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The SEO scene in Nigeria today is filled with uncertainties, marked by:

- Frequent Google updates.

- The transformative rise of AI.

- The significant influence of the digitally savvy, brand-agnostic Gen Z.

Relying solely on traditional tactics like keyword research based on search volume spells a slow demise for your website strategy. But what's the way forward?

One viable solution is embracing a product-led SEO approach, which prioritizes your strategy based on your customers’ needs, pains, and desires. This article aims to guide you in transitioning from a keyword-focused to a customer-centric SEO strategy, providing practical advice for seamlessly integrating both methodologies.

5 steps to initiate your product-led SEO strategy

1. Identify your customer

A common mistake many SEO enthusiasts make is fixating on the website and neglecting the customers.

Remember, it's not keywords that make purchases; it's people (at least for now). This is why solely focusing on keyword research or technical audits won’t suffice. You must understand who your ideal customer persona is.

There are several ways to do this. A simple approach is to collaborate with your marketing colleagues to access existing customer profiles.

If you know someone from another department who fits your target customer profile, spend time shadowing them or conducting an in-depth interview. Discover their online information sources, decision-making factors, and daily challenges. You can also explore the GA4 Demographics report for insights into age, location, and interests. However, be cautious as your website may attract the wrong users.

Lastly, craft a profile of your ideal customer. 

2. Explore your data

In Nigeria, SEO often underestimates the wealth of data collected by customer-facing departments such as sales and support.

Platforms like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics offer valuable insights into customer needs and behaviors, making them indispensable tools for SEO. Leveraging these platforms and their reports can greatly enhance SEO strategies.

However, navigating through the data directly within these platforms can be challenging. To start, create a report with the essential information within the tool and export it in CSV format.

Many organizations face constraints on exporting CRM data due to privacy considerations. Always ensure that your reports exclude personally identifiable information, such as emails, phone numbers, names, and company details. Focus on the information input by your sales team, such as a summary of conversations or descriptions of leads’ situations.

After exporting, you have several options and depending on the volume, you should:

- Review it manually.

- Group it using a Python script.

- Or request ChatGPT to assist with the heavy lifting.

While seeking recurring patterns in customer dialogue, you can also utilize simple tools like TagCrowd to identify frequently repeated words in your initial report.

The outcome of this exercise should be a document with three columns:

  • Users’ pain points/challenges.
  • Customers’ voice or how your customers have articulated these challenges.
  • Information on the frequency of each challenge being mentioned.

Alternatively, if we need to translate these into more SEO-friendly terms:

  • Topics.
  • Keywords related to the topics.
  • Search volume.

Unfortunately, CRM platform data can often be insufficient. In such instances, you must broaden your research beyond your company. One approach is to utilize review platforms.

3. Review customer feedback

If someone dedicates 30 minutes of their time to write a review of your product, they either adore it or despise it intensely. In either scenario, these users offer valuable insights.

While you may not be able to address the grievances of those who dislike certain features and functionalities, you can analyze the rest for affirmations of your product's strengths and the problems it has solved in their lives.

Most platforms offer options to export reviews in CSV format. The analysis process afterward can mirror that of CRM data. You can even enlist ChatGPT to conduct a SWOT analysis for your product, identifying strengths and weaknesses.

Review platforms serve beyond mere customer feedback access. They present crucial insights and real-life illustrations for content creation. Additionally, they facilitate competitor review access, enriching competitive analysis.

Gathering initial data on your competitors may necessitate deeper Python knowledge, an additional budget for third-party tools, a browser extension, or extensive manual effort. Regardless of the approach, the outcomes yield valuable insights into customer perceptions of your competitors.

Extract the use cases and real-life scenarios from these reviews, and if your product addresses them, ensure they are highlighted in your content. Maintain ethical standards and refrain from making unsubstantiated claims.

4. Broaden your insights with online forums

In Nigeria, SEO professionals have recently expressed frustration over Google’s preference for platforms like Reddit and Quora. These forums thrive on content created by real users, making them invaluable for Google’s algorithms. Leverage this content to enhance your SEO strategy.

One approach to begin analyzing them is by using traditional keyword research tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, and others. Simply check the domain and all the keywords it ranks for, then search for keywords relevant to your content.

By employing this method, you'll compile a list of pages ranking for relevant keywords. Some may contain specific discussions, while others represent communities. You can then expand them manually. Once your list is prepared, extract the information using:

- A web scraping browser extension (numerous options available).

- A website crawler with information extraction capabilities (such as Screaming Frog).

- Or a tool like Sheetsmagic, which directly transfers your data to Google Sheets.

The analysis can be conducted using AI, Python, or manual review. This time, you'll gain an additional layer of information – potential titles for your upcoming content.

Merge insights from customer conversations, your own data, and reviews to identify alignments with your ideal customer persona. This amalgamation forms the foundation of your customized SEO strategy, culminating in your product-led content calendar and SEO plan.

5. Craft content that addresses your customers’ inquiries

In Nigeria, the key to effective content lies in addressing your customers’ questions and providing solutions to their challenges, all while showcasing how your product/service fits into the equation.

Your blog should not merely replicate your documentation; instead, it should present the features and capabilities of your product in a storytelling format. Transform the customer examples you've gathered into compelling narratives. Ideally, incorporate quotes from actual customers. If quotes aren't available, utilize supporting statistics. Companies like PWC, EY, Deloitte, Accenture, and McKinsey publish extensive research that can serve as inspiration.

Embarking on your product-led SEO journey is straightforward, and it can provide valuable insights into why customers choose your product. Your strategy shouldn’t remain stagnant. Once you establish the fundamentals, it should adapt to the evolving needs of your audience. Only by continuously learning and adapting can you ensure sustained engagement and drive growth. Your customers are guiding the way, and it's essential to remain dedicated to following their lead.

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