Don’t Forget the Human Part of SEO

February 24, 2023

If your web or blog content isn’t attracting customers, you should know the search engine likely isn’t your enemy—it may be your content. Your goal is to be found by people, right? Well, SEO exists to help them find you. Search engines have increased in sophistication and continue to evolve, and they almost exclusively focus on user experience as their primary driver, and you should too. Below are a few best practices to keep in mind when creating content strategies for your brand:

Strong SEO rankings are based on authority, not keyword stuffing

While organic search machines like Google use algorithms to serve the most relevant content based on search queries, it’s crucial to consider all the factors used to evaluate webpages: Authority, Relevance and User Experience.

The algorithm’s end goal is to engage the user and serve reliable information that best satisfies their search. Some brands try to capitalize on this by cramming as many SEO keywords in the copy as possible. This approach usually generates content that sounds unnatural and doesn’t resonate with the audience. That disconnect will lead users to click off your page, and Google will penalize your site’s quality score due to high bounce rates—making your rankings worse. Avoid stuffing by following the 2% rule: keep keyword density to about two percent of the total number of words on the page.

Write content that answers the questions people are (or aren’t) asking

Have a good understanding of the problem you’re solving for your audience and make that the focus of your web copy. Concentrate on the clearly defined customer benefit of your product or service. In the B2B space, this often looks like offering guidance and insight related to what audiences search for. If you can produce thought leadership content that helps people recognize a problem, approach, or solution they didn’t know they needed, you earn merit in your industry and gain the trust of the prospects who learned something from your site.

Consider your prospect’s search intent and what they’re likely looking for. Take the time to do effective SEO keyword research and you’ll often find these keywords are rooted in what your customers are searching and the questions they’re asking—not necessarily the terms (or product descriptors) that your organization uses internally. Write copy that is engaging and helps address a problem related to what they were looking for.

Keep mobile users in mind

Appealing to humans instead of machines goes beyond conversational copy. You need to consider your audience’s behavior. What device are they most often searching on? People make purchasing decisions in between other tasks, like while waiting in line or shopping at the store. Deemed micro-moments, these intent-driven opportunities have a great influence on users and can be used to your advantage. Consider these findings:

  • Of smartphone users, 91% look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task.2
  • Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.2

Just like B2C, B2B buyers do extensive research before pulling the trigger. Statistics reveal 60% of B2B buyers say mobile played a significant role in a recent purchase and a whopping 50% of B2B search queries happen on smartphones. Buyers are looking for good experiences online, no matter the setting. Keeping in mind a holistic SEO approach, mobile-friendly content will improve your user experience as more and more people make in-the-moment decisions using their smartphones. Make it easy for your time-constrained B2B buyers by offering up at-a-glance info like FAQs, product demos and cost breakdowns.

Your goal is to get found and convert visitors into eventual customers

As technology evolves, so do the ways people use it. Younger generations are turning to user-generated content they deem more trustworthy (e.g., Reddit, TikTok) as their primary search method because they are looking for social proof. People want to know others have had positive experiences before they take the plunge. This trend led Google to launch the Helpful Content Update last year, which pushes user-generated content over media created for search engine algorithms. Their advice to content creators doesn’t stray from the long-standing best practice: create people-first content.

Dig deeper to find real ways to demonstrate the real benefit they’re missing, your depth of knowledge or your experience in the market to connect with your audience and influence their perception. If you can teach your audience enough to help them achieve their goals, you’re more likely to build credibility and trust, and eventually, convert them into customers down the line.

Ensure your message is resonating and be willing to adapt

As Google continues to tweak its algorithm in 2023, don’t get bogged down by relative metrics, like SERP rankings and organic search traffic. Those parameters are everchanging, so instead, determine what is critical to your organization (lead-gen, branded traffic, asset downloads, etc.) and focus on how those criteria are performing.

Be diligent and fluid. Study the content that outranks your specific-keyword pages to learn the major differences and analyze your competitors to reveal any gaps or weaknesses. Uncover your competitors’ winning strategies and modify your content to be more competitive. Remember, the goal is to reach your target audience and make them act, so tweaking your message frequently to get more engagement can help generate better results in the long run. Taking note of your competitive landscape, coupled with valuable online SEO-specific tools can significantly improve your SEO strategy and execution.

If you need a proven partner to lean on and enhance your web copy and content strategy, get in touch with the Modo Modo team.

2 Google/Ipsos, “Consumers in the Micro-Moment,” March 2015