they are customers? Do they visit often? Do they enjoy membership areas/blog posts you've provided for them? Are there areas for improvement or opportunities for more interaction? Remember, as a general proportion, 80% of your business will come from your existing customers.
Customer interaction like this is crucial for building your SEO foundation. What better way to know about the thoughts and wants of the customers than from the customers themselves? It is essential that you are aware of the challenges your customers often experience and what they search for, whether through Google or any other search engine, while looking for your business.
You should also be aware of which social media platform your potential customers are more familiar with, and the style of content they prefer and interact with.
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.
Do you lack the extra time to organize these customer insight meetings? Dharana Digital may be able to help. Chat with us now.
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 a built-in filter. So where exactly do you start? This is where you can follow the build your customer journey. Sit down with your customers. What problems did they have that created a need for a water bottle with a built-in filter? Are they more health-conscious or do they have specific allergies? Are they simply the type of consumer who likes to try new things?
Align these challenges with your product and figure out which of their problems you are solving with your product features. Look into the keyword search, what style of website they find attractive and understandable, and what information they value ( prices, warranty, color and size) when looking at these types of 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 can use the same insight to speak directly to the customer's challenge and their journey effectively.
All this thoughtfully created and studied content will 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 allow for a seamless experience for your website visitors and 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. SEO can help to align everything according to your business goals 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 step that will lead them to you.
That's it. We hope you found this helpful and now have a clear idea of where to start in terms of building your brand's SEO foundation. Good luck!