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Why CX and UX Are Critical to Meeting User Intent – Here’s Why #269


In this series, Eric Enge and Duane Forrester, VP of Industry Insights at Yext, have demonstrated why and how user intent impacts search. So, what should you do to ensure success? How and what should you prioritize?

Eric and Duane walk through how to identify if you’re providing a great customer and user experience today and where to focus your time and efforts to be successful long-term.

This video is the fourth in a four-part series on the impact of user intent on search. If you missed the previous videos, watch them here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Don’t miss a single episode of Here’s Why. Click the subscribe button below to be notified via email each time a new video is published.

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Eric: Hey, everybody. Eric Enge here. I’m the Principal for the Digital Marketing Solutions business unit here at Perficient. This is the fourth and final part of a four-part series that Duane and I have been doing on the impact of user intent on search.

In part one, we discussed broad core algorithm updates that Google has been doing since March of 2018. In part two, we talked about the implication of all these things, both the user intent and those algorithm updates on the rest of us that publish websites. In part three, we talked about how important it was to create really the best and broadest content and the most comprehensive answers.

And in this one, the fourth and final part, we’re going to start talking about where you should focus your time and effort to be successful with all of this.

And to start us off, I want to introduce Duane Forrester. If you don’t know who he is and you’re in the search industry, then you’ve been seriously living under a rock because he’s out there just about everywhere. But thanks so much for joining me again, Duane, and let’s go.

Duane: Absolutely, Eric. Again, thanks for having me on the show. I’m so grateful we got to do this four-part series. This is awesome. For those who don’t know, Eric and I have a very long relationship and we’re good friends. We spend a lot of time talking outside of this environment. So, it’s always nice to get things on the record and actually share this with you.

And, you know, it’s funny because out of everything we’ve kind of talked to, you know, as I go down through the notes that we’ve had on the show and the different topics, like, you know, the one thing that really kind of gets me is at some point we have to have this conversation that we’re having right now is, what do you do? You know, where is the rubber meeting the road, where is it at, and what do you focus on? You get up in the morning. You have your coffee. You go to your computer. What are you focused on? How are you prioritizing and what are you prioritizing? And, I think a really good way to look at this is take a look at dominant players. So, let’s call out Google in the world of search, right? That’s pretty easy. What have they been focused on over the last five years? Because when you see what Google is focused on, it suddenly starts to become important. And you suddenly understand what you should classify as important.

So, look, I’m not saying the keyword research you were going to do today isn’t important because at some point you have to do that. But really for me, for my money, I see what Google’s investing in. They’re investing in the core user experience and the customer experience. That’s what they’re looking at.

I want you guys to go look up a whitepaper that Google did last summer called “The Messy Middle.” It’s going to talk about the new customer journey. And I know we’re all burnt out on customer journey, but bear with me. The customer journey has always been here. It will always be here, whether we’re bored with the phrase or not. It is your funnel. You know, that path to conversion, the money you want. So, you’re never getting away from it.

Go take a look at what they had to say in that whitepaper because it’s not linear. It’s more like a ball of yarn. It’s a bit of a mess. You have to understand where your value is throughout that process so that you will own the customer journey.

And if you look at investments Google has made, if you look at the technologies, if you look at the improvements in search, if you look at the new features that we’ve seen, all of these things generally align that way.

And take it a step deeper. Go look up the Wikipedia page that shows the acquisitions that Google and Alphabet make as a company. And you’ll see that the technologies and the other businesses, the companies they buy are designed to support these experiences in a certain dimension.

You don’t believe me? Take a look at Google Maps recently. You look at the last three years of the new features we’ve gotten in Google Maps, and you look at the pace at which we’ve gotten them, and you will see that all came because those are the popular things in Waze. Everybody knows that Waze is only used by a small percentage compared to Google Maps. So, the reality is, if you want Google Maps to be better, you give them Waze-like features in Google Maps. And that’s what we have today. It makes that difference. So, I want you guys thinking about that in terms of your business and your customers. Eric, what do you, on this topic, where’s your head at with this?

Eric: So, I think those are great points, and I’m totally down with CX and UX being incredibly important. And, actually, Google has weighed in on this in another regard when they gave us the page experience signal, right?

