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Keyword Search Intent and Sales Funnel

By Glasco Taylor

March 1, 2021


One of the biggest improvements that changed the face of search forever, was the ability of search engines to interpret the context of a page. This has lead to Google and other major search engines having a deeper understanding of the intent a user has when performing a search query. To optimize the conversions your website makes and increase the revenue your website generates, it's vital to identify keyword search intent. Only then can you effectively place more people within your sales funnel and move them closer to purchase with your company.

Three main categories of search intent

At a broad level, keywords will typically fall into three main categories of search intent:

INFORMATIONAL INTENT: Users are looking for information by researching a product, service, or topic that they want to find more information about.

TRANSACTIONAL INTENT: Users know what product they want and are ready to make the purchase or take action.

NAVIGATIONAL INTENT: Users know where they want to go but they're using a search engine to find the URL. (An example is searching for "Facebook login")

To publish content that ranks on the first page of Google, this where your first indication of search intent begins. You can identify intent by analyzing the search engine result page (SERP) for clues to what Google is displaying as the best answer to intent.

If there are a lot of Google Ads, and product pages on the first page of results, it's safe to conclude your keyword has transactional intent. If there are no Google Ads and every search listing is an ultimate guide, you're obviously looking at a keyword with informational intent. Content that performs the best and lasts at the top of the search results the longest is usually the best solution to search intent.

The importance of establishing keyword search intent

A common mistake website owners make when optimizing their website is to optimize for keywords with content that does not satisfy the user's intent for initiating the search. This can happen from either choosing the wrong keywords or failing to identify the true keyword search intent.

Rankbrain uses a series of engagement statistics to determine the rank

Google uses Rankbrain to make decisions on which websites to rank in the top 10 search results. Rankbrain is an artificially intelligent program that takes into account hundreds of ranking factors. One of the top-ranking factors for every website is having strong relevance to the search query, which in part, is measured by the level of engagement users demonstrate when they land on a web page.

Bad engagement statistics will lead to reduced search visibility

Google bases most of its ranking factors on what is best for the user. Rankbrain will use engagement statistics to contribute to the decision-making process for how high a web page should rank. If every user who lands on a web page immediately backs off the page, there is an obvious disconnect between the search term and the content on the page if every user doesn't like what they see when they get there which will be reflected in a decline in rank and search visibility.

Keywords with a narrowly focused intent will convert better

When your content can provide exactly what the user wants, it keeps them on your website longer. This provides more opportunity to guide them to more interior pages on your site which leads to more opportunities for completing a goal conversion you've assigned for your website. Each page on your site should play a role in your sales funnel with a specific conversions goal in mind for visitors who land on that page.

What are sales funnels?

A sales funnel, or marketing funnel represents the various stages your client experiences as they go through the buyer's journey. People don't just wake up and decide they need to buy something they've never heard about before. There are a series of phases that are common that take a person from awareness to making a purchase.

An effective website should address each stage of the buyer journey to move a visitor deeper into the sales funnel. The following represents four main stages of a sales funnel:

Awareness

This is where a person is experiencing a problem. In many cases, they're not sure how to solve it, because they aren't even sure what it is. Publishing content at the awareness stage that explains the basics of the problems is considered to be _top-of-the-funnel_ content. TOFU content builds awareness by targeting keywords that users are typing to find out more about what they're facing.

For example, if you're selling dead sea skincare products on your website, you might publish an article about eczema. This introduces someone to the skin condition and moves them through to the research phase.

Interest

Now that your prospect is aware of their problem, they are likely to do more research on the available potential solutions. Publishing content that answers commonly asked questions or provides your visitors with more information for making a better purchase decision leads them to the next phase of your sales funnel.

Consideration

At this stage of the funnel is (middle of the funnel) it's important to highlight the advantages your product has over your competitors. Publishing comparison articles to show how your product is superior to other options is an example of MOFU content that moves visitors to the bottom of the funnel. Case studies can be used at this stage to show real-life examples of how your business has helped others. When users can relate to having similar problems another client experienced solved by your company, you build trust and move your prospect closer to making a purchase.

Decision

The decision phase is where you move your visitors to purchase with your company. Landing pages are known to generate the highest rate of conversions because they focus on one specific goal that repeats a call to action throughout the body of content. At this stage of the buyer journey, it's important to make your prospective buyer feel comfortable with your brand. Offering money-back guarantees or warranties is an example of how to make consumers feel that their risk is reduced if they choose your company.

Map keywords to content that moves more prospects through your marketing funnel

Each stage of the buyer journey requires a specific type of content that can address the problems, concerns, pain points, and solutions for solving these issues. By mapping the most appropriate keywords to the content that people are searching for can provide your business with more prospects entering your sales funnel and converting them into clients.

Establish the true intent of a keyword before choosing it as a target for your page. Exhaustive keyword research leads to the most accurate understanding of user intent. Use this understanding to publish top-notch content to drive more traffic that matches your description of the most ideal client.

Glasco Taylor

About the author

I am an engineer and work in the data center. However, my true passion has become to monetize statistical data from a website.

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