The Importance of SEO at Each Stage of the Buyer’s Journey

By Jim Robinson | SEO
Posted June 15, 2017






 

The importance of seo at each stage of the buyer journey by ClickSeed

The buyer’s journey is a hot topic in the content marketing world. Top brands like Hubspot, Pardot, and The Content Marketing Institute have been defining and discussing the buyer’s journey for years, and many of these discussions have created brand new strategies and roadmaps for content marketing teams.

While focusing on the buyer’s journey and related strategies is a worthy endeavor, neglecting SEO principles as they relate to the buyer journey will deliver sub-standard results.

For example, ranking on page one for an informational keyword is a step toward awareness, the first step in a buyer’s journey roadmap. If buyers are arriving at a landing page geared toward a direct conversion or purchase, they are likely to pass through your website and move on to a competitor who invites them into the next stage, consideration.

 

Want the short version? Download our free SEO Buyer Journey Cheatsheet!

 

Do you have an SEO problem that relates to the buyer’s journey?

Buyer's journey through the different stages

 

Identify Keywords, Content, and Landing Pages for Each Stage

The first step in optimizing search results is to map keywords, content, and landing pages with each stage of the buyer’s journey.

 

Do you have an SEO problem that relates to the buyer journey? Click To Tweet

 

The four stages of the buyer’s journey are:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion
  • Retention

Begin identifying keywords, content, and landing pages with buyer intent and persona information. Once you’ve optimized landing pages according to the buyer’s journey map, dive into Google Analytics and ensure you’re tracking details that will determine landing page creation and changes.

The buyer's journey is a key element to consider when crafting your #SEO strategy Click To Tweet

Awareness Keywords, Content, and Landing Pages

Some marketers overlook the importance of the awareness stage because it’s associated with information searches (non-transactional). Since information searches account for approximately 80% of all search queries, ignoring them is not a wise move.

  • Identify all neutral educational keywords.
  • Identify landing pages with the highest traffic and content associated with these keywords.

Once the awareness keyword list is complete, perform a content audit for each landing page. Before making changes to high-traffic landing pages, record all of the following information:

Screen Shot 2017 06 07 at 5.32.45 PM

If a landing page targets the right keyword for the awareness phase of the buyer journey, has high traffic, a low bounce rate, and a below average conversion rate, revise it and optimize it for the persona.

Conversion tools for Awareness pages often fall into the resources category:

  • White Papers
  • eBooks
  • Videos
  • Pre-recorded Webinars

Once you’ve outlined conversion tools for each landing page that matches visitor intent, be sure to implement landing page optimization best practices.

 

Want the short version? Download our free SEO Buyer Journey Cheatsheet!

 

Consideration Keywords, Content, and Landing Pages

In the consideration stage, prospects are already educated; they are comparing details, overcoming objections, and reviewing options. You can find consideration keywords in your FAQ section, form submissions, and by talking to your sales team.

Optimize landing pages and search engine snippets, so they speak to your buyer’s top concerns during the consideration phase. Once a prospect in the consideration stage clicks on your landing page, they should be able to easily navigate the site and find information quickly. Include buttons and links to your FAQ page, data sheets, and assets that will help them during the consideration process.

Helpful tip:

If you haven’t set up Site Search Reporting in Google Analytics, now is the time. The search data will give you a goldmine of keywords to target during the consideration phase.

Magnifying glass to signify site search reporting in Google Analytics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve identified a list of consideration keywords, don’t forget about modifiers and branded searches.

  • Affordable
  • Best
  • Comparison
  • Review
  • Top
  • Troubleshoot
  • Solution
  • Provider

Create assets that will appeal to your top-level personas in the consideration stage and quickly move them to the conversion stage:

  • Comparison data sheets
  • Free trials
  • Video tutorials
  • Access to industry statistics and data

Top brands are beginning to offer interactive content in the form of surveys, questionnaires, and interactive tools like calculators, pre-formatted spreadsheets, etc. The Consideration Stage is the time to stand out from the crowd, get creative!

 

Conversion Keywords, Content, and Landing Pages

Conversion keywords are probably the easiest to identify, but they are also the most competitive. If you are short on time and can’t devote maximum effort to every stage, begin with your conversion landing pages and implement every suggestion.

Capitalize on the Details

Build out persona data with the following conversion details:

  • Geographic data
  • Device type

Google Analytics can help you track geographic and device data, and Twilio can help you track conversion data from customers who reach out to you via phone. Use the geographic data to help you improve local SEO, and make sure these landing pages are optimized for mobile if your conversion traffic comes from mobile devices.

Build Trust

Prospects in the conversion stage are ready to make a decision, and your landing page should give them access to information that helps them overcome objections.

 

Prospects in the conversion stage are ready to make a decision #buyerjourney Click To Tweet

 

Here are a few content suggestions to help them trust your brand and move forward:

  • Tags/Snippets with a call to action or question to draw them in and click on your page
  • Copy that helps them assess ROI
  • Copy that alerts them to free trials, customer service, client testimonials
  • Social media profile links

Retention Keywords, Content, and Landing Pages

The retention stage of the buyer’s journey is often overlooked. Retention content and keywords keep your customers coming back to your website for updates, education, and new product news.

A study by the inventors of the net promoter score, Frederick Reichheld, found that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

Identifying retention keywords isn’t difficult; reviewing sales data on customers who have purchased more than one service or item on two different dates will give you answers. Email marketing campaigns will also deliver valuable insight into the type of content that attracts existing customers and keeps them coming back for more.

Retention content ideas and options:

  • Free training and webinars
  • Product updates and upgrade options
  • Industry news
  • Problem-solving tools
  • Limited-time free trials for new products and services
  • Customer surveys in exchange for participation rewards

Retention content is a lot like social media: It should be timely, relevant, and helpful. Blog posts and articles are an easy way to add retention content to your site and distribute it for client or customer base.

Helpful tip: Use Google Analytics tracking correctly to monitor and analyze returning website visitors.

Retention content is a lot like social media: It should be timely, relevant, and helpful. Click To Tweet

Users vs. Sessions

Users vs session - different events throughout the buyer's journey

Image Source: Google Analytics Support

 

Want the short version? Download our free SEO Buyer Journey Cheatsheet!

 

Be aware of session expirations and new sessions. Remember, a single user can open multiple sessions.

Devices

Consider the device when creating content for buyers in the retention phase. Buyers will often save something on their phone and make a purchase or download from a desktop or laptop, but don’t assume that is always the case. Google Analytics can help you analyze mobile conversion rates. Set up accurate tracking for New & Returning Visitor reports.

SEO rankings should be a long-term goal for your content marketing initiative. The value in an organic top-of-page-one listing far outweighs the ROI on a blog post or article that was popular on social media. Taking the extra time to create and optimize SEO landing pages for every stage of the buyer’s journey will deliver much more than rankings; it will ensure that prospects connect and engage with your brand at just the right time.

 






Author: Jim Robinson

Jim is the Founder & CEO of ClickSeed, and a 16-year veteran in the digital media space. Stay connected with Jim by following any of the social media links below, or get in touch via our contact form any time.

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