home Digital, Marketing Why SEO can harm your customer experience!

Why SEO can harm your customer experience!

In the pursuit of Google rankings the customer experience is often neglected. Most people are aware that certain SEO practices will do more harm than good. However, even legitimate SEO practices may hurt your brand. SEO campaigns that focus primarily on keyword rankings and visitor traffic may come at the expense of relevancy and the customer experience.

Too much focus on keyword rankings and traffic

Most SEO projects start with keyword research. Traditionally, keyword research for SEO is focused on the amount of traffic and the level of competition for a particular search term that relates to a particular product, service or topic. The most desirable keywords to include are those deemed to offer the greatest traffic for the least amount of competition. Content and backlink strategy are then developed to target those keywords.

This focus on keywords and attaining high Google rankings can negatively impact on the relevancy and level of customer engagement offered by a website. Content is written around keywords not on topics that can connect customers with an organisation’s unique value proposition. Pages are presented to visitors that aren’t that relevant to their enquiry.

Ultimately, the visitor has a negative experience and the business loses a potential customer.

Optimising around the Customer

An SEO content and linking strategy should be built around improving the customer experience.

• What information do they need when they come to your website?
• What issues are they looking to resolve?
• What factors will influence their buying decisions?
• What Call-to-Actions (CTAs) do they need to follow?

Keyword research and google rankings are still important but they must be closely aligned and relevant to the target audience and content strategy. Keywords should not be selected purely on the amount of traffic they may generate. It’s their relevancy that drives conversions and engagement with customers.

Measuring metrics that are connected to real business goals

There’s little value in generating high Google rankings and a huge volume of traffic to your website if they do not connect with real business goals, such as:• Sales and lead generation
• Brand Awareness
• Improve support
• Attract quality talent

SEO is about attracting the right people to your website from search engine results. Attracting 100 people to you site who engage with your brand and buy products and services are more valuable to the business than 10,000 visitors who spend half a second before leaving.
People can get caught up on bounce rates, click thru rates, impressions or a host of other web and SEO statistics. These metrics can be useful in helping to achieving a website’s goals but they should not be the goals of the website or the SEO project.

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.