SEO + UX Research - 4 Simple Steps to Create Happy Customers

Edward Wilson
Edward Wilson
April 5, 2018

Happy customers who tell others how much they like your brand.

A goal like this is something like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Its a wonderful idea, but getting there isn’t always easy.

SEO & UX research combine to give you a map to that pot of gold. They work together towards the same end goal. Here is the list of steps to get there.

Targeted content leads to happy readers

The key to creating happy customers is not as complicated as it's sometimes made out to be. 

Happy customers are built on a give-and-get relationship.

People are happy when they find what they are looking for. People are happy when they find exactly what they need. Give them the value they were searching for, and you get a happy customer. So how do you give them the value they were looking for?

Step 1 - UX research - know who your customers are

Here is where UX research comes in. Know who wants to use your product or service. Know what their roles are, what their pain points are, what stresses them out and what jobs they need to do. Know what their key decision nudges are, and know the things they see as red flags - key turn off signals that, as soon as they see one, they stop considering your product.

How to you get to know these things? Persona’s. Empathy maps. Journey Maps. Content maps, specific to each persona, mapped to the journey that persona takes. These are tools pulled from a UX tool kit. Use these to drive your SEO and to know what your customers value.

Step 2 - Harsh Editing - turn problems into words & phrases

Now you know what your customers search for at each stage of the journey. Here is where harsh editing comes in.

Harsh editing turns feel-good solutions into clear directions

You know the pain points your customer wants you to help them with. You’ve got some nice descriptions of your personas’ jobs-to-be-done and key decision nudges. Those descriptions look great. Now you take those pain point descriptions and distill them into the shortest possible phrases (or even down to single words). Those pain points, neatly summed into into the shortest soundbites you can make, now drive your content. They direct what you write about. They get embedded in your content. They literally become your compass, pulling you towards the content you need to write to create happy customers. They also provide the ideal base for SEO.

Step 3 - CRO methodologies - mapping keywords to the buyers’ journey

Now you have short phrases and words that capture what your customers are looking for. Great!

Its time to use conversion rate optimization (CRO) methodologies to squeeze the best performance out of your content.

Conversion rate optimization is all about having a clear picture of each stage of the buyers journey and what your customer needs to get to the next step. What friction points are stopping them, what education points do they need to learn to see the value in moving towards your conversion goal? You can use these concepts to create happier customers.

Use conversion rate optimization (CRO) methodologies to squeeze the best performance out of your content

Here’s how.

You map your customers’ paint points to the buyers’ journey. What pain points do they have at each stage of the buyers’ journey? Take your carefully distilled words and phrases and place them individually into where they belong on the journey map. When they are at the awareness stage, they are seaching for ‘how to create happy customers’. When they are at the interest stage, they know a bit more about your solution and are searching for ‘CRO methodologies’. And so on.

People will spend more time on your content (a great SEO ranking signal). You are almost done.  

Step 4 - SEO research - generating more keywords & more content

You are at the edge of creating customer delight, but there is one thing missing. Your customers can’t rave about how great your content is if they can’t find your content. Here is where pure SEO research comes in.

SEO research helps your customers find what they need at each stage of the conversion funnel.

It works like this. You’ve got a good idea about the keywords and phrases your customers use when searching for solutions, but those are your ideas. Now you take those keywords and phrases and apply something called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to them. Its a big phrase, but the phrase is unimportant. The idea is.

Search engines know that people use onpage SEO tricks like stuffing keywords into their <h1>, <title>, and <h2> tags in order to get their content surfaced. These trick the system. Google isn’t a huge fan of getting tricked, so it relies on LSI (among other things) to separate the good articles from the articles with empty keyword stuffing. LSI is hugely complex, and when people describe it they describe it in hugely complex ways, but the idea is pretty simple. Here it is.

What words / phrases co-occur with the words / phrases your customers search for?

If an article has a bunch of words / phrases that co-occur with what your customer is searching for, Google will rank your article high - even if you don’t have many instances of the exact keyword that is being searched. In plainer language, if your customer is looking for ‘flights south’, Google will surface sites that have phrases like ‘warm destinations’. “Warm destinations’ has none of the keywords in ‘flights south’, but because when people search for ‘flights south’, the phrase ‘warm destinations’ frequently co-occurs, Google knows that if your page has ‘warm destinations’ in it, it is likely very relevant to someone searching for ‘flights south’.

You can find those words that co-occur with your keywords at LSIgraph.

Summing up

Create content that is driven by the words and phrases that you find, map that content to stages in the conversion funnel, come up with words that co-occur, and you will have content that is exactly what your customer is looking for, when they need it. That process gives value to your customers. And it gets you happy customers. UX research is SEO research, and vice versa.

There are tools that can help you deliver great content. Automated tools, tools that take the stress out of organizing and delivering content to websites, apps, mobile devices, and social media feeds. The right CMS does that for you and lets you focus on the real challenge - creating content worth raving about. There are a variety of options to choose from - we think you will like Agility’s cloud based CMS. It’s worth a look.

You know how to create content that gives your customers value. Now go out there and start getting happy customers.

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