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Next Generation SEO: The New Customer Journey

by Toby Tabaczynski

published on 2016-08-24 12:09:00

Throw away your funnel

No one would argue the Internet hasn’t revolutionized the way customers discover businesses and consider products and services. However, many fail to recognize the Internet also broke the tried-and-true purchase funnel theory. Consumers no longer move directly from awareness to consideration to conversion; rather, they progress through an always-on journey of exploration, fueled largely by self-sought investigation online.

Present every step of the way

With an endless sea of information available online, search engines serve as a critical starting point and road map for navigating throughout the consumer journey. There is no one-size-fits-all definition for how consumers utilize search, except that they use it every step of their journey:
  • They discover your brand and products with higher-level search terms, such as category or segment. 
  • They inform and validate their interests with social and review site results.
  • They convert – or facilitate their conversion – with direct links to purchase, call or visit.
It’s not enough to focus on any one point of the journey. If your goal is to drive leads and form-fills, you may put all of your effort in keywords and PPC that supports conversions. This strategy can be short-sighted, as it leaves the opportunity to connect with consumers and move them further along their conversion path on the table. For example, developing content will not only support keywords and drive PPC success, it will also build brand awareness while providing consumers with valuable information.

Take three steps back

To make the most of your search presence, stop thinking about search. Really.

Step One: Understand how your customers utilize search to facilitate and augment their decisions. Consider building out buyer personas, where you can work through your customers’ needs, desires, values and habits.

Step Two: Build a robust digital presence that provides adequate information and opportunity for both your prospective consumers and your most loyal customers to engage with your business and brand. The development of content will satisfy two needs: those of your customers as well as those search engines value most.

Step Three: Start thinking more about search engine optimization: regularly scheduled content releases, cross-channel management, social media and more. Focusing on customer journey will outrank others in search results, creating ever more customers, and it is why next-generation search engine optimization delivers such a powerful competitive edge.

“Whoa! I’m overwhelmed.”

If you are struggling to understand your customer’s journey and the importance of search within it, can help. Contact us online or call 313-223-3203. 

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