By Paul Morris
I believe in user centric search marketing i.e. optimise Search engine marketing for the user, not for keywords.
When optimising for Search you need to understand: your target market personas (create characters to represent different user types within your target demographic), what motivates them to search and what is truly important to them.
So if you are targeting males, 18-45 earning less than £30k per year who are after direct goal satisfaction (see below) then that should stimulate the Search marketer to target certain keywords, use relevant meta descriptions to get the user to click and then use relevant messaging and imagery to convert. Remember that real world activity and interests drives search behaviour hence do not become obsessed and consumed by search volume, competition and keyword ranking difficulty. Become obsessed by the mindset of your target audiences.
Then next up is ensuring you couple personas with ‘search mode’. I.e. what mindset are your personas in?
1/ Result – This one is simply about direct goal satisfaction e.g. book a train ticket, buy a jumper for dad’s birthday, find out a specific statistic, etc
2/ Research – It takes time to garner the right answer, whether that be the best option to satisfy a need, the best option to satisfy a desire or the best answer(s) to understand an issue.
People are increasingly sophisticated with their search queries and search behaviour hence why they spend time on a multitude of sites looking at general reviews, seeking out personal reviews and delving into Universal Search (shopping, video, images, news, blogs, etc).
3/ Reconnaissance – Whether this is on something that really floats your boat or simply passes the time of day whilst stood in a supermarket queue people are looking for the new and truly interesting.
It must also be remembered that not only will Search be affected by social search, Search will be impacted by all digital mediums (see my logo) and affected by evolving ways of searching. These evolving ways of searching was highlighted in one of my recent posts on ipad tablet usage that showcased brilliant new ways of searching such as the innovative bing app or the Flipboard app that brings boring RSS feeds to life.