The customer journey is an important part of an SEO strategy. It doesn’t matter what you sell, your customers will go through an online journey to decide which products or services to buy and who to buy them from.
The most obvious keywords in the customer journey, and therefore the most competitive, are the ones that indicate someone’s at the buying stage but if you focus all your SEO budget at that stage, you’re likely to miss out on better value opportunities to become their preferred brand before they make the buying decision. In addition, consumers are more likely to buy from brands they are familiar with so if your brand has been coming up in their research consistently and they’ve been engaging with it, there’s a greater chance they will choose you when they’re ready to buy.
How to use customer journeys to improve SEO performance
Start with keyword research to determine the keywords your target market is searching to indicate they may require your services in the not-too-distant future. For example, a family law practice would benefit from ranking for searches like ‘how much does divorce cost’ or ‘what age is the best age to make a will’. They are examples of keywords early in the journey that indicate someone could soon require legal services, they are easier to rank for and maintain ranks than keywords like ‘divorce solicitors’ or ‘family solicitors and they’re potentially as valuable.
After keyword research you’ll end up with keywords you can optimise for at different stages of the customer journey and for different product and service areas of your business. It’ll result in an increased number of visitors that enter your site on a wide variety of topics that relate to your different products or services and indicate they could be interested in them. You can use this data to determine performance, and growth targets, by different product or service areas. In addition, you can create re-marketing audiences based on the content they entered the site on and serve ads that match their area of interest and stage in the customer journey.
Keywords that demonstrate purchase intent
Some customers will decide to use your brand after engaging early in the customer journey and without performing a search that indicates they’re about to buy something. Others will quickly move to the purchase stage and perform a search with buying signals. You want to be found by both types of potential customers.
The additional benefit of standing out at all stages of the customer journey is the familiarity prospects will develop with your brand. Increasing familiarity with your brand before they demonstrate purchase intent will significantly increase the probability, they choose you instead of a competitor.
The customer journey in off page SEO
As your customers search keywords to determine the need for your products and services, and which brand they buy them from, they will come across information from other sources such as reviews, best lists, directories, content, and your social media channels. As well as achieving a target rank and acquiring traffic it’s important to ensure off page activities help your customers to know you are the leading brand doing what you do. They’re not only important in the decision-making process, they’re also important SEO ranking factors.