Duane: Yeah. A hundred percent.

Eric: The reality is that isn’t the beginning of when Google began to think about things that related to customer experience and user experience from the point of view of sending messages out to those of us who publish websites.

So, just to be clear, even basic things like making sure your website is secure, that really is a customer experience kind of issue or someone clicks on the search results, they don’t want an interstitial interfering where they’re getting at least at the initial content that they were looking for, right? So, that’s just another one of those things. And that your site hasn’t been hacked. Well, that’s kind of an obvious one, right, that you don’t get a worm when you visit somebody’s website.

So, these are all examples of addressing customer experience. And it’s also the way they think about page speed. So, you know, we have the three metrics that they’re looking at there, Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift. Those are all about, what is it like for the user? And these are really, really good things for us to think about and take our clues from, right?

Duane: Right.

Eric: So, especially on the page speed side of things, it’s like Google, who has more data than anybody, has given us what they think the three most important aspects of page speed are right there.

Duane: Exactly.

Eric: So, you know, okay, I’ll stop worrying about time to first byte, right, and you know, first contentful paint. I won’t worry about those things. You know, I mean, they matter. They’re part of the gateway to those other metrics, but they’re not sufficient. So, we should just take advantage of those things.

And, in addition, we really should be looking at what our competitors are doing, both from the point of view of the whole page experience signal, but really other aspects of what they’re doing with customer experience and user experience. So, that’s sort of my immediate thoughts on it, but Duane, why don’t you share?

Duane: Yeah. You know what? I’m really glad you brought up things like the colloquial core web vitals, that whole area of data that we now have, because, look, you got to fight a battle, right? Just pick the right ones. Don’t go after those ones that they don’t mean anything. If Google is calling something out, there’s a reason they’re calling it out. It’s because their data testing shows them that that has the biggest impact on core customer satisfaction. So, just line up with that.

Look, you’ll be able to fight the other battles later when you have time. Trust me. And you’ll never get to them because they’re never going to matter. But hey, look, if you’re struggling with mobile-first, I can’t tell you enough how important it is that you fix that. That is a critical step today, right? And Eric mentioned it. Page speeds. We’re talking about secure. These are table stakes now. These aren’t optionals. These aren’t the, “Oh way, hopefully, one day I’ll get there.” No, these are the, if someone in your competitive set is already there and you’re not, they look better to Google than you do. So, you have no choice but to step up the ladder to that rung. That’s the reality today. It’s very complex and it does take a lot of levers and a lot of knobs. You have to move these things.

And the mix is a little bit different today. Hopefully, over the last four videos here, we’ve given you guys some clear guidance, some good ideas, at the very least. A lot of these topics, you know, you hear people talking about them, and you want to think maybe they’re cliched. They’ve been talked about for a while. No, they’re talked about because they’re fundamentally important. That’s kind of where my head is, Eric.

Eric: I couldn’t agree more. So, I mean, all of these things matter, you know, from the beginning to the end, because it really gets down to, how are you matching up with user intent in creating that great user experience and customer experience.

Duane: Oh, I thought of one other thing. I want people to make sure they keep this in mind. When you’re using the tools and you’re looking at your core web vital score, you get this nice graph. It’s a circle, and it’s going to give you a number and it’s going to be color-coded. Don’t panic. Jeez, don’t panic, right? Like, if you score a 30 and you’re in the red, take the time to run your competition through this thing. If everybody’s in the red and scoring a 30, then you’re no better or worse than your competition. That’s a good place to be because it gives you the opportunity to step forward and look better than them. If you’re scoring a 30 and they’re scoring an 80, you might want to grab some panic sauce at that point and get moving, but just keep that in mind, right? That’s my final thought.

Eric: Absolutely. No, thanks for adding that in there, Duane. And I think that’s a really great place to leave it. So, hopefully, you’ve all enjoyed this particular episode, as well as the whole four-part series that Duane and I have done on user intent and its impact on search. And if you’ve enjoyed these episodes, please click on the subscribe now button below. And you won’t have to miss any future episodes of “Here’s Why.”

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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