Part of the luxury of my job is that we get to work with a lot of brands and identify new opportunities for them to gain extra search traffic.
One topic of conversation that’s ‘hot’ at the moment is around understanding Micro-Moments to drive long tail traffic and also use these to capture additional search real estate by occupying the Google Answer Box.
Now I’m not a massive fan of buzzwords but like it or not these ‘micro-moments’ should be forming a critical part of your on-page content strategy for 2016 to ensure you are always supporting your customers throughout every stage of the buying cycle.
Firstly, lets start with the basics, what is a micro-moment?
In a nutshell, mobile has significantly changed the customer journey by allowing us to be ‘always on’.
The traditional journey is now different and broken down into lots of real-time, intent-driven search queries.
Google breaks them down into the following ‘Moments’:
- Is it worth it
- Show me how
- Time for a new one
- Didn’t plan for this
- One step at a time
- Ready for a change
- New day new me
- I wanna talk to a human
There is also a lot of emphasis on:
- Be there: ensuring you are visible.
- Be useful: deliver relevance in their micro-moment of need.
- Be quick: mobile UX, site speed and page structure.
This graphic from the Think With Google site sums it up nicely:
Think about your most recent purchase and how you can fit this into the context of the list above; how you searched, where you searched and what the outcome was.
So where do you start with capturing these micro-moments? This might seem daunting but break it down logically and it’s pretty straight-forward:
- Understanding audience
- Persona creation
- Mapping moments to personas and keyword research
- Competitor analysis
- Content structure
During the rest of this post we are going to focus on the ‘be there’, ‘be useful’ and ‘be quick’ sections of the micro-moment.
While I can’t cover all aspects of the ‘be quick’ recommendation such as site speed, we can consider the way content is structured for mobile to ensure it’s easily navigable and consumable (which kind of falls into the useful bit too).
We start by putting a huge focus on audience insights and content personas.
After all, if you don’t understand your customer and their needs how can you execute a successful content strategy to support them throughout the purchase funnel and ultimately increase conversions.
Once we have defined these personas we can then begin to think about their individual needs in the buying cycle and look to capture this traffic with content.
Here are a few simple examples on where to gather insight from:
1. Internal data
Clearly the most valuable place you can begin is with your own customer data.
If you are lucky enough to have mosaic data or have done focus group research in the past then use it!
If not, then as a minimum export sales/conversion data and segment into persona-related data where possible (depending on the data you have).
As a really top-level example, this could be age, gender, location and category of product purchased from. Google Analytics demographics will also help with further insight.
2. Social data
When it comes to audience understanding, where better to look next than at your (or your competitor’s) social data.
In my personal opinion Facebook Audience Insights data accessed through the Ads Manager is brilliant for audience understanding, and best of all it’s free.
The tool is supposed to help with your Facebook Ad targeting, however this data can also be used for persona creation and developing content that resonates with your audience.
3. YouGov audience profiler (free tool)
The YouGov Profiles tool is great to get more insight on your audience.
Simply type in your brand, a larger competitor or pastime and it returns lots of rich data on your specific audience.
Each brand will be different when thinking about the number of personas you are going to have, and it also depends on the amount of time and resource you have available.
Firstly you need to be realistic with what you can achieve and service properly, and also think about whether you need a persona set per product category or whether you can use the same set across the business.
Too many personas will potentially dilute what you are trying to achieve, and only having one will lead to the content being too narrow and not appealing enough to the larger audiences.
Broadly speaking we normally look to use between three and five personas per category/business.
Below is an example on how to formulate these personas along with a handy link to the template.
There are several methods available for SEO competitor analysis.
In my opinion SEM Rush is a pretty efficient way of checking not only what your competitors are ranking for, but also any Answer Boxes they currently own.
By searching for said competitor/site then selecting ‘organic search positions’, you can see the terms your competitor ranks for. This can be exported and filtered until your heart’s content!
The next level is to look at which Google Answer Boxes are they capturing. To see this simply filter by SERP feature, then featured snippet:
Then sense-check against the terms in the SERP:
As you can see, these Answer Boxes are appearing at the top of the organic results and capturing a lot of real estate in the SERP, so it’s great for awareness and capturing traffic at the top of the funnel.
Google doesn’t automatically scrape the first result either. We’ve seen Answer Boxes being won by terms ranking within the top five.
We’ve also seen great success with some of our clients utilising these, and with no ads down the side of the SERP there are some people speculating that this will allow extra space for the Knowledge Graph.
Mapping moments to personas (be there/be useful)
Once the personas have been created we then need to understand their individual needs and how to ensure you have the right content for them at every stage of the purchase funnel.
So let’s start that process. Choose one of your personas and think of queries that fall into each of the ‘moments’ listed at the top of this post.
Now in terms of keyword research around these, I’m not going to teach anyone to suck eggs as I’m sure most will know your keyword sets and there is already enough information on this available elsewhere.
However, to capture these micro-moments, keyword formulation should be considered in a slightly different way to really start to understand where the opportunity is, how the consumer will want to consume the content and ultimately how to structure that content to meet their needs.
Start by using Google’s Keyword Planner to look at search volumes.
These deliver the what, when, how, why and sematic phrases for your head terms, and both churn out cool suggestions like this:
These terms should be considered when formulating functional content on product/category pages and also when creating blog strategies to capture this additional opportunity.
So, not all of these suggestions will be relevant to your customers, but when you collectively understand and map them out and tie them back to your content personas, it will help inform your content strategy.
To help you map this out, I have created an example template for you to download here:
Content and page structure: ‘Be Quick’ / ‘Be Useful’
Content structure is a key reason for why Google displays Answer Boxes from sites that have well-designed pages that answer the question quickly and efficiently.
Think back to the intro with the change in search now being based around hundreds of real time, intent-driven search queries.
It’s also critical that you take a mobile-first view on these pages so users can easily navigate to the part of content that answers their question, rather than having to infinitely scroll (we know how much it annoys us all!).
Below is an example of how to structure content well:
Rather than have multiple pages for multiple micro-moments, I’d recommend creating pages that answer multiple queries/micro-moments around a similar topic or theme.
Critically the page starts with a relevant H1 tag followed by some above-the-fold succinct content which answers the user’s query within a couple of sentences.
Then, if you have multiple questions or areas to cover in the page then create these in a bulleted list with anchor tags that link to the relevant part further down the page.
These ‘sub-sections’ should be titled with an H2 with the detail being displayed clearly using tables and lists to make it easy to consume.
Getting the audience part right is the first big hurdle, but once you have your personas nailed down, do your competitor analysis to see if anyone is really owning this at the moment and see if you can take any inspiration.
Then use keyword research and some of the query tools I’ve mentioned to really define micro-moments and pinch points that your customers might be struggling with and map those to the personas to help prioritise content.
Once you’ve made it that far create and structure your content while always considering:
- Be there.
- Be useful.
- Be quick.