Every customer who comes to you has a unique story that influences their journey and impacts their purchase decision. For some, it could be the desire to find an alternative or enhance an already existing experience. But if they are considering your brand, it means they think your product or service has exactly what they need. Now, it’s your call – how do you make their customer journey as pleasant and efficient as possible?
There are many aspects to it, sure. But where does this journey start, though? Often, the first touch your leads have with your business is SEO. Search engine optimization basically refers to all the organic traffic you get. That’s why it is so important to master this part of the customer journey marketing. In the end, it is one of the best ways to get new leads and convert the existing ones into paying clients. Now, let’s get into some of the most effective practical tips.
What Is a Customer Journey?
Most people think of a customer journey as something that begins at the moment of purchase but it is actually way different in reality. A customer journey refers to the series of experiences or steps that your customer takes from the moment they learn about your brand, interact with it, and buy from you. This also includes the actions they take after making a purchase.
Now, as you can imagine, that will look very different for everyone. Over 68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine. Also, this accounts for more than half of all your web traffic. So, being able to adapt your marketing strategy to fit each stage of the customer’s journey is crucial.
Since more than half of your prospective customers will find you online, you need to reach out to them by leveraging guest posting sites, for example. This allows you to boost your brand awareness and visibility, improve search rankings, and broaden your audience reach. But remember that the customer journey can also start and end offline or start from one means and transition to the other.
The Importance of Mapping a Buyer’s Journey for SEO
Source: Think with Google
Planning the customer journey is an integral part of any digital marketing strategy. And here are the reasons why:
#1 Understand Your Customers’ Needs Better
Look, today’s customers (about 66% of them) expect you to anticipate and understand their needs. But how can you do this if you don’t take the time to map their journey? When you learn every step of the way your clients take, you will gain insights into their pain points, preferences, habits, and feelings. As a result, you will acquire the exact knowledge you need to create and implement a more effective marketing strategy that aligns well with their search intent. Besides, if you use all that data to build an SEO strategy, you will get much better results from your optimization campaigns. A lovely bonus, isn’t it?
#2 Make Data-Driven Decisions
The difference between a failed campaign and a successful one most times lies in the accuracy of the available data that is used in the decision-making process and the interpretation of that information. 51% of marketing professionals agree that basing more decisions on data analysis is crucial. Thankfully, there are many tools that exist solely to help you take the guesswork out of your workflow.
#3 Align Your Content to Match the Different Stages of Consumers’ Journey
Whether you are targeting B2C, B2B, or retail, you can always adapt your content strategy to align with each customer at different stages of their journey. You can also adjust your efforts to match each type of audience by providing a wide variety of content in a style that fits their preferences.
For example, a younger audience might prefer their content delivered through short video clips on social media or podcasts, while a different age demographic might want to get a good juicy long read for their Sunday morning. Remember, great content is also prime backlink material which is important for building topical authority (another major part of SEO).
#4 Deliver Better Experiences
By following the customer’s journey, brands understand how their clients interact with the brand across all channels. This can empower your business to come up with new ways to keep improving your services. Additionally, you can gain new insights into untapped goldmines that can boost your revenue stream. This might sound too good to be true – we get it. But the truth is that if you are serious about it, it can be one of the most effective ways to learn more about your clients and their needs.
How Does SEO Impact a Buyer’s Journey?
So, we’ve already seen that many customers begin their shopping journey online. Now, here’s the thing: even your offline customers (most of them, at least) will have some sort of online interaction with your brand. This could be anything, from stumbling upon your brand mention on a social media post to reading one of your guest posts. This is why using SEO to align your marketing tactics is so important. If it’s a new concept to you, here is a great place to start:
- Increased awareness. The first part of the customer’s journey typically begins with the awareness that there is an issue to be addressed, a problem that requires a solution, or a gap that needs to be filled up fast. To be able to move from this stage to the consideration stage, where consumers consider their options, they need the right information. And the best scenario is when your potential clients first learn about you from your sources rather than any potential negative press out there.
- Quicker access to the right information. Your content, when well-optimized, can help make customers’ searches easier and more meaningful. They should get the right information without having to dig through a ton of content on the internet. This means that your clients also save time on research and can decide faster. As a result, their transition from the consideration stage to the decision stage is quicker. Proper and timely information also applies to the post-purchase stage when your customers need help with the setup or troubleshooting an issue.
