Web visibility matters to brands. We want to be found by consumers that care about our products and services. But, how do we maximize web visibility, and how important is a good understanding of our consumers to be found on the web?
In this article, I discuss:
- What is web visibility
- Why web visibility matters
- Content for different parts of the journey
- Using SEO strategies to understand people
- Techniques that work
- Understanding the customer journey
What is web visibility?
Web visibility, at its core, is about being found when it matters for your brand—and being found by the right customers. That includes showing up higher in search results when consumers search for the brand, products, and even related topics.
Also, keep in mind that what different people see on Google is personalized to them.
“When people say they want to rank on page 1 of Google, I ask ‘which page – which page are you talking about?'” said Crystal Carter, head of SEO communications at Wix. “The page that I see is different from the page you see. Because it’s all very tailored to the person searching, how they are searching, when they are searching, and where they are searching.”
Then use all this information to anticipate what they are expecting from you.
Why web visibility matters
Being found at the right time by the right people matters because it can help companies expand customer bases and become wider known. And, more importantly, become wider known to the right people. Once those people know the brand, they can consider buying from it.
The keys to web visibility
Basic search engine optimization techniques apply:
- Use the words that your potential customers use when searching for related topics or products.
- Create valuable content.
- Setup your site correctly on the technical side.
- Follow all best practices when it comes to navigational search.
Understanding your customer makes a big difference, too.
- What are their pain points?
- How do they find new brands, and how did they find you?
- What kind of content do they prefer to understand new techniques? Do they prefer watching a video or rather read an article or listen to a podcast?
Content for different parts of the customer journey
Crystal mentioned explaining new tactics, strategies, and even thought-leadership-type content in published content assets. She used the example of the maker of a new type of ice cream maker. They would want to:
- tap into the audience that currently buys ice cream makers
- appeal to people who are looking for different ways to make their ice cream
- explain why the making of ice cream is important
- And other related topics.
“You have to have those conversations before you try to sell them the ice cream maker,” she said. “When you think about SEO, you have to think about connecting with customers in many different parts of the customer journey.”
Using SEO strategies to understand people
“SEO is good because it gives you a lot of data,” Crystal said. “You have the information about people who have already converted, people who are referring to you, and can even get information on the people who aren’t referring to you but are referring to your competitors.”
We can also see what people are searching for. So, if we wanted to publish recipes for specific ice creams, we could look at what related terms people are searching for and then prioritize our content based on that data.
Aside from content, search data can also guide product development. For example, what if there’s a specific ice cream flavor that sees a ton of search traffic, but there are no good answers yet on how to make it. That’s an opportunity.
“Maybe we can make a recipe book around it or even a whole new product,” Crystal said. “You can use all this data to influence your content and the products.”
Techniques to consider
Some of the techniques that come to mind to see what consumers are talking about include:
- Review Google Trends, where you can see what topics are trending or are starting to trend.
- Monitor social media. What are people saying about your brand and related topics? Which social network is the best to monitor depends on your vertical, Crystal said.
- Review Google Analytics to see what content is of interest to people already and also what social media networks send the most referrals
- Use tools like SparkToro to determine who influences your customers
- Talk to customer-facing teams, including sales, customer success, and others. Find out what they are hearing.
- Run a video survey and ask for feedback.
Baristas in a cafe, for example, can hear repeated requests for products currently not offered. That’s an opportunity for the business to collate the information and potentially make product decisions based on repeated requests.
In the case of software, it might be an instance of listening to customers to understand how they want to sign up for pieces of their tech stack.
“We learned that market researchers, marketers, and product teams like to sign up for software on their own time,” said Andy Barraclough, CTO, and Co-founder, Voxpopme. “With that in mind, we launched the self-sign-up option. As a result, the entire user acquisition, expansion, and retention are completely driven by the user’s self-serve experience and relevant features.”
Crystal said the teams at Wix continuously interview customers.
“There are reams of customer interviews where we go and sit down customers and ask ‘how did you find us?’ how was the platform?’ and ‘what did you think?'” she said.
Measurements and connection
How we measure organic web visibility depends on the customer journey stage. This can range from:
- Search impressions
- Click-throughs from organic searches
- Social impressions
- Social clicks
- Consumption behavior on your website
- Return visitor activity
- Conversions on the website. Are people taking the conversations you want them to take? Those can include:
- Newsletter signups
- Product demos
- Additional content consumption – i.e., are they reading more content like on the blog or a product page.
“Make sure that whatever those conversion points are that they are connected with your overall business strategy,” Crystal said.
And make sure the different parts of the funnel are connected. Crystal remembers the case where her team was reporting a massive jump in leads. But other parts of the company didn’t notice the spike.
“Their funnel wasn’t connected through,” she said. “We were looking at all the metrics on the website, and we thought we were doing a fantastic job. Pat on the back. Gold star for us. But it wasn’t following through to the rest of the journey.”
Understanding the customer journey
Aligning the right metrics with the right parts of the customer journey is also important, added Jenn Vogel, SVP of marketing at Voxpopme and host of “Reel Talk.”
“You can’t ask people at the top of the journey to purchase,” Jenn said. “They are not ready. They don’t know what they are buying yet. So you can’t measure that as a success metric. You can’t ask, ‘well, did they convert?’ But, of course, they didn’t convert. They just discovered you.”
Crystal likened top-of-the-funnel consumers on your website to people who just entered a cafe for the first time.” As soon as somebody comes through the door, you don’t immediately go ‘what kind of latte do you want?'” she said. “You give them a minute to look at the menu, take in the vibe, let them see if they will sit down.”
Use the tools that work for you.
Crystal also mentioned picking the right tools for your business. For example, don’t make a chatbot that needs somebody to respond the centerpiece conversation if nobody can currently staff it.
“If you don’t think it properly through, it can be damaging,” Crystal said. “You’ll have people saying, ‘I emailed you, and you never emailed back.’ And nobody wants that.”
Web visibility is another way to stay connected with your consumers. And it’s a great way to stand out in crowded markets when done well. But, of course, it all starts with knowing who you want to reach and who your website is for.