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Developing Content For The Customer Journey

July 28, 2017


Keyword density was still a strong factor for ranking page content, and SEO professionals struggled with achieving SEO objectives while still providing an engaging content experience for the customer.Today, I still occasionally hear content requested and/or developed by my team referred to as “SEO content.”While it is easy to be offended, the fact is that there was a time in SEO where content quality was not our top priority, so we must own our past.Certainly Google, Bing, and Yahoo share part of the blame, as we were simply playing the hand we were dealt at the time.Google has since reshuffled the deck, and the hand we are dealt today requires that our content compete at a quality level.Now when I hear someone refer to content as “SEO content,” I take a deep breath, and I begin my education process.

SEO today is about user experience
Search experience optimization is focused purely on enhancing the customer journey.These days, a search query is often the starting point of that journey.Unfortunately, we rarely know the exact phrase or keyword the customer typed into that search box to start their journey, but we know the page they landed on when they reached our website.Based on data from Google Search Console, we know what keywords andphrases a page is ranking for, and we can therefore make a fairly educated guess as to what keywords the customer used to arrive on the page.

Identify gaps in the customer experience
The page keywords and phrases serve as our inventory of the customer intents, and this allows us to perform an audit to identify the gaps in our experience.What objectives may the customer have that our website experience fails to help them achieve?We map the various intents to each stage of the customer journey, then perform a gap analysis.The gaps define the work that needs to be done to optimize our website content for
the entire journey.

If you are a retailer, here are some common gaps we see:
*A path is broken, and the user is prevented from taking the next step in their journey.
*The customer has a question, and we have failed to provide the answer.
*We do not stock the product the customer is seeking.

The gap categories vary by site purpose and the defined intent.Each page and set of intents require a dedicated content plan.Gina Brock, our long-time content manager on the SEO team, consistently works through the barriers of content misconception.Her definition of what we need from our content creators helps redefine the SEO content stereotype: “When the search engines perceive the content as offering a value to the consumer, we’re naturally rewarded.What’s good for the consumer is good for SEO.”

SEO today means creating content for users
The next time you find yourself in a discussion about “SEO content,” put together a use case diagram outlining the potential intents.That will
illustrate that SEO is simply utilizing the information consumers provide Google to determine their content needs and that quality is defined
by how well the content serves the customer.You will be pleasantly surprised at how well future content requests are received.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy.His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.


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