Search engines are catching up to word-of-mouth in terms of turning curious consumers into buyers. Personalized search is becoming more and more prominent in our online and mobile-centric society, and marketers need to step up to the plate in order to compete and capture the attention of these consumers online.
This recent shift to personalized search has a pretty critical differentiator – a slight change in how people are typing queries into Google. As an example, Google says that with this personalized search, rather than searching for “how often should your company use Twitter?” people are now asking “how often should my company use our Twitter?”. It seems slight – and it is – but it’s a super important factor to consider. If Google says it’ll affect your search rankings, we believe it. And, as content marketers, we have an obligation to consider these as best practices for complementary SEO and search efforts.
A recent article from Search Engine Watch caught our eye, as it discusses how we can prepare and optimize content marketing for these types of personalized search. Here’s a quick look at what they had to say:
Creating calculators and tools is a brilliant way of targeting personal search terms and providing our users with the personalized response they are looking for. Let’s use a fitness example to demonstrate this:
This recent data circulation from Google suggests that users are starting to search for something like, “how much water should I drink each day?” in higher volumes than something like, “how much water should you drink per day?”.
Now, most of us know that the answer to this question will depend on a number of different factors including gender, body composition, activity level and so on.
What our audience is expecting from this search is a personalized answer that takes all of these things into consideration and tells them exactly how much water they should personally be drinking each day.
A water consumption calculator would do this well, and if the user wants the specificity of an individual result, they will be willing to fill in the necessary personal details to retrieve it. A blog post that simply states the average recommended fluid intake for a man or a woman as recommended by the NHS is no longer user-focused enough.
Case studies and testimonials
Providing personalized content will not always be easy, and at times users may need encouragement to spend a little longer on a page to find the personalized answer they are looking for. In this instance, case studies and testimonials are a great way to push users further through their journey in the right direction.
For example, “How much money do I need to retire?” is a more complex question than our fitness example. There are so many variants that could alter the accurate and personalized response to this question, so it’s difficult to answer it quickly in a personalized way.
However, if we provide users with a testimonial or case study at the right stage in their journey – one that was created after a lot of persona research and uses someone or a situation that will resonate with them – they are likely to engage with the content.
Creating engagement via a case study will increase the likelihood that they’ll enquire with your brand for a more personalized answer, continuing their journey on their way to the personalized answer they are looking for.