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Understanding the SEO Customer Journey

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Seo Customer Journey Tn

Last updated: March 8, 2024

SEO is a discipline focused on understanding the needs of searchers. A well-executed SEO campaign succeeds for three reasons: thoughtful keyword selection, high quality content that responds to the searcher’s intent, and optimized conversion pathways to push visitors along in their customer journey. This article is concerned only with the latter: the series of web pages visitors click through on their way to becoming customers.

This customer journey consists of three stages:

  • Stage 1: The visitor clicks through to your website from the Google search results
  • Stage 2: The visitor browses other content that acquaints them with the company better and increases their trust (known as “nurturing”) until they’re ready to purchase
  • Stage 3: The “warmed up” visitor hits one final page that tips them over into requesting a sales conversation

The most common steps along customers’ SEO journeys are depicted in the table below, along with the specific page types they visit. Note that each web page in the visitor’s customer journey is color coded to match the stage of the journey they’re in.

Searcher Type The Buyer  The Troubleshooter The Veteran The Researcher  The Learner
Description A searcher who is beginning their online search with an intent to buy. The most common visitor—someone with a specific problem requiring a solution. A more experienced prospect looking for a company with a strong industry track record. Visitors researching buying-related queries who aren’t yet ready to commit to a purchase. A searcher in a more junior role looking to familiarize themselves with a given topic. While learners rarely have purchasing authority, they often have influence with more senior decision makers.
Common Click-Path

(Stage 1, Stage 2Stage 3)
Product Page

Features Page

Sales Contact Form
Blog Article

Services Page

About Page 

Case Study

Sales Contact Form
Industry Page

About Page

Services Page

Sales Contact Form
Blog Article

Registration Gated White Paper

Off-Site Email 

Product Page

Sales Contact Form
Blog Article 1

Blog Article 2

Case Study

Off-Site Email 

Sales Contact Form
Ideal Tone Product-oriented tone which focuses on features while providing readers with CTA to purchase. Highly technical expert voice focused on solving the reader’s problem. Industry-appropriate language. Writer must pass as someone with equal experience to the reader. Expert tone that provides niche information that prompts the reader towards deeper material, like white papers. Educational tone focused on providing broad-ranging information and providing additional reading via CTAs. 
Average Conversion Rates Product Page to Features Page: 19% Features Page to Contact Form: 8% Blog Article to Services Page: 9%Services Page to About Page: 38%

About Page to Case Study:24% 

Case Study to Contact Form: 8%

Industry page to About Page: 14% About Page to Services Page: 19%

Services Page to Contact Form: 5.5%

Blog article to White Paper: 13%White Paper Email Signup: 21%

Email to Product Page: 15% 

Product Page to Contact Form: 12%

Blog Article 1 to Blog Article 2: 12%Blog Article 2 to Case Study: 28% 

Case Study Email Sign Up: 33%

Email to Contact Form: 8%

Below, we’ll examine each stage in more detail and discuss how to create optimized pages for each. 

Stage 1: Clicking Through to an Initial Page from Google Search Results

In the first stage of the SEO customer journey, a searcher clicks through to your website from Google. This initial page is often the first contact a customer ever has with your journey, and therefore these initial pages should prioritize two things: 

  1. Quickly provide the visitor with the information they’re looking for, answering their search intent and building trust with them
  2. Present actionable next steps including links for further reading, contact forms, email list sign-ups and other conversion actions

Searchers of the most transactional keywords such as the buyer and the veteran will land on product, service, or industry landing pages where the call to action is to make a purchase. This shortens the conversion funnel, increasing the chance that those searchers will make a purchase. Searchers of less transactional keywords instead land on blog articles targeting more research-focused keywords, and will go on to view additional intermediary content before converting.

Creating Initial Pages

Because they are your website’s first chance to make an impression, the tone of initial pages is a key factor in encouraging future conversion. The page must adopt the tone and language of the target industry in order to signal membership in the searcher’s in-group. For example, using the term “users” instead of “customers” when writing about SaaS communicates that the writer has experience in the SaaS industry, which makes the audience more likely to recognize them as an authority in that field. Additionally, writers should avoid unnecessary fluff, colloquialisms, or overly sales-oriented content (unless the initial page in question is targeting a very highly transactional keyword.) Instead of an immediate, the goal of many initial pages is to encourage the reader to seek out more information and deepen their relationship with your company.

Stage 2: Browsing Intermediary Nurturing Content

Intermediary content consists of any pages a visitor reads after their initial page, as well as any content sent through lead nurturing channels such as email campaigns or social media. Intermediary content usually takes the form of:

  • Blog articles (these also serve as initial pages)
  • About Us” pages
  • Conversion-oriented landing pages
  • White papers and reports
  • Case studies

The goal of intermediary content is to develop a more trusted relationship with a prospective buyer, nurturing their interest until they’re ready to convert. (In addition to the above, detailed and attractive home pages can also serve as intermediary content.) These pages can begin to introduce the benefits of your products or services, presenting them as a potential solution to problems the prospect may be experiencing. For example: 

A visitor clicks on an article titled “The Best Team Management Software Compared.” The article details the pros and cons of several software providers, making suggestions for who each one is best suited for. The article also compares their own product, which states that it is best for an audience demographic that includes the visitor. As a result, they click on a related article deep-diving into the feature set that the product provides, moving them closer to a purchase.

Although conversion becomes more of a goal as the reader progresses into the later stages of the customer acquisition funnel, content should continue to focus on providing the reader with high-level expertise.

Creating Intermediary Pages

Intermediary pages should maintain an impartial tone but can begin to discuss the advantages of your products and services from a relatively objective standpoint. These pages can also explain more niche concepts and provide more detailed information than initial pages, making them a good fit for white papers and case studies.

Stage 3: Contact Sales Through a Conversion Page

Conversion pages are the final stop on the SEO customer journey. These pages should present your company’s product or service as the best solution for the reader’s needs. Conversion pages are most often:

  • Product landing pages
  • Service landing pages
  • Features pages
  • Solutions pages

Because they take place at the end of the customer journey, conversion pages can use a more sales-oriented tone compared to  both initial and intermediary pages. At this stage readers have formed an established relationship with your content, and simply need a final push to reach out to your sales team.

Creating Conversion-Oriented Pages

While conversion-oriented pages must continue to speak to the needs of their target audience, they can be written with a more sales oriented tone. For example, someone looking at an “About Us” page on a company’s website is likely trying to determine whether they feel the company’s values fit them. Similarly, someone looking at the product page or free demo signup is already interested in reaching out. It’s important to ensure your conversion pages answer all of the questions your searcher may have, with clear CTAs dispersed throughout, presenting several opportunities for the customer to convert. 

Implementing Your SEO Conversion Funnel

The work that goes into a fully-functioning SEO campaign can get the best of even the most seasoned marketers. Intricacies such as developing a hub-and-spoke strategy for keyword targeting, evaluating page performance, and updating regularly using the Corpus of Content model is overwhelming. The expenses alone often lead many companies to consider developing an in-house team to handle these developments, but this can be equally a liability without the requisite experience and training.

For that reason, many companies outsource the heavy lifting of their SEO customer journey to an experienced partner. Our full-service SEO agency specializes in customer acquisition through thought leadership content. Our process is designed to provide campaigns with an expert-level tone that speaks to a wide range of target demographics. We handle everything surrounding content creation, including keyword research, audience targeting, and publishing. Contact us if you’d like to discuss a partnership.

Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.