The Minnesota Search Engine Optimization Association recently held their annual MN Search Summit in Saint Paul.
This was hard core SEO for hard core SEO people and, as a hard core SEO person, I was there, front and center. There’s not enough space (and you don’t have the time) for me to summarize everything that was presented and discussed, so I’ll drill it down to this: It’s all about the Funnel!
It may not be ground-breaking news, but far and away the most important takeaway I got from the Summit was the importance of creating an effective SEO Funnel for introducing and embedding keywords onto your site.
Keywords essentially fall into one of three categories: Informational, Commercial or Transactional.
The first step to creating an effective funnel is identifying which pages need keyword optimization, (usually starting with the highest trafficked pages on your site), then categorizing them as early-funnel/Informational, mid-funnel/Commercial, or end-of-funnel/Transactional.
Let’s break those down a little further, using a food processor as an example product.
This is considered the “research” phase of customer acquisition. People want to know what the product actually does and what features it has. The keywords should deliver basic factual and functional descriptions. Using a food processor as an example, search engine users could be searching for food processor features, the difference between a food processor and a juicer, recipe ideas for a health smoothie, etc. All keywords should circle around basic level, factual descriptions of the product or service.
This is best described as the “compare” phase, where consumers are extremely responsive to product descriptions, reviews or testimonials. In this stage the user will be putting products against one another to determine which product best suits their needs. “Ranking” or “rating” keywords are a good fit here, e.g.
”best (highest) rated”
“best quality food processor”
“best food processor brand”
At this stage, the consumer has reached the end point of gathering all the facts about functionality, make and model. Your target customers are now choosing a vendor to purchase from. Invest in derivative keywords like “economical,” “affordable,” or “competitive” if you’re looking to sell based on a low price point, “upscale”, “lavish,” “luxurious” for the alternative.
The deeper the funnel the consumer goes, the more important it is to have your keywords be deliberate, concise, and clear because of how quickly the consumer will be ready to pull the trigger. The upside down funnel shape is representative not only of the quantity of early inquiries vs purchases, but also the amount of research involved at each stage in the process. Something as simple as “price” may be the only factor at the time of purchase, so make sure everything is well-illustrated and orchestrated on the frontend and backend of your site.
Don’t Forget Mobile
ALL keyword planning should be researched and executed according to mobile-friendly best practices. Desktop usage (in general) has remained relatively stagnant for the past three years. Mobile usage has climbed equally and incrementally (straight line trajectory) since 2007 then without any signs of slowing, surpassing desktop usage in 2013.
Do Your Research
Do not assume that keywords with the highest search volume will have the most relevancy. It all depends on your website. News-based websites generally occupy the highest amount of volume for keywords, but also have the lowest amount of relevancy due to the amount of turnover. What’s hot one day will soon be old news. So, in choosing a keyword, if you notice that the source of keywords is being dominated by news sources, it’s recommended to stay away from those.
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