- Better website experience. Most times, people focus on content and ignore the technical aspects of SEO. Let’s just say – it isn’t the best move, as your online visibility is highly impacted by the user experience you offer. 70% of customers say that page speed influences their purchase decisions. That’s why SEO, both on-page and off-page, is often a vital factor that influences customers’ decision to access your content, buy from you, etc.
- Quick resolution of issues. No brand is above the occasional gaffes or flaws. SEO helps businesses understand things from the customer’s perspective. This kind of understanding breeds more empathy and helps brands resolve issues or complaints faster. The good thing about SEO is that it’s easy to track. While some marketing issues might be hard to detect, search engine optimization is straightforward. You just need a decent tool and some basic knowledge. If you don’t know where to start you can find several tools for SEO audits, which can be done for free online.
- Enhanced brand trust for lasting relationships. 71% of customers stop buying from a brand that they don’t trust anymore. SEO is crucial for building and maintaining customer’s trust. From building your domain TrustScore to providing social proof, valuable content, and more, SEO is the key to building a sustainable relationship with your customers. It also gives you the tool to retain them and incentivize them to become brand advocates.
Customer Journey SEO Strategy: How to Optimize Your Marketing Techniques to Drive More Conversions
Source: @AItestpage on X
Know Where Your Customers Are Coming From
Any business is approached by different people. Some will first learn about you on the internet, others from friends, and yet someone might first notice your brand on a billboard. Still, how they choose to proceed after that first interaction can give you clues as to how to adjust your marketing tactics. So, know the touchpoints (be it events, SM, ads, reviews, etc.) and try to understand their emotional journey at each stage. A helpful idea here is to define your main buying personas and learn how each of them discovers your business.
Optimize for Each Stage of Your Customer Journey
- Awareness stage. This is where your ability to understand search intent and the power of keywords can make or break your SEO efforts. We can all agree – nowadays, optimization for search engines is crucial for your online ‘survival.’ With the right content (whether blog, video, or SM posts), you can get the visibility you need to rank higher in search engine results for your target keywords. But don’t think it’s all about keywords.
For example, imagine a customer searching for your brand for the first time online, and the first result is not your website but a news story about some scandal. This is why using SEO to control the narrative is so vital. At every touchpoint, a client should always be able to first learn your own perspective on topics that relate to your product or service.
- Consideration stage. This is where you want them to engage the most with your website, so great content is key here. You have to keep your users hooked and reeled in. Your site and page need to be optimized to provide a seamless experience all around – your navigation, design, URL structure, sitemaps – all need to be on point. In the end, your ability to outrank your competitors in SERPs will impact your conversion rates.
- Decision stage. How many clicks does it take for a customer to make a purchase? It’s best to keep the process simple and friction-free. Speed also matters here. Don’t forget to get your customer experience roadmap on point from the first stage to the last.
Source: @CorrespondJohn on X
Segment Your Audience
You should segment (divide) your audience into categories using data from your SEO analytics tool. The idea is to understand the pain points of each category and communicate better with each group. This also helps you create better-targeted campaigns and clear conversion goals for each segment.
Validate Consumers’ Choices
Always provide several personalized options or solutions to your client’s problems. This could be different guidance or usage plans for the same product. It will make your offer more flexible for different user groups with distinct budgets, goals, and needs. Be sure to validate each choice and provide support for a smooth transition from one plan to another. How? Share reviews of people with similar preferences who had positive experiences.
Collaborate to Gain Backlinks
Backlinks are reportedly used as one of the major three Google ranking factors. They are also pretty hard to come by (at least, the quality ones). Trying to be a lone wolf in the marketing world won’t always get you where you need to be. So, consider working with niche-relevant influencers and partnering with other bloggers, maybe through guest posting and other similar techniques. This will push your brand in front of the right audience.
Provide Exceptional Aftersale Support
This can come in the form of user manuals, documentation, installation guides, and Q&A in popular online forums or communities. Of course, you also need a customer support team who can address all the doubts your clients have. Want to know how to improve your CS strategy? You can use AI tools, whether it’s for market research or to create an AI bot that helps with basic user inquiries 24/7.
Mapping a customer journey accurately is not always the easiest task. Still, it is essential for your brand’s long-term growth and development. With consistent and patient efforts, you will be able to boost your visibility, enhance your brand credibility, and build stronger customer-brand relationships – all by making an effort to walk in your customer’s shoes and understand how to align that experience with your SEO efforts.