In this blog, I’m going to show you the path to SEO your marketing funnel in 6 simple steps.
To be honest, I’ve been staring at my screen for a long time. Maybe more than 4 hours. I was just sitting and waiting for a brilliant idea to pop up out of my head. I wrote a draft a couple of times but I wasn’t happy and satisfied with them.
I saw this post at SEOmoz: The SEO Path to Becoming a Great Funnel Owner and thought to myself that I was I was that brilliant. It’s a great article! It’s long but it’s refreshing and very actionable.
The author of that article is point on. As a sales funnel owner, I have also noticed that the different roles and strategies of an SEO have created a lot of buzz and controversies. Plus, if I would choose between reacting to the effects of the competition or performing SEO based on causation that caters to the psychology of search, I would choose the latter.
The model of the SEO and online marketing sales funnel is has been said to be continuously changing and I’m a witness of it. Although, in my opinion, and this is also coming from someone who’s an expert in content marketing, the role of an SEO hasn’t completely changed much because the main goal is still the same. It’s always focused on generating more organic traffic to your sites or to your client’s sites.
So, to increase your online marketing presence and to improve your SEO sales funnel, I have made 6 simple steps and I guarantee that you will see the sales funnel working for you. Are you ready?
1. Use your own domain name in your funnel
The reasons are pretty much obvious. We are all aware that there’s no SEO benefit if you’re going to use yoursite.clickfunnels.com (if you’re using ClickFunnels or any similar funnel builder.) Plus, having your own domain name is awesome. It also makes people find you easier.
Troy Hollenbeck.com made an impressive article about the benefits of owning your own domain.
- Simplicity. A custom domain such as “www.mybusiness.com” is easier to remember than a generic, co-branded domain such as “www.google.your business.com’’.
- Relevance. As of July 2012, there are over 140 million active domains, and as of 2014 14.3 Trillion–websites, live on the Internet. The sooner you stake your claim, the more likely it will be that your address matches your business profile.
- SEO. Having your own domain name will increase your website’s positioning under search results on top search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
- Permanence. Keep your domain name for as long as your business is online. No one else can use your domain as long as you pay the host that set it up.
- Credibility. Prospective customers will more readily transact with businesses with a professional, established online presence – made possible with a personalized domain.
- Locality. Google searches can be heavily influenced by a user’s geographical location, so if you appeal to regional customers, take advantage of country extensions on your e.g.“www.mybusiness.com.ca’’
- Correspondence. Once you acquire a domain, your email addresses will appear as “firstname.lastname@example.org” for example. Like we mentioned in our last post, custom email address go a long way in maintaining professional communications with your customers.
- Save time and money when your buyers want to reach out to you or when you need to contact someone. Also, you can get a domain for a low cost, no worries. It is a smart move for your online future.
- Customized domains will give you a truly online presence and it will establish your business as a brand.
- Ubiquity. You will have the opportunity to acquire multiple domains with different suffixes (i.e. .org, .net, .me, .co) and associate all of them with your biz.
2. Use PPC data
We are all aware that PPC data isn’t new when you want to get more SEO traffic. Yes, SEO and PPC, as combined, can be traffic and conversions generators for your sales funnel.
According to Cognitive SEO, “Pay-per-click (PPC), also known as cost per click (CPC), is an advertising model used to direct traffic to websites. Therefore both SEO and PPC have the same purpose: driving traffic while making your website known to the user.”
Did you know that one of the most used online advertising platforms to create PPC campaigns is Google AdWords? It’s true.
“Google AdWords offers advertisers the setting to bid on certain keywords in order for their ad to appear on Google’s search result page. An advertiser (agency) or business can make an account on AdWords and start campaigns, create ads and upload a list of keywords.”
But, of course, you can’t just fully rely on using only Google AdWords. In order to have a smart SEO strategy that works, it’s recommended if you use it together with Google Analytics.
3. How thick is your head and how long is your tail?
Image source: Longtail.com
According to Practicale Commerce, “Long tail theory assigns the labels “head” and “tail” to groups of keywords, as shown in the graphic above. The “head” of the curve represents the keywords that drive the most traffic individually.”
For example, if you sell guest posting services, those head keywords would be words like “guest posting” and “benefits of guest posting” and, of course, your site’s brand name. On the other hand, the “tail” of the curve represents everything that doesn’t generate massive amounts of traffic like “guest post exchange” or “ guest post link up.”
Through this, it allows SEO’s to segregate keywords into head, body, and tail, increasing competition stats and potential ROI.
4. Pay attention to the top of funnel keywords
Image source: SearchEngineLand.com
Zero Gravity Marketing said it perfectly on their blog: When setting up a PPC campaign, the type of keyword you choose is dependent on your goal. If you are looking to create brand awareness and develop a strong remarketing list, then you will want to use top of funnel keywords. Getting consumers to enter your sales funnel is the first step to a sale, which is why top of funnel keywords are so important. When setting up a PPC campaign to bring awareness to your product/service, you will want to target keywords that signify someone is searching for information, or they are having a problem that your brand can solve.
