Digital marketers were once told online content was as simple as ‘build it and they will come’. Create an article on a specific topic, a prospect searches for the answer to their burning business question, your content pops up at the top of the search rankings.
The reality, however, is much more complex than your ‘get rich quick’ marketing gurus would have you think.
The SEO game has evolved exponentially in the past few years. The lines between channels are blurring, consumers demand omnichannel experiences, and their overall online expectations are higher than ever before.
How exactly Google’s algorithm works is shrouded in mystery, but there are a few tricks of the trade that can help marketers get a foot up on the search and discovery ladder.
On-site search data: How does it fit into SEO?
When it comes to improving the search and discovery function of their website, marketing teams face two key considerations:
- How do you help users who don’t yet know about your business find it, so they can become customers?
- Once they land on your site or marketing materials, how do you optimize the journey so they easily discover relevant content that will increase their interest and drive higher conversions?
As digital marketers, we know it’s critical to understand exactly how customers discover brands, products, and services across their entire digital journey – and that starts with on-site search data.
Analyzing on-site search data is a great way to understand what your customers are interested in once they’ve already discovered your brand.
Search engines drive 300% more traffic to sites than social media
This also provides insight into keywords or search terms you didn’t even know customers use to describe your products – all valuable information that can provide more valuable fodder for your SEO strategy.
For example, have users landed on your website via an external link from an article related to a specific topic? If so, consider bolstering your own site’s content in this subject area. It will build authority in a field that’s clearly resonating with your target audience, and if the content passes Google’s Core Web Vitals and other SEO tests, then it’ll boost your search engine rankings in the process.
Search and discovery on WordPress: Are the analytics up to scratch?
Of course, acting on these insights relies on getting hold of the data in the first place. And that ultimately comes down to your analytics.
On WordPress, many marketing teams struggle to access the level of insight needed to make informed, data-driven decisions. The CMS’s analytics only allows marketers to track, compare, and segment against a limited number of datasets.
Plugins can help in the short term, but they can impact web performance, not to mention their high costs and resource demand for constant upkeep.
Digital experience platforms (DXPs) represent an alternative, long-term solution for marketers looking to group their various website management tools into a centralized location.
By bringing together disparate aspects such as analytics, content workflow management, and personalization tools into one place, marketers possess more control over their website and the digital customer experience.
And if they choose one that’s purpose-built to integrate with WordPress, they don’t need to mess around in the platform’s backend or bug their development team for site alterations they can now make themselves, easily and quickly.
Optimize based on results
So, armed with the right analytics, marketers now possess a better understanding of which results gain the most engagement or meet a conversion goal, meaning they can configure results and tweak rankings for relevance.
For example, certain segmented user groups may respond differently to varying combinations of text and image, text and video, or text only. With this knowledge, marketers can appeal to varying groups (for example, the elderly or those that are not digital first may be alienated by a one size fits all approach and respond better to video).
Using tools like ‘Experience Blocks’, marketers can assign these visitors to a specific audience segment, and present them with custom landing pages that prioritize video content.
With the right DXP, search can even be extended to include global functionality, which adds additional content indexes outside of your website domain – such as separate applications, text in PDFs, and partner content. These ‘deep links’ can enhance your ability to fulfill a customer’s expectations while remaining on your site.
Multilingual search: Why local language SEO matters
According to Statista, just over a quarter (25.9%) of all internet traffic is in the English language. Of course, for many marketers, their search analytics will be primarily set up in the English language.
However, what about the remaining 75% of traffic that’s carried out in the local language? By leaning too heavily on search analysis that only covers English, digital marketers could be missing out on a sizeable chunk of potential traffic.
Say, for example, a native German speaker is searching for a business-specific question in their local language, but is prepared to visit an English-language website to find a solution, is your website optimized to enable this journey? And if so, is your analytics even capable of showing you how/when/where this happened?
With voice becoming a more prevalent search function among users, focus on local language search will only increase. Indeed, according to Google, 20% of all voice searches are now carried out in the local language.
Using tools such as multilingual search – an in-built option across some DXPs – enables marketers to analyze user behaviour and traffic across multiple languages, to make sure the most relevant content possible is showing up when users search for content.
The most advanced multilingual search tools will even take into account subtle nuances between language types, such as Chinese, Japanese, or Latin-based. For example, in Latin-based languages, a space is typically used to split words, which marketers will often use to split up and identify keywords in a person’s search term.
However, in Japanese, there are limited spaces between words and characters. What’s more, Japanese can be written in three or four different scripts, meaning a single word or phrase can be presented in a number of different ways.
Without the right tools, these nuances can be extremely difficult to make sense of, but with multilingual search, marketers can better understand how and why visitors are arriving on their website, regardless of their location or language.
In SEO, the user comes first
As Google takes no pains to emphasize, page rankings are built around the success of user-focused metrics, which is why it’s so critical that marketers focus on making search and discovery all about enabling people to find the right content, at the right time, and in the right place.
That’s why, as digital marketers, it’s important not to become overly obsessed with technical matters, like reams of keywords. The focus should always be on the user and making the discovery phase as seamless and personalized as possible.
Want to improve the search and discovery experience for users on your WordPress website? We’d love to show you how.