Seo strategy

The magic of a product-driven SEO strategy

Within the tech industry, and particularly in Silicon Valley, there is the idea of ​​“product-driven growth”. This means that instead of relentlessly marketing the product, companies devote resources and effort to perfecting the product so that it speaks for itself.

In this model, the satisfied customer becomes your biggest distributor. They love the product so much that they tell others; they leave reviews on the site; etc They become your most important spokesperson.

This model subverts the whole premise of marketing the product to promote adoption. Instead, the focus is on getting a great product into the hands of users who are excited enough to then become marketers on behalf of the product.

Unfortunately, most of our modern SEO efforts ignore this incredibly innovative approach. Instead of focusing on the quality of the search experience for the user, we often focus on keywords and ignore user preferences almost entirely.

I think there is a better way, and it’s called product-driven SEO. Let’s take a look at what goes wrong with keyword-centric strategies and how you can improve your efforts by looking through your customers’ eyes.

Not just a keyword driven approach

Too often, SEO starts with a simple group of keywords developed by the marketing team or founders based on their own knowledge of the product. The keywords then become the stems of the keyword research. They are entered into any keyword research tool and related words are generated.

The new, longer list becomes the seed for content ideas that will be written and published on the website. The problem? The keyword list becomes a content checklist and roadmap, which doesn’t change much over time.

Regardless of actual performance or real-time metrics, content continues to be crafted using words from the original keyword checklist. In this SEO paradigm, there is no room for a user’s feedback loop.

Keyword-based on-page SEO is limited and inadequate, and there is a better way.

Instead, focus on the user

Instead of using SEO to market the product (when I say “product”, I mean the offer to the user, whether it is a service, a subscription, a content or a physical widget), the product must become the engine of SEO.

Many of the most successful websites on the internet have achieved organic dominance through this product-driven approach.

Like many concepts, product-focused SEO is best understood through an example rather than speaking in general terms. Let’s go through an in-depth example to illustrate how product-focused SEO can perform better in a competitive space than conventional SEO thinking.

A Case Study of Product-Based SEO: Drops

I saw a great example of this when I worked with a company called Drops, Google Play’s App of the Year 2018. The company wanted to create the world’s easiest website for learning a new language.

The explosive growth of the app (over a million users) had been purely organic, and the team was looking to replicate that success online via SEO.

From the outside, using search to publicize a dictionary product might have seemed like a wild ride. Google commandeers almost all real estate above the fold with its “Google Translate” product, so it would still be hard to get clicks.

However, this is the exact scenario where product-driven SEO shines.

Rather than developing a simple dictionary product like any other online translation library that targets one-by-one word definitions (Google included) and then blocks as many keywords as possible onto the page, Page Drops was first built with user experience.

Much like the app product, the web version would aim to facilitate learning. Extra words just for SEO would confuse the user.

It took some patience, but the growth in the impression that Drops began to generate on search results was stratospheric. At the time of this writing, just over a year after implementing the SEO strategy, the website is generating almost 30 million monthly impressions on Google, with a very healthy click-through rate on these prints.

The product-driven strategy is for everyone

The product-driven SEO strategy not only helps you build strong relationships with loyal users, but also creates a competitive moat. For example, while other dictionary sites chase Google’s algorithm, Drops chases the user. Even if Google ceases to exist, these users will still be looking for the brand that gave them exactly what they needed.

If Drops had used a traditional SEO strategy, it would have focused all of its efforts on popular keywords and would continue to beat its competitors. Instead, its product-focused SEO strategy allowed it to focus on all keywords, in all languages, in a programmatic and scalable process.

A product-focused SEO effort doesn’t just work with specific businesses; rather, it is a process that every website working on SEO should use. With the clarity of only creating what users are looking for, product-focused SEO will always be the big winner. Rather than building SEO assets for search algorithms or keywords, SEO is built around what the user wants.

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