What steps do people take before they buy your product? It’s a simple question, but it could offer you clear insights into how you can improve your SEO.

Good SEO is all about offering value to the user and when you understand the customer journey, it’s much easier to do this on a consistent basis. Here’s how customer journey mapping can improve your SEO.

The Typical Customer Journey

There are lots of different ways somebody ends up buying your products or services, but they tend to follow a distinct pattern.

The typical customer journey is split up into four categories and each stage has different implications for your SEO.

Image from HubSpot

Awareness Stage

This is the stage where your customer has recognized their pain point, problem, or challenge, and is researching their next step. At this stage in the journey, the buyer isn’t likely to be ready to make a purchase, but they want broad information relating to their problem.

If someone was starting a website, this stage of the journey might result in a search query like “how to get visitors to my website,” or “how to build a website.”

This is important information for your SEO because it can inform your content strategy and allow you to track how people progress through the customer journey.

Consideration Stage

In the consideration stage, customers move on to searching for solutions to their problems.

They might have moved from the search query “how to get visitors to my website” to something a little more detailed such as “how to use SEO to build organic traffic.” They’ve gone from recognizing they have a problem, to researching specific ways to fix it.

At this stage, your content is likely to go into more detail and give people a clear picture of the steps they can take. Using your Google Search Console, you can get a clear picture of the search queries that are bringing people to your pages, and use this to create even more targeted information.

Decision Stage

Your customer has now recognized their problem and understands what they need to do to fix it, but they need help doing it. At this point, they’re ready to make their decision and it’s about positioning yourself as the right person to solve their problem.

Through the awareness and consideration stage, you should have created a great deal of trust by offering helpful information, and now is the time where you receive the rewards. Still, it’s important that your content is on point in this stage, and you need to be able to show the benefits of your products and encourage people into taking action.

Repeat Stage

You work hard to get new customers, so you want to keep them for as long as possible.

The process doesn’t just end when someone makes a purchase, it just enters a new stage. This is where your content should help people to get the most out of your products and services.

It’s vital that you continue to offer value, and if you can do this, then you will find you create repeat customers that can help sustain your business.

How Can Customer Journey Mapping Improve Your SEO?

Understanding the journey a customer takes from the moment they first interact with your brand to the point where they become a customer can give you incredible insights. Every customer’s journey is unique, but there will be common themes throughout that can allow you to improve your SEO.

Getting Found

It doesn’t matter what point someone is at in the customer journey; you need them to be able to find your business. Whether they’re at the awareness, interest, consideration, purchase, retention, or advocacy stage, you want them to have your brand in mind, and this is where SEO is so powerful.

People make Google searches no matter where they are in the buyer journey and if your business is dominating the SERPs, it’s going to be able to reach them with the appropriate message.

Mapping out your customer journey allows you to get a much better picture of how people are searching at each stage, and the type of content they want to see. This enables you to create valuable content that’s targeted to the individual needs of the customer based on where they are in the customer journey.

This personalized, highly-targeted content is exactly what the search engines look for and it can only help your SEO.

Driving Engagement

When you land on a piece of content, it’s generally because you want the answer to a certain question. For example, with this page, you want to know how customer journey mapping fits in with your SEO. If we don’t answer this specific question though, you’re going to go elsewhere to find the answers to your questions.

To be successful at SEO, you’ve got to understand your target audience and craft content that addresses their questions and pain points. However, your customers aren’t a static entity, they’re constantly learning and evolving, and their questions and pain points will change with time.

This is why customer journey mapping is so important for SEO. By detailing the questions people have at each point in the process, and understanding the keywords they use to find answers to those questions, your business is there to engage them at every point.

Customer journey mapping will allow you to create content that engages your audience on more levels, boosting your performance in the search engines, and turning more visitors into customers.

The Right Message at the Right Time

The B2B customer journey is generally a complicated one. It’s not as simple as someone hearing about your brand, coming to your store/offices, and making a purchase. Instead, people have easy access to unlimited information, and this gives them many options.

A good customer journey map will highlight places where there are kinks in your process and people lose contact with your brand. These people aren’t lost forever though, and if you understand where people drop out of your customer journey, then you can use digital marketing to reconnect with them.

SEO shouldn’t exist in isolation - it’s complemented by other digital marketing techniques such as email marketing, and social media marketing, and you can use this combination to ensure you deliver the right messages at the right time.

For example, someone might come to this page to learn about customer journeys and SEO, and after reading it, they go off and work on their SEO themselves. A month or so later, they might be scrolling their Facebook feed and see a post saying “Not got the time to implement your SEO strategies yourself? KeyScouts can take the hassle out of SEO and optimize every part of your customer journey.”

By leveraging SEO and understanding the journey your customers take, you can continue to create meaningful touchpoints with potential customers and bring them back into the customer journey, even when it appears as if they had been lost.

Encouraging Actions with the Right CTAs

For your SEO to be successful it needs to inspire people to take action. Without this, you won’t see a return on your investment.

The actions people take for you to achieve your goals are very varied though.

For someone who lands on your site at the purchasing phase of your customer journey, the desired action is likely to be “make a purchase.” However, you don’t expect someone who lands on your site in the consideration phase to go straight to making a purchase, instead, you want them to take an action that continues their progress through the customer journey.

To optimize the performance of your SEO and get people to take action, you need to understand how each page fits into the customer journey and therefore, the next actions you want people to take. When you have a clear picture of the journey, then you can tailor your content and CTAs to guide people into taking the optimal action.

Traffic is just a small part of SEO; you need to be focused on outcomes to achieve success, and customer journey mapping plays a big part in this.

Takeaways

One of the most important aspects of SEO is understanding your target audience and for B2B, customer journey mapping plays a big part in this.

If you can understand how your content fits in with the customer journey, then you’re going to see much better results. When people come across content that’s perfectly optimized for their needs, they spend longer on it and take more action. This is a fundamental part of what search engines want to see: valuable content that engages users.

Mapping out your customer journey doesn’t take long, but it can make an immediate difference to the way you create content. In SEO, small changes can make a big difference, and making sure your content provides value to users at every point in the customer journey is one change that can make a big difference.

Key Scouts, Marketing, SEO

About Tomer Harel

Tomer Harel is founder and CEO of KeyScouts, and co-founder of Spectoos.com. He has been practicing Internet marketing for over a decade, helping hundreds of businesses to thrive online. If you'd like to contact Tomer or have him speak at a conference, meeting or event, please drop him a line via email (tomer.harel at keyscouts dot com).

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