Chris Peters's Blog

SEO improves the experience of searching for information

July 26, 2007

Searchers are looking for you, almost as if they had a magnifying glass

Most web users turn to Google or Yahoo! to find information or products that solve their problems. Spam aside, qualified searchers want to find you! It is up to you as a search marketer to be the hero and make it so that you can be found in these search engines.

Matching your content to searchers’ problems (in their own terms)

This one is simple. Searchers choose their own words when they search, not your words. If you think products on your site should be described as “precious stone human waste receptacles,” and you use that wording, then you have a problem. Your users are calling your products “marble toilets.” But Google thinks your site is about stone human waste receptacles. Your users want to find you, but they won’t!

There is a side benefit to optimizing your content based on searchers’ language. It forces you to describe things the way your customers do. In most cases, this makes your content more usable, understandable, readable, and guards marketers against using confusing marketing wow-wow on your site. Be sure to use these customer-friendly words in logical places so you don’t confuse the customers.

Your SERP listings matter too

SEO doesn’t stop at ranking well for keywords in Google. How your result looks in the search engine result pages (SERPs) will determine if the right qualified searchers click through to your result.

Which of these 2 results do you think would make me want to click through for a search I ran for “huggy bear t-shirts”?

  1. Shop - t shirts: Gotcha t shirts: Gotcha t-shirts

    t shirts: Gotcha t shirts - Gotcha t-shirts, Gotcha apparel, t-shirts, snowboard clothes, Curios George (1). Doctor Who (2). Goonies (1). Huggy Bear (2) - 96k


    Find STARSKY & HUTCH - HUGGY BEAR - *XL* OFFICIAL T-SHIRT in the Clothes, Other Starsky & Hutch T-Shirts also Available - Please see my other items or… - 93k

The second result I listed above does a much better job of giving me the information scent of what I’m searching for. Sure, if I’m a searcher desperate to find the shirt after clicking through some low quality results, I may click the first one eventually. But competition is fierce, and the first page of results on most search results are not crowded with bad listings anymore.

This is a tough one because how your listing appears in the SERPs is not directly under your control. But with some SEO, you can influence it.

Written by Chris Peters, your friendly neighborhood digital marketing professional with over 20 years of experience of web design, programming, SEO, and marketing.