The “Right” SEO Mindset
For many business people, designing a strategy to attract customers via search engines can appear like an overwhelming task. Google, it seems, is a black box that constantly tweaks the rules and protects the factors they use to rank web pages in the same vault that houses the formula for Coca-Cola.
Yet, the best search marketers do this everyday. Not only do they know where to begin, but they constantly come up with new search opportunities that seem obvious in hindsight. The websites they work on swell in search engine traffic and capitalize on opportunities that cause their competition to swear that they have a crystal ball.
What do they know that you don’t?
Besides some additional training and experience, I would bet that the biggest difference between the most successful search marketers and everyone else is having the right SEO Mindset.
What is the SEO Mindset?
The right SEO Mindset opens you up to constantly identify new search opportunities and quickly envision ways to take advantage of them. This state of mind illuminates seemingly infinite ways of attracting customers by answering their questions and engaging them in ways others never think of.
Understanding the SEO Mindset should be fairly obvious if you understand modern SEO. But just in case, let’s look at it a different way: how much time do you spend trying to help Google?
Odd question, right? This is something I think about all of the time as an Internet marketer. My philosophy is that helping Google accomplish its goals is a far more useful and sustainable strategy than trying to game the system or take advantage tactics that may become obsolete tomorrow. That’s because I am in the right SEO Mindset.
As we have covered before, search engines are products and their success is measured by how quickly they can help searchers find the right answers or solutions to their queries. Google wants their customers to find answers within a click or two and you, as a marketer, can simultaneously help them, help your customers and help your business.
The right SEO Mindset is like the win-win approach in negotiating, or like one-plus-one-equals-three math.
But, let me point out that you can actually have the wrong SEO mindset. An SEO mindset is not about short term tactics or technical exploits that take advantage of a flaw in the algorithm. The wrong thought process schemes up ways to beat the system or artificially trick search engines into ranking some spammy content only to pad your pockets. This mindset will leave you constantly scrambling to recover each time Google catches up with you.
Developing the SEO Mindset
This type of awareness can be developed and refined with a little practice.
It starts by understanding how we use search engines today, and how that might change in the coming years. Search is how we discover new places, products, ideas and how we collect the information we need to accomplish our goals and solve our problems. Your search history is just as likely to contain questions like “how to invest after retirement” as it is to contain simple product searches such as “financial advisors.”
Even the most prolific searchers can still overlook this when it comes to designing a strategy for their own business and limit themselves to simply describing their products and services. Remember that there are many types of keywords, most of which fall into two main categories: descriptor keywords and problem keywords.
The second part of the equation is knowing the language your prospective customers are using at various points in the buying process. This can prove surprisingly difficult for those of us who have been in an industry for many years and are actually blocked by our own expertise. New adopters of your products or services are unlikely to describe their problems or the solutions they are exploring with the compact and articulate phrases that experts use daily.
If you can supplement a strong knowledge of how search works with an intimate understanding of the questions and prejudices that your prospective customers hold true, you will be equipped with the right SEO state of mind.
Shift your thinking away from how to get rankings for your products and towards how to help your best prospects and you might be surprised by how many inspirational ideas you come up with that will magnify your search efforts.
How to use your new SEO Mindset
Here is the biggest takeaway I want to impart: having the best answers to your customers biggest problems and greatest desires is the heart of a sustainable search strategy. The best search marketers make a commitment to consistently serve their customers curiosities and interests and they develop new content specifically to do that.
That content can come in the form of web pages, blog posts, social media, videos, worksheets and other tools. The more diverse, the better. Google exists to connect people with that kind of content. Only once you understand and master that does any of the technical SEO stuff do any good.
Develop a habit of thinking like your customers and being on the lookout for new content opportunities to help them. It’s about constantly asking yourself if there is some other way to answer your customers questions and concerns; identifying new things they might be curious about; and developing the very best content around those topics. This, by the way, will make you a better marketer in general.
Don’t stop brainstorming about a common question or objection just because you have answered it one time in your FAQ pages. There are many different personality types, and some of them will be hungry for statistics while others might need a good story to be won over. Within your customer base, there will be a number of different prejudices and past experiences that might need to be addressed; the prospect new to your product has different beliefs and buying criteria than a prospect who has been doing business with your competitor for a decade. Some people like to watch video, while others like to read and want to vet some of the sources you are basing your value proposition on. Over time, you have the ability to address all of this in a myriad of mediums.
Marketers who have developed the SEO Mindset will be best suited for identifying and solving these search opportunities. Make a commitment to serving your customers curiosities and interests. When you are open to new opportunities to attract customers by serving their curiosities and answering their questions, they will present themselves.
. . .
This blog post was adapted from The Bootstrapper’s Guide to SEO.