Building SEO Into A Product - Simple Tips From Semalt
One mistake many companies make is that they establish their products or system then consider SEO as an afterthought. One of the cheapest and most effective ways to get the most from your SEO efforts is by building SEO with and into your products. from the onset, SEO should be something you prioritize.
Here is a quick guide on how Semalt can help blend your SEO efforts into your products.
We are often asked how it is that we can grow the traffic flowing into our client's sites exponentially. Well, there's no straightforward answer to this question, and that's because it is a comprehensive question. One point we try to make is that organic traffic from products tends to produce a better result than traffic from content marketing.
SEO works much better when you leave the content creation with the best of the best. But for content to be as effective as you'd like, SEO shouldn't stop at your content. It needs to deeper. It needs to be in your products. Now, companies that have understood this secret have been able to grow their inbound traffic exponentially.
What do we mean by "Building SEO into products?"
Imagine SEO as the plumbing of a building; there are at least two ways to go about it. The first and most used method is to lay the pipes as the construction progresses. Many prefer this method as it makes things a lot easier at the end of the day. The other process is that the building gets completed before the walls are broken to pass pipes.
Now from the narration above, you get a clear picture of the benefits of considering SEO from the beginning of production. Hence, building SEO into products means we help you develop a product with SEO every step of the way.
We consider the user intent, the nature of the content surrounding the product, define a scalable architecture, and more.
At scale, products with SEO embedded in them inspire and produce indexable and ultimately valuable content. In general terms, we can classify products as closed or open:
- Closed products: these keep the user experience grated.
- Open products: these allow users to experience a part of the product value before signing up.
It is essential you understand this as not all products can expose some part of their value.
Some business models make it difficult to build SEO into their models. That is because their business strategy doesn't rely on SEO to succeed. For example, non-software products wouldn't count on software to be successful.
Our point here is that these products can be just as successful or even more successful when they leverage SEO. In the end, all methods try to attain success.
On the other hand, we have products like Amazon, Trello, and Pinterest who have already built SEO into their DNA. Each of these franchises has different business models, but they all leverage SEO, and this allows them to grow on a significant scale.
The notion, another company that has SEO built into its products, could have chosen to close their product experience. However, they decide not to and allowed unsubscribed users to gain access to notes, boards, or pages. These features are publicly visible and indexable by search engines.
How does it work?
There is no fixed process for developing products. Since every brand and product is unique in its own way, not everyone can follow the exact same steps. Instead, we rely on a set of guidelines and principles that help us not only make your products great but also enable them to stand out.
These guidelines include:
- Achieving a good market fit
- Building something the large market wants
- Solve real pressing problems
- Providing an excellent user experience
When building SEO into the DNA of products, we ask ourselves one core question, "what are the features we can expose to search engines that will satisfy our target user's search intent?" being able to tie the value of a product feature to intent is a valuable resource in the execution of this task.
One of the frameworks we consult when taking on this challenge is Jobs to Be Done by Clayton Christensen. He was a Harvard professor, an author, and the developer of the disruptive innovation theory. In his book, we understand that, in its entirety, it is a framework to help everyone, including SEO experts, understand consumer behavior.
While conventional marketing is focused on market demographics or product attributes, Clayton's Jobe Theory goes beyond that. He dives beyond the superficial categories to expose other, more in-depth functional, social, and emotional dimensions to consumer behavior. This gives a more detailed explanation of why consumers act the way they do.
People don't simply buy products or services; they do so because they expect it to bring some form of progress to their lives. He called such progress the "job" they are trying to get done. Understanding this has opened our minds to a world of many innovation possibilities.
How can we build SEO into a product?
Here is a quick step by step guide on how we blend SEO and your products.
Identify the jobs that need to be done
When building SEO into a product, we must first understand the purpose (job) of that product. Doing this is very critical to solving the problem that the product was designed to solve. However, we also pay attention to the other issues that can be solved by the product.
We make a table from the most pressing problem to the least critical issues your product has been designed to solve.
Matching product content with exposable content
We will develop your product content by creating or aggregating your content to allow searchers to locate them through search engines. We often relate this to user-generated input. It includes reviews, curations, posts, boards, etc.
For example, we create a review panel or poll so that we can gather data, visualize the data collected, and expose it to search engines. We can also create local inventories for local services or shoppable stock for your e-commerce stores.
Defining the scalable taxonomy
We create a defined method of classifying your data or content. At this point, we've built a logical and scalable architecture out of categories, subcategories, instances, or products. We can also design a flat architecture, as you see on social networks that use hashtags.
In most cases, this step has been predefined by the established architecture or your product and how its users use it.
Decide how much user experience you are willing to expose
We consult with our clients to figure out how much user experience they may be helpful to tell in a useful way. Now we aren't saying you should give away the full product for free. However, evidence suggests that by giving a fraction of the features or services of a product, it becomes easier for users to value and then pay for the entire product.
Our goal here is to attract visitors with the exposed features and them making them wish they had the full experience.
Validate user intent
Finally, we validate your product serves its intended purpose and satisfies its users' intent. We ensure that the keywords we're targeting have enough search demand and show that we can solve the problem your target audience needs help solving.
Hard and soft requirements
When building SEO into products, there are certain hard and soft requirements. To attract organic traffic, we must be able to meet the hard requirements. The soft requirements, on the other hand, can be neglected. However, we like to do both as they will increase our chances of scaling SEO traffic quickly.
- Google must be able to render the publicly accessible pages.
- Valuable content must be contained in pages so they can rank. So we do not feature thin contents.
- Pages that are to be indexed on Google's SERP shouldn't be indexed. Google doesn't appreciate it when a page leads users to another search engine.
- Publicly exposable pages must be accessible and crawled by Google.
- At the end of the page, users should have been convinced enough to convert. This may be done by signing up for email newsletters, blog post notifications, etc.
- The content on the page should be created automatically or by users.
The goal of building SEO into a product is to leverage organic search into attracting new users. But it goes beyond that. It also involves convincing users to sign up for products and adding value to the products. This leads to more content and sign ups from users.
To ensure the success of SEO, we must approach it from a holistic POV. For SEO to be successful there must be organic growth where the growth of SEO influences the growth of the business and vice versa.