For example, if someone is looking for a new Christmas tree to set up in their home, the top of funnel keywords they might search include:
- Christmas tree
- Artificial Christmas tree sale
- White Christmas tree
Top of funnel keywords are critical for your sales funnel’s growth but, if your expectations and goals are perfectly set, top of funnel keywords will absolutely bring new clients.
5. Build keyword funnels
“Keyword research can give you great insight into customer problems, needs, desires, and intent. Categorizing the keywords you’ve found is an important step in putting together potential campaigns and deciding on which ones are worth pursuing in your organic or paid search efforts.”
This means that ever since Google AdWords became critical of the importance of keywords to the creative, specifically grouping or categorizing your keywords is relevant.
Search Engine Land wrote a long but informative article about how to use the keyword funnel and he divided it into 10 stages.
- Activity Funnel Relates To
This is a very general field of activity, and will often not be a focus of marketing efforts since the customer may not actually be experiencing a problem yet.
However, display advertising that targets field-focused websites or is demographically targeted may be a useful vehicle from a branding perspective in this stage.
- Suspicion That There May Be A Problem
This funnel is focused around the mental model of problem-solving; other mental models may make for useful funnels as well, but I’ve found “problems” to be universally applicable.
In this stage, there may be symptoms described but the customer does not understand the nature of the problem, or perhaps they don’t even understand that the symptoms are a problem at all.
It’s a critical stage where you can have great influence on the direction a potential customer will take.
- Problem Identified
This is an interesting bucket because you may have some latent versus blatant needs that you can separate out; different types of problems may actually fork off into different funnels.
- Looking For Solution Alternatives
In this stage, the prospect is trying to understand the variety of approaches available to them. There are many ways to lose weight for instance; diet, exercise, portions, surgery, and so on.
This is fairly early in the research phase and can be ripe fruit for thought leadership content (great for the SEO channel as well). If you’re really lucky and you’re the only solution to a problem (perhaps you’re in a new market) then this stage may barely even exist and prospects may jump directly from stage 3 to stage 5.
- Solution Space Has Been Chosen
In this stage, the prospect has decided on a particular approach to solving the problem (for instance, “dieting” to solve a weight problem).
- Complicating Issues
This stage perhaps belongs alongside the funnel, but I usually place it in the middle of the research phase. Many people with problems have complicating issues; diabetes (if they are interested in weight loss), a wheelchair-bound spouse (if they are interested in travel), and so on.
Addressing these complicating issues can be a great way of differentiating your product or service and reducing friction for a final sale.
- Researching A Specific Solution
Now the prospect is getting *very* specific about a particular member of the solution space (“Low-Carb Diets” in the case of a Weight Loss/Dieting funnel for instance).
- Researching A Specific Brand
At this stage, the prospect is getting very serious and is educating themselves about specific providers.
Remember, brand terms are well known in the industry to convert at a higher rate as generic terms (twice the rate on average in my experience), so addressing this funnel stage should be a critical component of any online marketing effort.
- Conversion Imminent
Terms that include phrases like “coupon code”, “pricing”, “cheap”, are akin to flashing red lights with a siren screaming “transaction about to occur!!!”
Spending a lot of time building out variations in this funnel section is usually well rewarded. Google Suggest is a great place to find ways that potential customers are raising their hands in these ways.
- Post Conversion
Often, a neglected funnel stage, this is where you will find customers searching for things like “repairs”, “replacement parts”, “add-ons”, “upgrades”, “warranties”, and “support”. You may or may not have offerings that address concerns in this funnel stage, but it’s important to think about them.
If you’re a travel company, trip insurance may not be something your customers will actively seek out often, and paid search campaigns targeting that concept may not be worthwhile.
If, however, your paid search keyword research turns up the concept, and you then prompt your company to put together some sort of revenue-sharing deal with a trip insurance provider to integrate their product into your cart, I would say the time spent researching funnel stage #10 was well worth it.
6. Build content maps
Image Source: HubSpot Blog
It’s important to build your content map to help your sales funnel align with your customers. You should understand how they decide, how they buy or shop (their purchasing habit), what is important to them (their needs or wants) and write your offer that would capture your audience’s attention or craft a message that connects with them.
So, how do you build your content map?
Search Engine People created simple steps to map your content.
- List topics, themes, and industries relevant to your company.
- Conduct competitive analysis and understand how you stack against your competition in your industry topics.
- Define personas.
- Audit content and tag by topic, content type, sales cycle step, and persona.
- Optimize existing pages.
- Create a plan to fill content gaps.
- Implement your plan.
We’re finally at the end of my blog. Did you learn a lot from the steps above? Easy, isn’t it? If you want to drive more traffic into your site, check out Snap’s site today!