How to plan for SEO friendly website content. (hint: customer journey)

Creating SEO friendly content and increasing online visibility can feel a bit like throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks. It’s exhausting and demoralizing to create content that doesn’t move the needle in your search rankings and visibility. Are your ready to start thinking strategically about creating website content for SEO purposes? The time is now!

Typically a small business owner’s goal with content creation is to grow search rankings for the right key terms and ultimately generate new leads.

Matching your website content to the search intent of your ideal customer (at the right time) is the process of Content SEO and great for generating new business leads. Google is really good at showing the right content to the the right potential customer. We want your website to have the right content in place to satisfy the browsers search intent. To do that you must get a handle on your customers journey.

Get to know your customer’s journey

In every business your customer moves through a journey. The user often starts with becoming broadly aware of your products and services, then they begin to engage with the solutions you offer. Finally they decide to purchase from you, because they’ve discovered that your product is the best solution for their problem. In each stage they are asking different questions and their mindset changes. There are many names for this process (conversion funnel, marketing funnel), but we prefer customer journey as it helps us put ourselves in the shoes of our potential customers and create content with empathy.

Again, your goal in is to develop content that matches the search intent of each customer. By thinking strategically about content creation you can increase overall online visibility, customer engagement and business leads.

1. TOFU (Top of the Funnel)

This is the awareness stage. Content for this stage is designed to show up in new spaces in front of new potential customers.

Often this stage is marked by users doing research about possible solutions or products. Perhaps they just bought a new house and realize their water tastes funny. Now they’re starting to explore “how to make my drinking water taste better”. This can lead them to your water filtration service. They’ve now been introduced to your business and your products and services.

Informative and valuable content wins the day in this stage. By providing your potential customer with answers it obviously benefits their life, but also provides the SEO bounce you’ll need to increase the breadth of your visibility. Conversions will be low at this stage of the funnel as your audience is broad, however by creating valuable content you will grow authority, increase trust and expand the general public awareness of your business brand.

2. MOFU (Middle of the Funnel)

The is the stage of the journey where users have narrowed down their options and are starting to consider engaging with your business. This type of customer is more qualified to do business with you and is deciding if your solution is the solution that makes sense to resolve their problem. They’re often are going deeper into technical aspects of the solution you provide as well as the implications of purchasing a specific product or service.

A potential customer in this stage needs as much information about your products and services as possible. Well written and SEO optimized products and services pages are key for this stage of the customer journey. The customer is researching specific solutions and wants critical information about the solution they’re after. Often searches include “long-tail” key phrases like “what ecowater filtration system is best for removing sulfur smell”.

It’s important to inform, but not oversell in this stage. You’re still the guide and your customer is the hero of the story. Your job is to empower them to make the right decision that leads to the best outcome for their life.

3. BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel)

This is the decision and conversion stage. Your potential customers are highly qualified and ready to purchase. They just need an invitation to purchase.

Searches by potential customers in this stage are dominated by brand searches, customer reviews, guarantees and information about return on investments. Content that sets your business brand apart by reinforcing your unique value proposition is very important. Making sure your content is built around being the most trustworthy solution to their problem is priority in this stage.

SEO tips for Content Creation

Keyword Research

Doing your homework here will make a world of difference. Understanding your overall keywords will help, but go a step farther and break it into BOFU, MOFU, TOPU categories.

  • BOFU the most helpful terms to build content around often start with questions “how to..”, or are general inquires like “why does…”. Before you start blogging make sure you’re clear about the questions people asking and the problems that your product solves.
  • MOFU searches are dominated by specific product or services keywords. Also terms like “benefits” or “best” are often helpful here.
  • TOFU search keywords typically include your brand name. For local companies a geographic search term is critical too. Make sure you’re set up for those searches “brand, service”, “service, city”.

Recommended types of content

Of course there are a bajillion different pieces of content that you could create (ebooks, infographics, videos, etc.). Don’t be overwhelmed! For most of our clients the simple path is usually the best return on investment.

  • BOFU – The clients of ours who are regular producing informative blog posts are seeing the most results in this area. By producing authoritative content that is a valuable resource for the user, they are increasing awareness and expanding overall online visibility. This often leads to bump in search rankings.
  • MOFU – For most of our clients (geographic focused, brick and mortar stores) the best move usually is expanding their products and services pages. By having informative and specific content about the solutions you offer you can match that MOFU search intent. Secondly, we recommend case studies of past clients that help to answer the browsers specific questions.
  • TOFU – Content in this stage should reinforce the idea that you’re a great company and it’s a great experience when doing business with you. Consider optimizing testimonials, About page, and your Contact page. These BOFU pages should be build around your business name and your primary service. They also should be designed for conversions with clear calls-to-action.

Site Organization

Take a step back and consider how your site is organized. Your overall navigation should be simple and effectively move people through your site. Each area of your site should intuitively connect the user to the next stage of the funnel.

What happens when a person lands on an TOFU blog post? Is there an invitation to explore more at the end of the post or do they just drop off?

Paying attention to how a person moves through your site will help you dial in your customer journey for maximum effectiveness. It will also pay dividends in the SEO world because Google is measuring how long people stay on your site! The longer people visit your site, the more Google thinks you’re a valuable resource and will move you up the rankings.

Where to start with SEO Content?

Thinking about the entire customer journey is critical in connecting well with your customers and growing your online visibility. It does NOT mean that you have to do all of the things at once.

We highly recommend that you work backwards up the funnel when creating SEO friendly content. Most businesses need to start with BOFU content creation to make sure they’re capturing the new business that already exists. Tightening up that content can pay immediate dividends.

Then expand your MOFU content by optimizing your products and services page for search results. This will help capture new business from those that are aware of who you are and what your products are.

Finally if you’re ready to grow awareness start creating informative articles that engage new audiences. This will help you build brand awareness as well as establish yourself as the expert in your industry space.

Matt McComas is the head of SEO accounts at Center Street Digital and LOVES the strategy of increasing small business’s visibility online. Currently Center Street Digital provides website and SEO services for more than 80 amazing small businesses. Need some help with your overall SEO content strategy schedule a call with Matt today.