Bringing Customer Value To Organic Search
Organic search strategies must evolve to deliver value to consumers at the right time.
The web has changed many of our preconceptions of marketing. The once naïve and easily swayed market segmented buyer has been replaced with a new type of consumer who is always “connected” and never willing to compromise. They possess instant access to a wealth of information both within the research phase but also at the point of purchase.
People are increasingly making web-informed decisions at multiple stages of the purchasing cycle; what research from Google calls “the Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT for short. It is the precise moment when they have a need, intent, or question they want answered online. Increasingly, it is becoming the job of digital marketers to be part of that conversation; no one more so than the modern SEO practitioner.
Over the past few years SEO has continued to come under pressure to deliver results in an increasingly difficult and complex environment. As digital channels mature, customers are demanding that brands deliver products that understand and meet the values of the customer’s reality.
Thinking Differently About Organic Search
To do this we need to think differently about elements of our digital strategy. Take reviews for example.
After recommendations from family and friends, reviews are the most trusted source of information online. Stats reveal that 47 percent of Britons have reviewed products online, which suggests there is no shortage of people ready to provide their opinions.
Reviews can eliminate any doubts potential customers may have about a product, help product selection, and ultimately increase conversions, something Kia have made the most of. Here’s what John Bache, Kia head of customer communications, had to say about reviews:
With customer research moving online, we wanted to adapt to that. We knew that customers were happy with our products, and we wanted to harness that. It was a leap of faith to some extent, but if people want to find reviews online they are there somewhere. We’d rather provide them and keep people on our site.
Traffic to the Kia website grew by 21 percent year-on-year as a result of the campaign, while visits to dealer websites rose by 72 percent. The power of delivering value to users can’t be ignored.
Harvesting reviews off site through software such as Reviews.co.uk or Reevoo to offer customers a third-party source of information on product satisfaction to help simplify the customer purchase decision. Using an independent third party the rewards can be even greater, Reevoo claims to deliver an average increase in conversion of 100 percent on reviews hosted with their external platform.
The role of SEO is to deliver this value at the search results level. Utilizing new technologies such as schema to deliver rich snippets within SERPs or third party platforms to display reviews can open us new doors that have been previously unexplored by many. Organic search tactics like this allow SEOs to deliver a strategy that can impact a greater number of potential buyers could be influenced within the purchase funnel from this early stage.
As Patrick Hong said in a recent article here on Momentology:
The challenge for brands will be to mobilize the resource, skills and technology needed to ensure sentiment within organic search and consumer review portals comes across not only in a positive way, but with a consistently exemplary level of recommendation.
Customer reviews are just one piece of the puzzle. There are a host of areas where organic search can be used to deliver value to the consumer, from strategic content placements and enhancing the visibility of PR outputs to optimizing load speed and the ease of customer journey, we can look beyond simple traffic generation and to solving customer problems with a view to conversion through value creation rather than “playing the numbers.”
If organic search is to continue to be a focus within digital strategy, we need to get smarter with our application; we need to start delivering value where it matters: the customer.