NATNews Blog > August 2015 > Why the Future of SEO is 'UnOptimized'

    Why the Future of SEO is 'UnOptimized'

    8/28/2015 8:58:38 AM
    By Grant Simmons, Vice President of Search Marketing for Homes.com
     
     
    “Less is more.” The catch phrase of every minimalist is often used to talk about ad design, salt intake, or feng shui furniture layouts, but what about when it comes to web traffic? While this may seem contradictory to traditional search marketing goals, in 2015 it’s a mandate to ask: “Is more traffic necessarily better for your business?”
     
    Even given the potential for monetization of page views, the truth is that better traffic is actually better, not just more, creating opportunities for user engagement and higher conversion rates.
     
    So how to get more of better?
     
    May I humbly suggest a process I’ve coined “UnOptimization.”
     
    UnOptimization isn’t your traditional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in a number of key differentiations:
     
    1. Goal is quality over traffic metrics
    2. Focus is on users, not search engines
    3. Scale is part of a long term strategy, not a short term goal
    4. Content is a foundational element of UnOptimization
     
    Defining Quality

    Quality is one of those words that is easy to say but difficult to explain. In web traffic terms, quality can be defined as: “A measure of user affinity and need in site interaction that satisfies a business goal.” Even more simply put, “will the user do what you want on your site?”
     
    On a website, nothing happens in a vacuum, so we need to ensure we can land users on the correct page for their query, provide clear paths towards our goals, and reduce friction in taking the required action, all the while making certain we qualify that the user aligns with our target audience, and discounting—or re-aligning—those who don’t.
     
    An example would be a person looking to buy a home, who realizing they can’t afford the home they would like, is presented with options for renting a similar home.
     
    Targeting Quality Users

    It can’t be stressed enough, but the mantra “know thy users” permeates every task a marketer must undertake to successfully attract the ‘right’ quality audience.
     
    With the expansive data available online today, it can be relatively easy to understand both user behavior and the situations that influence that behavior.
     
    To simplify an inherently complicated subject, I break the targeting process down into two main strategies that allow different tactics to be employed to attract and connect with the right audience.
     
    1. Triggers
     
    Triggers are everyday occurrences that force consumers into a need. Triggers are relatively predictable, with predictable outcomes. An example I experienced recently was with my car, parked outside a restaurant during a flash flood. One adjuster opinion later and I’m in the market for a new car. Was this ‘trigger’ for a car sale something a car salesman could predict? Probably not, but by understanding weather patterns, likelihood of floods, the information a consumer would need to have after such an occurrence, it’s very possible to connect with this consumer after something like this has occurred. Triggers are like this. One can predict they may happen, but there’s little control of what and when they do. For homebuyer-targeting agents, triggers could be as simple as a new child in a family, and as unfortunate as a natural disaster, where a user is ‘triggered’ in to the sales funnel. Determining a consumer’s triggers takes intelligent research and experimentation to see what kind of content best connects to educate and inform consumers in these trigger situations.
     
    2. Tickles
     
    While triggers are situations where we can provide solutions to a user’s existing need, tickles are actually a tactic to create that need through marketing and advertising. Tickles create need through influence and psychology by creating desire for a product or service. In real estate, tickles are often aspirational: a dream house, kitchen or neighborhood, highlighting qualities that consumers might want, and tickling them with ‘what ifs’ can influence folks into a buying funnel that can then be nurtured further to segment and qualify quality buyers. Finding tickles isn’t quite as easy as determining triggers, although educated guesses, validated by consumer research, open-ended questions and customer surveys can help clarify the content that influences—tickles—your target audience into the funnel.
     
    “Good content connects with behavior. Great content inspires behavior.”
     
    Still not sure about your triggers and tickles? Tune in next week for part two: "Why cat ladies are key to content quality and how to scale your tickling for more Google love!"
     
    If you’re looking for more ways to engage your audience, Homes.com Social allows you to interact with active homebuyers and sellers by posting engaging, relevant, quality content to your social channels. Capture more buyers and sellers from social channels with Homes.com Social.
    Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.