Or… How to help people find your expertise
If I asked you where to find something on your website – some information, a product, a video – you’d know exactly where to look. You’re so familiar with your information, and so capable in your expertise, that it’s really, really difficult to understand that for a visitor to your site, it may not be obvious at all.
Take my good friends at Living Science Wellness Centre, including the genius of all things food-related, Bruce Bonner. A person could go to the site looking for help with wheat issues, like Celiac Disease, or gluten sensitivity. Bruce knows that the Food Sensitivity Testing is clearly listed under Services. A person visiting the site might search for things like wheat, or gluten, and find lovely gluten-free recipes – but may not immediately see the testing. In fact, a potential client may not even realize that they are looking for Food Sensitivity Testing – they only know they have painful gas.
Your customers are impatient. They’re busy. The internet has taught searchers to expect instant results at their fingertips. They rarely scroll past the first screen, so helping them find what they want can be as important as having quality content. After all, your quality content has to be found by interested searchers to work for you and your clients.
You are an expert! You have lingo, and proper terminology, and knowledge – if you didn’t, your clients wouldn’t want you. But your clients are coming to you searching from the context of their problems – not your solutions!
Look at your content. Consider what a layman might be searching for, when you know what they actually need. For example, on a post about probiotics, the tags should include yeast, gas, and other, um, ‘bodily challenges.’ A newcomer may not even know probiotics exist, so the tags need to include what they know, not just what you know.
After you’ve created great tags for your content, start again. All the tags you have come up with are coming from your context – your expert context. Now think again: how does the public think about this topic? Think of the things that annoy you about public perception… for example, a food allergy is not the same as a food sensitivity, but the experts are the ones who know that. A client may come to the Living Science Wellness Centre and search for food allergies – are they going to get the information they need to help them? And to lead them to the appropriate solutions?
What are the problems that your clients present?
When a client presents an issue in your field, you have the solution. How often is part of your work explaining the real problem – which is not what they think? Well, if they don’t know the real problem, how can they possibly search for information on your site?
Spend some time thinking about the perceptions that your clients start with, and how they might start out searching on your site. What do you want them to find?
The people who are expert in knowing what they are searching for are right in your client base: ask them! Ask your clients what they want to find, and what they search for. I promise, your clients will be happy to know you care what they want.
You have a great source of information on Social Media: the public is right at your fingertips and you can ask them what they’d like to know. You can be sure, people will often surprise you.
Your expertise is a solution. Until your client can find your solutions, they can’t know you have what they need. The people who are your potential clients don’t know what you know – that’s the reason they need you! Your search results have to respond to their headspace and perceptions, rather than presenting your knowledge in your context. After all, your site is for your clients, not for you!
Here’s a great way to do it: ask your mother to look at your site. Every time she says “I don’t know” or “I don’t understand” you have a clear idea how a potential client could be overwhelmed by your site.
Okay, this won’t work for my kids. LOL