The best SEO tip? Get to know your customer!
I have spent many years doing SEO. From working in a highly regulated financial environment to a quaint little bed and breakfast in the Derbyshire countryside and yet it’s only recently that I’ve really found the importance of getting to know your customer.
I think the main difference for me is that when you are completing SEO tasks for a company that you also work for, you inherently know the company inside and out (or at least what is important to really make the SEO work). The fact that the financial company was/is also well-known and so gained many clicks a day anyway definitely made the job easier to begin with. All this changes when you are completing SEO for another (probably smaller) company.
Let’s say you are asked to complete SEO for a bed and breakfast in the Derbyshire countryside – you would probably initially compile a list of keywords made up of different ways to say ‘accommodation in Derbyshire’. You would create your urls, meta titles and descriptions and all the other bits that make up the standard SEO setup and Bob’s your Uncle.
However, have you asked who your client actually wants to target? What they want to target? Why they want to target?
So you’ve just completed an SEO setup on your clients’ website and they contact you to say actually, we have a dog show near us every year and so we want to target dog owners as we’re a dog friendly bed and breakfast. Grrrr, you mumble to yourself as you wonder which pages you will need to re-optimise for this – if you’d’ve done your homework first then you would’ve known this wouldn’t you? What about the room that’s got 4 beds for a family? Did you include that in your SEO? Aggghh!
This is all information that you may not necessarily be able to weedle out of your client in an email or a phone call. By far the best way to get into your clients’ head is to visit them at the business you are optimising for. Ask to look around, ask questions on anything and everything – if you feel uncomfortable questioning everything then explain that you are going through a process that will ultimately help you to build a more successful website. You can never have too much information. Think outside the box – are there any shows or exhibitions that may affect your client in anyway? Where do they want to go with the business? Who do they want to target? What do they want to push?
Don’t get me wrong – this is not a catch-all method. Keep in regular contact with your client, ask them about things you can’t measure, phone calls, emails, staff feedback – as I once said ‘arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can get hold of and you won’t go too far wrong’.