Applying Design Thinking in SEO Campaigns

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Applying Design Thinking in SEO Campaigns

Design Thinking, a methodology rooted in human-centric design, has been gaining popularity across industries for its effectiveness in solving complex business problems. This approach is slowly creeping into and being applied to SEO campaigns. And for good reasons! Integrating Design Thinking into SEO strategies can lead to more effective and user-centric outcomes. In this SEO Premier Blog, we’ll discuss how the framework can be applied to both on-page and off-page optimisation tactics, along with its benefits.

So What is Design Thinking?

For starters, Design Thinking is a problem-solving approach that prioritises empathy for end-users, which involves collaborating, experimenting and iterating the development of innovative solutions for THEM. While there is much hype about making data-driven decisions about a product or service, design thinking aims to solve people’s problems through creativity rather than just data. While the process can vary slightly depending on the context, the primary stages of the framework remain the same: Empathise, define, ideate, prototype, and lastly, test and evaluate.

Optimising SEO Campaigns with User Intent in Mind

At its core, SEO is all about providing the best answer to every search query of a web user. Blending Design Thinking and SEO is an impactful way to understand intent behind every search phrase, and adding value by precisely yielding accurate and relevant answers to them.

Design Thinking places strong emphasis on understanding your target market’s behaviour. When you inject a user-centric approach into your SEO campaign, you can create content and calibrate strategies that better resonate with your audience. Furthermore, the iterative nature of Design Thinking encourages experimentation and creativity. It’s okay not to have the perfect strategy in place the first time: SEO professionals are allowed to explore new ideas, fail in a calculated manner, learn the lessons, and improve your technique in the next iteration.

Another benefit of Design Thinking is the amount of cross-collaboration required among teams to brainstorm and implement SEO strategies effectively. DT doesn’t look at departments as silos, teams that are working discretely from one another. Each team member, whether marketer, developer, or designer, is part of a continuous value chain, optimising the flow of value from one group to the next.

Lastly, because the SEO landscape is always evolving, with search engine algorithms and users preferences changing regularly, Design Thinking equips SEO specialists with the mindset and tools to respond to users’ needs quickly and effectively.

Application of Design Thinking for On-Page Optimisation Activities

Using the stages in the Design Thinking Framework, we lay down how you can meld DT in your on-page optimisation activities:

  • EMPATHISE: Understand the target audience's search intent, pain points, and preferences through techniques such as user research, surveys, and data analysis. Tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, and user feedback platforms can provide valuable insights.
  • DEFINE: Based on the insights gathered, define the specific goals and objectives of the on-page optimization efforts. This could include improving organic search visibility, increasing click-through rates (CTRs), or enhancing user experience. For example, A SaaS startup defines its on-page optimization goals as increasing organic traffic and trial sign-ups for its software platform. They prioritise optimising landing pages with clear call-to-action (CTA) buttons and persuasive copywriting to increase conversions.
  • IDEATE: Brainstorm potential on-page optimisation strategies and tactics to achieve the defined goals. This could involve keyword research, content optimization, improving website structure and navigation, and implementing schema markup to enhance search result snippets.
  • PROTOTYPE: Develop prototypes of optimised web pages based on the ideated strategies. This could involve creating mockups or wireframes to visualise the layout, content, and structure of the pages before implementation.
  • TEST AND EVALUATE: Conduct A/B testing and usability testing to evaluate the effectiveness of the prototypes. Analyse metrics such as bounce rates, time on page, and conversion rates to identify areas for improvement

Application of Design Thinking for Off-Page Optimisation Activities

For off-page optimisation activities, here’s how you can inject DT into your SEO game plan:

  • EMPATHISE: Understand the target audience's online behaviour, preferences, and interactions with external websites and platforms. This could involve analysing referral traffic, social media engagement, and backlink profiles.
  • DEFINE: Define the off-page optimization objectives, such as increasing website authority, building brand awareness, and acquiring high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
  • IDEATE: Brainstorm strategies to achieve the defined objectives, such as content marketing, influencer outreach, guest blogging, and social media promotion. Identify opportunities to collaborate with industry influencers and thought leaders. For example, a digital marketing firm ideates off-page optimization strategies for a client in the travel industry. They develop a content marketing plan focused on creating high-quality blog posts and interactive infographics to attract backlinks from travel vloggers and enthusiasts.
  • PROTOTYPE: Develop prototypes of off-page optimization campaigns, including content calendars, outreach templates, and promotional strategies. Test different messaging and tactics to determine what resonates best with target audiences. One example is a financial services company prototypes a series of off-page optimization campaigns aimed at improving its website's domain authority and search rankings. They experiment with guest blogging, podcast appearances, and industry event sponsorships to increase brand visibility and credibility.
  • TEST AND EVALUATE: Monitor the performance of off-page optimization efforts using metrics like referral traffic, backlink quality, and social media engagement. Iterate on the strategies based on the results and feedback gathered.

As you have seen, applying the Design Thinking framework to SEO campaigns can lead to more user-centric, innovative, and effective optimisation strategies. If you follow these principles at heart, you can achieve better results and get into the good graces of any SEO client under your care. Good luck on your next campaign!

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