Focusing on a specific keyword’s ranking doesn’t necessarily result in sales or leads. But, having supporting content for each stage of the buying process will.

Do you target keywords? If you do, you’ll soon see a drop in organic visitors. Here’s your target for SEO—people.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is about the process of getting your web content in front of:

  • the right person
  • at the right time
  • who will make the right purchase from the right company (yours!)

Over 90 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase. Over 70 percent of B2B sales start with online research. The online research involves comparisons of at least 10 different competitors.

How can you beat out the competition? How do you get your content in front of them in a way that leads to a sale rather than a ranking? It has to do with understanding how people search and drafting specific content for each stage of their search process.

How People Search

When people are searching for product information, they search like… people. They have a question in mind. They’re not just entering a keyword or a keyword phrase. They’re often doing a voice search by speaking into their phone while they walk to their car. They’re looking for the right response to their question. Have you figured out their questions so you can get your products in front of them?

Google is now searching like people do. The latest Google algorithm changes, released as “Hummingbird,” mean that now, more than ever, search engines are focusing on the meaning behind words—semantic search. This algorithm looks at each word in a search query in relation to the entire query. This ensures that the meaning of the whole sentence is taken into account and not just one or two keywords. Hummingbird’s goal? To match the questions to the best result.

The way to be the best match is with your content. Your content has to be engaging, informative, like a conversation, answering the questions that your consumers seek answers to.

Content for Specific Buying Stages

Content has to be unique and specific to each buying stage.

For the initial stage of a purchaser’s search, your content should cover a broad range of information about your product or services. Consumers at the initial search stage aren’t sure what they need—they’re still doing research.

Content for this stage should provide pertinent information about what it is the customers are searching for. Figure out the questions your consumers will have, and draft conversational content to answer those questions. Determine the needs and wants of your buyer, and write to appeal to them.

For the mid level of the buying stage, help them compare. You’ve answered their first few questions, so now your content must entice them further. This is the content that makes up category pages (products and services), case studies, reviews, testimonials, and white papers (for any B2B purchases). This information should supply facts, but also speak to their emotions.

Even though customers are doing comparisons, their decision will be based on how your content speaks to key motivators. Understand and speak to their motivators which fall into 3 categories: What does that buyer desire? What does that buyer fear or want to avoid? What does that buyer want to attack or get rid of?

For the final stage of the purchase, include stats and comparisons to confirm their purchase decision. Buyers want facts to close the deal and their searches will now be narrow enough to focus on this. Make it easy for them to find the comparisons, justify their decision and make the purchase.

For more information about search engine optimization, please check out some of our recent blog posts:

Do Rankings Mean Sales and Leads?
Hummingbird & SEO
Will a Site Redesign Affect My Rankings?

Contact us now to learn how Search Engine Optimization can help your business.

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