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Practical Big Data for Small Biz UX & Search Optimization

Search engines are getting smarter by the day and the wise business owner or marketing director is always looking for ways to maintain a competitive advantage. Today we are going to look at how even a SMB (small to medium business) can acquire big data and put it to work for their business.

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The advent of big data, and specifically cloud applications and analysis has made Big Data, once available to only enterprise-level clients, accessible to businesses of almost any size or stage. However, for that data to be valuable, it must be usable.

What do we mean by usable data? This means the data that your business needs to accomplish your goals. For this to be effective, you must know what those goals are. Whether that is web personalization, process automation, or industrial control, the data you need must be available and accessible.

So, where do you find this usable data? There are several sources, and they vary in usefulness. We are going to explore a few of the main categories of big data below.

General Data

General data is one of the most accessible and useful types of data. This includes simple things like census data and demographic profiling. Why is this important? Because it can be used to inform almost any aspect of your marketing that is related to location.

One of the easiest pieces of data to gather is a customer or web user’s location. This can be obtained simply from their IP address. Most users do not use a VPN, especially on mobile devices where over half of searches originate. In addition, many have location services enabled, which means their location is even more specifically shared.

This means you not only know where they live, if they are searching from home, but you know if they are searching from a store or on the go. This can change your personalization and targeted response, which may even shorten the buyer’s journey to one or two clicks.

One of the keys to using this data is to effectively map it using GIS software or other mapping programs. This data can tell you general information about users from a certain region, city, or even neighborhood.

Industry Data

Companies don’t share specific data about their customer base, but often general data is available. Everyone in any given industry benefits from the sharing of this data, and it is often available from Google and other third parties who gather data from customer searches and behavior.

This data can provide more than demographics and location. It can also unlock key data about the Buyer behavior and shopping journey. There are several types of internet users, and it is helpful to know where most of your customers fall in these categories.

This can inform your content marketing strategy, everywhere from the selection of your color schemes, to the creation of your blog posts, landing pages, and other website content.  Pairing this data with content designed for one of the main types of internet users will benefit your SEO efforts while improving conversion rates.

Here are the three primary types of internet users:

  • The Streaker: The streaker is looking for quick answers or a simple purchase. They are not doing research, but have already made up their mind about what, exactly they need or want. At this point, they are simply shopping for value, price, and company integrity. The more trustworthy and reliable your site is, the more likely they will buy from you. Catchy headlines, brief and informative descriptions, and a fast and reliable checkout process will make them your customers for life.
  • The Stroller: The stroller is still studying, but not too much. They are almost at the point of making a buying decision, but they need just a final piece or two of information, or to understand the features and benefits of your products vs. those of your competition. A simple comparison, short form blog posts that answer frequent questions, a short marketing funnel and clear navigation will appeal to them.
  • The Studier: This person is looking for detailed information. Their sources are multiple thread, multiple click searches, and they are looking for detailed blog posts and statistics, ingredients, and features of each product they are looking at. Long form blog posts, the detailed descriptions below the brief ones on your product pages, and exhaustive answers to questions will keep them buying from you.

To provide the most relevant information for your audience, you need to be listening as well, and social media is abuzz in most industries.

Social Listening

The other source for data that is easy to gather is social media. You can analyze your users on Facebook and Twitter with built in analytics, or you can use programs like Tweepsmap to do deep data analysis of your followers. This includes where they live, income, housing status, cell phone provider, buying habits, and more.

This is about more than just listening though. You need to interact with these customers, answering their questions, responding to their messages, and joining chats and hashtag conversations where they are present.

The more active you are, even if through automation, the more you will learn about your customers and your customer base. This data is both simple to gather and extremely useful.

Enterprise Data

Social media listening is a part of the enterprise data that you will gather in your company. This data will also be gathered as you get more customers of your own. You can analyze time on various pages, reasons for shopping cart abandonment, payment methods, length of the buyer journey and more.

This level is where you know your customers. You learn their names, where they are from, what they do for a living, how much money they make, and what they buy both one time and regularly. You can determine frequency of purchases and even send reminders, engage in email automation, and serve ads for specific products at the appropriate time.

This is your most valuable data, and the gathering and analysis of this data should be one of your top priorities.

There is a ton of data out there. For that information to be valuable, you must take it from raw to usable. Determining what you need and finding the appropriate source can turn your business into an industry leader. As SEO focuses more on a great user experience, even SMBs should start looking at big data to drive their marketing decisions.

About the Author: Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a content marketing and SEO firm specializing in outreach link building. Content placement, blogger outreach, and editorial brand mentions are just a few ways the Stellar SEO team can help. Connect on Twitter @theseoproz.


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