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Article 4 min read

SEO and customer service: The benefits of aligning efforts

By Micah Fisher-Kirshner, Senior SEO manager

Last updated November 16, 2017

Did you arrive here from Google to learn more about how SEO can improve customer service? Your customers find you this way, too. And if you aren’t visible when potential customers look for help or for reviews, you’re allowing other voices, including those of your competitors, to dictate the conversation about your brand.

Learn how you can be a customer service hero by leveraging SEO, or search engine optimization, to improve your ticket deflection rate and much, much more.

Isn’t SEO for marketing?

Yes, but not exclusively. Your marketing organization uses it, among other reasons, to ensure the right search terms are included in blog posts and other online content. This, in turn, ensures the content is as helpful as possible and ranks highly in Google searches for those terms. But those same practices can apply toward improving the agent experience, the customer experience, and your internal customer service operations.

Deflectors up!

When your agents don’t have to repeat answers to basic questions, because they already have those answers at their fingertips on product pages and within your knowledge base and owned online community, you’re already removing relationship-building roadblocks. Your SEO manager will appreciate your interest, too; any time your team can provide customer context about your online content, you’re providing an important service: boosting the SEO value of those individual pages.

Pro tip: Reach out to your in-house SEO manager or agency to find out what customers are searching for, and integrate those terms into guides, Q&As, help centers, troubleshooting, and any other content on your owned digital channels. These terms can also be used as reference points for your team, ensuring everyone is using the same terms to describe questions or issues as they come up.

Technology beyond search engines can also play a part, such as in-ticket macros and chatbots and virtual assistants, which are increasingly adept at providing automatic, suggested answers, adding an extra line of defense before heading to an agent. This leaves time for agents to spend on more complex, interesting problems, which has a proven effect on improving their experience and morale.

To take it to the next level, push for customer-focused content, informed by your agents’ point of view, across the whole marketing funnel. That means fostering connections with your marketing team, specifically Content and SEO, to provide insight into the best-performing and most useful content across your website. This insight can inform on-page marketing copy that may have been confusing for customers; your agents are in the best stead to fill in those gaps.

The customer service team can help provide additional organic search traffic by identifying phrases customers use—ones that, perhaps, your SEO team may have missed in its initial research. Those terms can then be integrated across the website, helping provide additional relevance to Google’s algorithm.

A feedback loop into product and website are gains for the whole company, and you can even make them fun by leveraging artsy word clouds.

The larger magnetic field

As Google continues to advance in complexity toward becoming the computer in Star Trek, owning featured snippets will advance the brand authority as direct answers stand out separately from the rest of Google’s 10 blue links.

In the grander scheme of things, having search-friendly, helpful answers for customers positively impacts your company reputation and customer retention. Customers and prospects stumble across articles your team advocated for. And when your agents call out content they’re referencing day in and day out, you’re providing important information across your business about how your product and customer experience is landing with your customer base.

Parting tips

  • Be public with the content, lest your competitors talk over you.

  • Meet with your SEO pro to define a plan, be they in-house, contractor, or agency.

  • Define what kind of content formats, such as written or video, work for certain customer segments; though this is more work, the insight provides further opportunities to optimize.

  • Define the common topics to target and structure your knowledge base; groups or themes provide structure and relevance, while making it easier for users to navigate.

  • Scale it up! Identify the who, what, when, where, why, and how across your product family and business.

In the world of SEO, every page is an opportunity to pull in a first-time user who wants to learn more about your business. Seize those opportunities!

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