5 Ways SEO Can Improve Your Customer Experiences
When you think about search engine optimization, customer experience probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But believe it or not, many of the steps you’ll take to improve your SEO can also help you create better customer experiences.
Let’s talk about how SEO and customer experience are linked and how some of the steps that businesses take to improve customer experience help to improve SEO as well.
What Is Customer Experience?
Customer experience is the sum of all the experiences that your customer has across every touchpoint.
For example, when a customer visits a local retailer, their experience includes the process of discovering the store, making an appointment, the appointment itself, and return visits.
The best businesses are those that are able to differentiate themselves with great experiences. According to Gartner, more than ⅔ of companies are planning to compete on the basis of customer experience.
Plus, customers who feel that they’ve had a great experience are more likely to recommend your business. After a positive experience, 76% of customers are likely to recommend a business to friends.
How Are SEO and Customer Experience Linked?
SEO and customer experience are intertwined. You can’t think about SEO without customer experience. You can’t think about customer experience without SEO.
Google is always trying to give customers the best results no matter what they search. That applies whether you’re searching for “best apple pie recipe” or “best businesses near me”. When it comes to the latter search, the algorithm aims to take users to businesses that offer fantastic experiences.
While Google can’t tell how great your customer experience is directly, there are some metrics they can look at to try and infer if it’s good or bad.
It can look at the bounce rate to see if you are providing relevant answers to customer questions. It can look at your overall star rating to see how you’re doing delighting customers.
When focusing on SEO, it’s easy to focus on optimizing a page for search ranking. While that’s not a bad thing by itself, businesses often spend so much time optimizing that they forget about the bigger picture: customer experience.
So while technical SEO is important, it’s equally important that you keep the overall customer experience in mind. A balance between both of these concepts can lead to great results for your business.
5 SEO Methods That Improve Overall Customer Experience
SEO makes it easier for customers to discover (and revisit) your business
Even though people often think about customer experience in terms of actions that happen later on in the process, it’s important to remember that customer experience starts with the moment of first discovery. That means steps that you take to make your business more visible will help to improve your customer experience as well.
SEO helps make it easier for customers to discover your business on search engines. That makes it easier for potential customers to become aware of your brand and take the first step of the customer journey.
Creating great content
Businesses often create content that can help rank for relevant search queries. However, this content can also be used to help customers with relevant problems that they might be having.
For example, take a real estate business. The business can post blogs on how first-time homebuyers can find their price range, the types of houses they should be looking at based on their unique situation, and how much they should allocate for a down payment. If a homebuyer ever has questions about any of the topics, a team member can simply point them towards the resources on their own website.
There is one thing that you should keep in mind. Before you start creating content, remember that the key to great customer experience is consistency. When your team begins creating content, make sure everyone is on the same page with regard to tone, audience, and messaging.
Improving website navigation
Another component of a strong SEO strategy is making sure that your website has smart internal linking.
When you have a lot of internal links going to a particular page on your website, it shows Google that certain pages are more important. And of course, this structure also makes it easier for customers to find resources that can help them.
If you’re a retailer who sells mattresses, many of your articles that talk about subjects like “comfortable sleeping” and “falling asleep quickly” might link back to an in-depth article you have about “choosing the right mattress”. This will help the page rank higher in relevant search results but it also helps potential customers move further along the customer journey.
Reducing page load times
Anyone who’s been doing SEO knows that site speed is a big factor. The longer pages on your website take to load, the worse your chances of ranking high in search results.
Of course, bad page load speed doesn’t just hurt you with search engines. It hurts you with customers and leads as well. Trying to navigate a site that has terrible load time is not an enjoyable experience and is almost certainly going to lead to customers leaving your site before they’ve even begun their exploration.
Gathering and displaying great customer reviews
Customer reviews help businesses rank higher on local search. But they also help make the customer journey easier. After all, reviews show the authentic experiences of real customers.
First off, make sure that you’re collecting reviews. To do this, send review requests and emails that link directly to your profile on sites like Google My Business and Facebook. Not only does this give potential customers a better idea of the kinds of services you provide, but it also helps your business rank higher in search. According to Moz, reviews are the third-biggest factor determining a business’s local search ranking.
Of course, you shouldn’t stop at just collecting reviews. Make sure that you’re displaying these reviews on your website. Google does value this kind of user-generated content. If a customer is on the fence about trying out your business, the social proof from reviews might be the little push they need to take them over the edge.
While they might seem like separate concepts, SEO and customer experience are linked together. Companies need to make sure that they’re paying close attention to both. So when you’re taking the right steps to rank higher on search engines, always keep the customer in mind.
Dhiraj Nallapaneni is a Product Marketing Writer with BirdEye. Dhiraj writes blogs and creates webinars on the subject of collecting customer feedback and delivering fantastic customer experiences.