The Value of Understanding Motivation in Marketing
Have you ever lost an entire afternoon diving into an incredible book? Despite the numerous decades that have passed since the publication of countless works of classic literature, people still manage to lose themselves in words. They imagine themselves as a part of the plot—trying to understand the characters and their motivations. They root for their favorite hero or heroine while cringing every time that famed nemesis appears.
We are all accustomed to trying to understand the motivations of our favorite characters. We know that if you do not make an effort to comprehend the “why” behind the actions, the book will lose much of its appeal. Humans are naturally complicated! We relate far better to well-rounded characters than the more superficial ones.
Although we all have the skills needed to complete this type of analysis, most marketers neglect doing it in one of the most essential aspects of their jobs: understanding Google.
The Struggle of Marketers
The past 18 months have been big for marketers. The mobile update that hit in April sent many brands scrambling to make sure their sites were ready. There were also Panda updates and a suspected Phantom update, just to name a few. Each change impacted countless sites both positively and negatively. Some sites saw their rankings plummet– and with it their traffic and their business. Others saw their sites suddenly appear on page one of SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) for the first time and experienced a much-needed jump in traffic and revenue.
Many professionals dedicate their time to trying to correct whatever errors might have hurt them in the last update. When the Panda update hit, they learned that thin content was frowned upon, so they spent time trying to beef up certain pages that were damaged by the update. When Google made the announcement that sites could expect a mobile update in April 2015, numerous marketing and IT departments found themselves scrambling to make sure their sites were mobile ready.
The problem with these techniques is that the site is always one step behind. If you are always trying to catch up to the latest Google update, then you have already lost your spot on the SERP. If you want to have a successful site, you need to be one step in front. Just like targeting the motivation of a character in your favorite book, you need to understand the motivation of Google. You want to know the “why.”
The why is actually simple. Google does not care about your business. Google cares about making their users happy, which in turn means delivering sites that answer their queries. Every one of the Google updates has been designed to better sort through poor websites and track down the high quality ones to display for users.
If you want to create a website that is successful, you need to focus on the end user.
- Content that provides immediate value and is not just a superficial, general treatment of your subject.
- Text that is easy to read, skim, and digest.
- Vocabulary that matches what people tend to put into search engines to help them find the material.
- That same vocabulary present in page titles, meta data, URLs, and other parts of the page that Google and users examine to see what your site discusses.
- Careful analysis of how your content performs in the short term and the long term to identify the types of content people respond to the best.
- Analytics that do not just look at the number of views or shares, but actually measure leads and conversions.
Understanding the whys behind behavior is important for understanding a great book, and for understanding Google. Rather than always playing catch up with algorithm updates, get out in front of it by focusing on the same thing Google does: the end user.