There’s a lot to learn about search engine optimization (SEO). Whether you’ve been at it for ages or you’re just getting started, there are always new tools and best practices to learn. But a few qualities are true of good SEO through the years, and one of them is empathy.
Psychology Today defines empathy as “the ability to recognize, understand, and share the thoughts and feelings of another person, animal, or fictional character.” Chances are, your target audience doesn’t include fictional characters and animals, but it most certainly includes other human beings. Working to understand their thoughts and feelings—to empathize with your ideal customer—can help you to not only improve your SEO but to be a better business person.
At first glance, it might seem as though the concepts behind SEO and empathy aren’t in alignment. After all, SEO at its most basic focuses on keywords and algorithms, which are as far as you can get from emotions and feelings. But in practice, it’s not so counterintuitive. Your SEO can benefit from bringing empathy into your content in several ways:
- Relationships: By showing that you care about your customer as more than just a sales figure, you’ll build a better, more trusting relationship with them.
- Accessibility: By considering the needs of all potential customers, you’ll avoid unintentionally restricting people with disabilities or other constraints.
- User Experience: By putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, you’ll help them to have the best possible experience when engaging with your content.
This is all appealing, of course, but it leaves you with one big question…
How do you bring empathy into your SEO-focused content?
If you’re used to the most rational, logistical sorts of SEO-implementation, you might struggle to see how you can reconcile the two, regardless of the benefits.
Be a Person
In the back of every reader’s mind, there’s no doubt that a person is creating the content they see online. But, all too often, that can get lost behind the brand and business. Let a bit of your personality shine through with anecdotes and personal experiences. Make sure your about page says a little something about the people behind the business (and not just the company itself). These are little details in the grand scheme of things, but they add up to make a big impression and help build relationships with your customers along the way.
Make Your Content Accessible
Improving your website’s accessibility will make sure every potential reader, including those with conditions like dyslexia, color blindness, or hearing loss, can engage with your work. But it will likely make it a smoother experience for users across the board, too. Include transcripts of any video or audio you create and add alt text to images you post. Be sure your text is legible—and that the contrast and colors let it stay that way. Ensure your navigation is consistent and makes sense so that screen readers can understand how to get from point A to point B on your website.
Put the Person First
In this case, your customer. Always remember that they’re a person, just like you. The wonderful thing about empathy is that you can put yourself in their shoes: if you were your ideal customer, what would you want to get from the content you’re producing? Consider what value you’re providing at every step along the way. Is it worth including one more keyword if it doesn’t fit smoothly into the piece, for example? If it takes away from the user experience of engaging with that content, probably not.
Get an Expert Opinion
When in doubt, it never hurts to consult someone who’s been there, especially if you’re new to SEO or haven’t ventured beyond automated tools. Book a strategy session with SERPtheory to discuss what you’re looking to get from your SEO strategy and why you want to bring empathy into play. Their team is built up of real people, with years of experience in implementing SEO while emphasizing human empathy. They want to help you make your content the best that it can be.
However you choose to bring empathy into your content, rest easy knowing it will help to boost your SEO, your customer relationships, and your user experience along the way.
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