80% of people begin their journey to a website through the query on a search engine. Once they type in specific keywords, 46% click on the #1 website listed in organic search. To show you, here is a brief :30 clip.
In this controlled video test, called a “heat map,” people use keywords to search for an unmet need and then click on the website that best meets their need. The blue circles are the mouse movements of many individual searches and the hot colors represent where the most activity occurs.
Conclusions are: 1) Know the most relevant keywords for your business or brand and 2) get to a top position. But does that mean you should focus your attention on what might cause search engines to give you a top rank at the expense of writing for your audience? Never.
Here are 25 reasons to write for your audience before the search engines.
- Search engines are not mind readers
- Search engines can’t figure out who your target audience is
- Search engines don’t know where they spend time online
- Search engines can’t reach out to them
- Search engines don’t raise your rank until you start attracting an audience to your website
- Search engines can’t: 1) Be relevant, 2) educate and 3) persuade to increase your business as well as your rank
- Search engines are dumb. They don’t recognize what’s relevant. They recognize text patterns
- Search engines aren’t smart enough to know whether the text patterns are you talking to your audience or you talking to yourself
- Search engines don’t know if your text is written in a natural flow and reads well
- Search engines don’t know the difference between an introduction and a call to action
- Search engines can’t “link” your site with other influential sites to raise your rank by recognizing your website as an authority
- Search engine can’t ask your audiences for comments to more “links” and raise your rank
- Search engines can’t read your analytics to optimize the keywords and content that is raising your rank
- Search engines don’t recognize whether the audience coming to your site is there to: 1) research, 2) shop or 3) buy
- Search engines can’t share your content
- Search engines can’t speak your audience’s language or feel their pain
- Search engines can’t give your audience what they want
- Search engines can’t survey your audience so you keep improving your website and keep them coming back
- Search engines can’t install “breadcrumbs,” the navigation aid used in user interfaces to allow users to keep track of their locations within programs or documents
- Search engines can’t keep your content fresh
- Search engines can’t add testimonials or reviews which is the language of your audience and is similar to those who might be searching for your site
- Search engine can’t create and keep a customer
- Search engines can’t recognize advocates
- Search engines can’t reward your loyal customer
- Search engines can’t make your personality shine through. Your personality counts because people like to do business with people they know
Of course, for digital marketing, the search engine play a critical role but they will never take the place of good research, high levels of involvement and strong, well-written content.
I am fortunate to be teaching a “hands on” Mini-MBA in SEO, SEM and Web Analytics through Rutgers University and with two colleagues, Mike Moran and Tim Peter. Creating a content strategy and writing great content are an area of focus. If this is of interest, here are the details.
Will you be writing for your audience before the search engines?