Part 3 of our series on The New SEO
I’m going to shock you – website traffic doesn’t always matter. This is a topic that I often have people argue with me about. And it’s usually people who aren’t in the marketing or SEO arena and may not understand all of the nuances I’m discussing.
I’ll tell you what DOES matter: It’s important to understand and consider user intent if you want to drive conversions. This is about how you can and should pivot your thinking to start implementing this particular SEO strategy.
I’ll give you a good example. One of my small secondary income streams is high-quality paint by number kits designed for adults. I named it Number on the Wall Art. This also happens to be part of the chorus of a song from the 80s or 90s – you remember 867-5309? If I could secure that phone number I might.
I also might not and the reason is directly related to today’s discussion. Why? It’s very likely if someone were to call it, they may jokingly be trying to reach Jenny from the song and have absolutely no interest in my paint by number kits. Sure maybe I would get lucky and a random person I would be able to talk into the perfect painting.
Similar with targeting the wrong keywords, and by extension the wrong user intent. Those people calling because of the song have no intention of buying my kits. If you have ineffective SEO you could be driving a LOT of traffic to your website, and still have no conversions.
That argument I get into? It’s about the fact that it’s useless to drive traffic to your website if you aren’t going to convert any of them. Their argument is usually something like “oh but I may have ONE person buy which is more than I had before.” My rebuttal is along the lines of it’s still costing you time and money – both precious resources – so would you rather spend that time and money on focused SEO efforts that actually lead to conversions? You would invest the same resources, and while you may drive less traffic, you will end up with more conversions.
The Four Pillars of User Intent
Most marketing or sales funnels are comprised of about seven different buckets. I even walk you through the pieces of a marketing funnel and knowing about all seven is really going to help you optimize your marketing funnel.
For our SEO purposes, we talk about four stages of a customer journey as part of a marketing funnel that are related to user intent and searches:
Those may sound a bit confusing, so if it’s easier you can think of them more like:
Our Four-Step User Intent SEO Strategy
Consider your business, and specifically your website, and think how all of the content on your website may fall into those four different stages of a customer journey. Look at each of these four stages like different pillars or buckets. Then look at your website content.
Print out a list of all of the pages of your website.
If you have a huge website, start with a smaller list. You won’t be doing everything in one sitting anyway, so you can export the whole list to an Excel sheet, and just start working through it in sections.
Categorize each page.
You want to determine which of those four pillars it belongs to – know, go, do, buy. Some pages may have overlap, but select the one pillar that it most relates to.
Edit each page for user intent.
Then, you want to start editing each page to make it even more aligned with that particular pillar. Just go one page at a time.
What you want to do is edit your existing call to action, or place one if there isn’t, that directly bridges the page to a proper page that is in the next pillar. Here’s some things to consider:
- A “know” page is information. It likely won’t have a direct “buy here” link … something more effective may be “learn more”. You’re telling them how to solve their problem and is talking about their problem in general. This bridges to …
- A “go” page, which is where you help them find your solution to their problem and why your solution is the right one. This may be helping them find which product or service is best for them, connecting to a product on your website or locating where to find it in their area, finding your office. This bridges to…
- A “do” page. They are clicking on a product to add it to the shopping cart. They are calling your office to make an appointment. Which bridges to …
- The “buy” page. They are checking out and completing a transaction.
Rinse and repeat
Of course the most important step is to continue through this process until you’ve edited all of the pages on your website.
Other items to consider
Keep in mind while you are going through this process, you want to be sure there is SOME type of call-to-action on every page – beyond just the email address and phone number that are somewhere in your header or footer.
Just like it doesn’t do you much good to send a whole lot of traffic to your website that will never be interested in converting, it also doesn’t do you much good to have solid prospects there and you never ask them to buy.
Plus, you want to keep your client persona in mind. How do they search? how do they prefer to consume content? What type of information would they need?