Cater to People, Not Users

Since the advent of the great age of digital marketing, businesses online have lived and died by a single entity: the user. There is just one problem, a user isn’t a living, breathing organism capable of complex thought and emotion. A user is just a thing, created by a business for which to sell to.

Dark Days

In the beginning, this simplicity was good. In days past, you could fool early search engines into ranking your website by “catering” to the users’ search inquiries. Many a shady practice have come and gone, from keyword stuffing of titanic proportions to pop-up flash ads that blasted people into submission simply to make it go away. For actual human beings, this environment was a nightmare. But companies were getting what they wanted: users.

But things are getting better.

Thanks to the current complexity of these algorithms, it is seemingly easier to simply create and present quality content for people rather than try and game the search engines. If this is your game plan from the start, then you have no need to fear search engines updating their algorithms. Sure with each update you will have to adjust your process slightly and alter a few technical aspects of your site, but you will not be one of the stories where multi-million dollar industries collapse into nothing because their strategy was to game the search engine.

Content for the People by the People.

Whether CEO of a company or a designer creating ads to sell, everyone at some point has needs that require research and, at the end, a transaction. It is not a complex process to understand. There is a why (people’s needs), a who (the people with these needs), and a how (enabling those people to meet their needs). Degrading people to users only disconnects us from thinking of it as a human interaction. Many questions like “Why are users not converting?” would be much easier to answer if you sat down and thought about how YOU would want this transaction to go. While you can’t assume that these people are the same as you in every way, you do know how they want to be treated and how they wish the process to go.


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