Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said: “If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing”.
Being liked and being respected are two different things when it comes to business.
When it comes to SEO, many companies focus on the customer service they deliver, signaling proximity, while others highlight more practical aspects of the business.
So, what do you want your SEO to say about your brand? That you can provide a fast and reliable service? Or that you care deeply about every single on your customers.
Maybe a bit of both?
Understanding which approach to take when it comes to marketing your business can lead to a more effective SEO strategy.
EMPATHY AND SEO
The key to successful website optimization is offering value to people who are searching for information online.
Google’s primary purpose is to connect an individual with the exact answers they are looking for.
And in order for YOUR website to rank highly, you will need to be the ANSWER that an individual is looking for.
Regardless of your niche, if you can answer a question BETTER than your contemporaries, search engines are more likely to notice your pages and place you at the TOP of their search results for that particular query.
Ask yourself this when creating content for your pages: What question is this single post answering?
You will need to understand your customers better than your competition in order to succeed in this game.
How can you do this?
Remember – you should know your customers better than anyone else. If you don’t, carry out some research to find out who your ideal customers are, the type of information people are looking for and how they got to your pages.
This will help you connect with your audience on a deeper, more intuitive level.
To emphasize with your audience even further:
Engage with your customers for SEO research
Ask them directly about their user experience with your site, and then act accordingly.
Turn their questions into ANSWERS
For example, if you own a toy shop business in Chicago and one of the most popular search queries that lead people to your pages was “Where is the nearest toy shop”, use this information when creating title tags.
“The BEST Toy Shop in Chicago – Tim’s Toys”.
Not only have you answered the question, but you’ve created a short and snappy title tag that will look great on the SERP.
Don’t just rely on Google’s keyword tool
When trying to understand the searching habits of your customers, have a look around. Moz Pro Tools, SEMRush and Raven Tools are neat tools when monitoring and improving your search data.
HitTail dives into Google’s keyword data and provides suggestions on which topic to tackle next in your content campaign.
Don’t fight alone
Remember – the key to improving the online experience for your customers is by building relationships.
Engage in online conversations, respond to complaints on third-party review websites and thank your customers when they have made a purchase by sending a personalized automated email.
Humans are social creatures
Using social media can be a great way to connect with your customers much more regularly.
You will be able to comment on their content, they’ll be able to comment on yours, and you’ll be able to improve the consumer-business relationship.
Crack a joke or two
Ever wondered why LOLcats and alike get more shares and engagement than a “serious” post?
HUMOR is a great ice-breaker, so sprinkle some FUNNY in your content and it is likely to be shared and commented on by your audience.
Funny dogs, memes, GIFs, old-school references… you get the picture. Just add a bit of SPARKLE to your copy to see better click-throughs.
Remember that bodyless Matt Cutts?
Terms like “money-back guarantee” don’t really cut the mustard anymore, and you should opt for less generic terms when describing your refund policies.
Instead, focus on the service your customer can expect from you and how your guarantee directly affects THEM.
Dealing with negativity
Here you will need to empathize and use language that shows you understand and care for their predicament.
Something like “I understand how frustrated you are and I’m sorry” [before explaining how you are going to rectify the situation] can really work wonders, and can improve your standing on third-party review websites.
You do check your profiles on YELP and alike, don’t you?
STAYING DOWN TO EARTH
As well as emphasizing with your customers, you will need to stay realistic.
And your customers want to find a solution to their problem.
And although improving customer experience is directly linked to profit, you’d have no customers at all if you weren’t PRACTICAL in your SEO approach.
Realize that it may be impossible to respond to every single query on your social media pages, especially if your business is growing, and you lack the resources to do so.
Which is a good problem to have.
If you know of a problem that will affect several customers (for example a particular item is out-of-stock and will be delayed by a few days), make sure you update your social pages immediately.
Manage your customer’s expectations – don’t advertise your company as being able to provide a service when you just can’t deliver.
Can’t provide next-day delivery? Then don’t include it in your meta-description! Inaccurate information can definitely harm your SEO strategy in the long run.
Include a Frequently Asked Questions page on your site and make sure you have all bases covered. Providing information on your prices, shipping, returns, and refunds procedures can limit the number of customer service queries that you receive by email or over social media.
Remember, your goal is for people to share, like, and comment on the POSITIVE aspects of your business on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus – WITHOUT being bogged down with comments about where a customer’s order is.
BE EMPATHETIC OR STAY DOWN TO EARTH?
Be yourself (warts and all).
People will love you for your originality and the fact that they can identify with your brand.
If you try to satisfy everyone , you’ll cater to no one and scare off your core customers.
When it comes to communicating with your customers, it’s important to strike a balance between creating an empathetic brand and a down to earth business.
YES, you will need to connect with your consumers on a much deeper level when it comes to customer service policies.
This is the new SEO.
However, the most successful corporations in the world didn’t get rich by thanking every single one of their millions of customers.
Concentrate on keeping your customers happy without diverting your attention from core aspects of your business.
And make sure your SEO reflects both to unfold your true SEO potential.