Working for the Search Engine

A strategy that can work can also be a fool's errand. Here's how to do it right.

Changing Minds

Everybody's working for the search engine. Everybody wants a second chance.

You wouldn't be the first one to ask which keywords you should be stuffing your website with to drive more traffic to that special page you hope someone finds where they can become your customer. We're often asked to solve this problem. It can be a vital part of your marketing strategy. In some cases, companies build their whole marketing strategy around leads driven by search engines.

If done right, this strategy works. But it may be a fool's errand.

To win with search, you have to feed the search engines what they are hungry for. That means your target audience is no longer a 24 to 35-year-old woman who likes shapewear, scented candles, and gummies made of beet juice. It's a web crawler named Google.

In 2022, Google, the juggernaut of the search business, has changed its search algorithm nearly 5,000 times. That means they are changing the rules that drive your business on average 13 times per day. And you thought customers changed their minds often. Search engines do even more.

If you're building a marketing flywheel based on how search engines work, you're effectively working for Google. Less so for your customers.

Valuable for Customers

When you're building a page on your website, or for that matter, anything else that is directed to your customer, it's important to make sure you are creating something that connects with your customer. What's more, it's important that everything you create is not just relevant, but valuable for your customer. Because after all, isn't that how they decide what they are going to keep coming back to use?

That's certainly the case for Google. Many of their changes are an attempt to respond more to the ways that humans look for things on the internet. The first iteration was simply a hunt for matching keywords. It was pretty binary. However, people are not that simple, so Google had to catch up with how real people think. The marketers who had focused their content around Google then had to catch up to it. Some lost a lot of money doing so.

If you need to solve a search-based problem, of course, there is hope (and we can help if you wish). But remember, what you need may not be more traffic. You might need the right traffic. You might need to do a better job at resonating with your customers when they find you online. You most certainly need to make sure that what you create online is valuable to your customers.

When you focus on making a product or providing a resource (or a storefront) that is valuable to customers, they keep coming back. So think ahead of the search engine and start working for your customers, and not for a computer. After all, that's what the search business is trying to do. You should too.

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