Search Engine Optimization has adapted to the mobile revolution, and has settled into its new definition: Search Experience Optimization.
Where a website falls on a list of search results is no longer determined by keyword density, meta descriptions and other digital jargon, but instead by the use experience, according to Mike Templeman. Companies can’t just write off SEO in an excel spreadsheet, they need to optimize their sites for the best user experience possible, just like a college must optimize for the student experience.
So, how does a website, or Flagler College, optimize to create the best user experience possible? Templeman says these four things are key:
- Ask Questions, Provide Answers- What are consumers really looking for in a website? What are students really looking for in their college experience? These are two questions that must be answered through action. Flagler College knows that it’s students aren’t solely looking for classes. While the courses and programs are a huge part of what it means to be a college student, there are also other factors to consider such as social activities, sports and living situations. Websites face the same issue. People aren’t only looking for information about a product, but also what this product can do for them and how the consumer can use this product to improve their life. These questions can be answered in multiple ways, but they can only be answered once the question is identified.
- Embrace Mobile- Only people who live under a rock in Antarctica are surprised to find out that mobile is pretty much the only way to go. Flagler College knows that its students are always on the go between classes, internships, and a social life. There is no time to wait on snail mail or write notes longhand. Flagler understands that and uses websites, social media and email to reach students. Companies have to do the same thing. It is no longer enough to pay for an advertisement on TV or in a magazine. Companies need to have an integrated marketing system, and they need to make it mobile friendly. Period. End of story.
- Pay Attention to Your Use Experience Metrics- The next step following optimization is to make sure this is working. Flagler College does this by speaking to students and finding out what problems there are. A company must do the same thing by watching their data points such as bounce rate, time on the site, and return visitor rates. These things are important because search engines are now “leveraging the data that is mined from people using their internet browsers.” Yes. Google is watching, and you want to impress.
- Don’t Forget Social Media- This might be the most important key to creating a good position in SEO. Social media is by far the best way to engage consumers and cream a conversation that leads to more. Flagler College utilizes social media to engage with not only current students, but also prospective students. Flagler is also known as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country, and this fact is heavily shared on social media, boosting its relevance. Companies can do the same thing. The more people who talk about a company or an attribute of the company, the more relevant the company (and its website) become as a whole. If companies focus on engagement on social media, they will increase user experience for sure.
Overall, companies and Flagler College need to optimize in the same ways in order to create the best user experience. Once this optimization is achieved, greatness will definitely follow.