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     Home > Design and UX tips > SEO tips > SEO Technique: Listen, Observe, & Validate Searcher Mental Models   
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Our Top SEO Actionable Technique: Searcher Mental Models

Get better data when you listen to, observe, and validate the goals, intent, and behaviors of web (and site) searchers.

Actionable SEO technique - image

Omni's #1 actionable SEO technique is probably going to sound very odd to many search marketers, because we truly understand the value of many common SEO techniques:

  • Broken link building
  • Rewriting unique titles, bylines, and headings
  • Participating in expert roundups
  • Influencer outreach
  • Re-purposing ďoldĒ content
  • And so forth

We also value software that makes an SEOís job easier (link building and analysis, site architecture, site speed etc.) The tools available to SEO practitioners and link builders is far better now than when our founder pioneered search-engine friendly web design over 20 years ago.

Our #1 actionable technique has very little to do with technology. Itís simply to listen to and observe actual users (searchers) interacting with your website.

SEO and link-building tools are less effective if you donít understand searcher mental models, the "why" of SEO. We gain more insight to user goals, pain points, roadblocks, context, and even keywords when we listen and observe.

Then we use our favorite SEO tools that are applicable to any of our SEO projects.

We listen to and observe users/searchers again and again and again. Itís an iterative (ongoing) process. We want to validate user/searcher mental models and help them achieve their goals in our search listings and corresponding web pages.

Tools are only as effective as the people who use them. Here are ways to also make your choice of tools more effective:

  • Make the time to be a better listener and observer. Be objective. Watch actual searchers interact with your search listings and website. Note roadblocks and their severity levels.
  • Understand searchers' intent and their pain points. Searchers have navigational, informational, and transactional goals. Does your website or user interface (UI) support those goals?
  • Build a searcher journey map (similar to a customer journey map). If visualizations help you and the teams that contribute to effective SEO, a searcher journey map can help.
  • Update your user personas. As search engine results pages (SERPs) evolve on multiple devices, so should your user personas. Include common searcher goals and behaviors in your individual and group personas.

In addition, don't ignore collaborative searching, if it is applicable to your website.

If you want more accurate quantitative data and qualitative data, make the time to maintain and update searcher mental models in your user personas. Listen to and observe searchers. You won't regret it.


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If you have any questions about Omni Marketing Interactive's search engine optimization (SEO), website usability, information architecture (IA), or web design services, please call us at 847-426-4256.