To outsiders of the industry content strategy might seem simple, just write some blogs and drive traffic from it. Easy right? Unfortunately it isn’t that simple and the value of a strong content strategy can go unnoticed unless you deliver results fast.
What’s important is to set expectations from the offset of what you want your content to achieve. Where I see some marketers go wrong is to treat all content as equal and expect similar results from different intent content.
When it comes to SEO you need to know what your goals are before you begin writing. There are a few areas you can break this down by before you start:
Brand Versus Non-Brand
Before we dive into different intent of users looking for different things online, we’ll look at the difference between branded and non-branded search.
Branded: users searching for your brand name, product name specifically e.g. ‘Coca Cola’
Non-Branded: users looking for a product but aren’t married to a particular brand e.g. ‘fizzy drinks’
Unless you’re a global household name, there’s going to be little volume in search terms for your brand versus the non-brand alternative. It’s important to consider all stages of the marketing funnel below for both brand and non-brand. For SEO purposes, the biggest area of initial growth for awareness to conversion will be to target the non-brand areas of search to put your website in front of users who don’t know who you are yet.
A good starting point is to list all products your brand offers, then create a sheet where next to each product you list the varying non-branded words it relates to. From this you can conduct thorough keyword research to look at the volumes and alternate terms you might have missed. You will get varying keyword per product e.g. ‘car window cleaner’, ‘car windscreen cleaner’, ‘windscreen wash’. As part of your research look to group the core keywords per product together and look at the combined volumes for these. There’s a lot of scope here so the key is to keep it simple, focus on your main products and don’t get lost in the sea of keywords available. Relevancy is also key. Once you have a final list for this you can map it to the below funnel stages and decide on a strategy for which content to create and when.
The Marketing Funnel
Any good marketer will look at the aims of content and what the brand’s business goal is that they are trying to achieve, this is an essential starting point. Is the goal to acquire new customers, build loyalty with existing ones, share useful information within a brand sector or something else?
There are many versions of the standard marketing funnel model, Semrush has a basic breakdown of the funnel which mirrors most of them. The idea is that prospective customers exist in different stages and you can target them at different parts of the funnel.
Awareness: These are users who may not have heard of your brand, the purpose of them visiting your site is to find useful information on a topic or answer a top-level question.
Consideration: These users may have a specific problem they want to solve and are seeking advice or a solution.
Conversion: These users are looking for a product and are ready to commit to purchase.
Loyalty: These are past customers who may have purchased once and are being encouraged to become repeat customers or brand advocates.
Ways Funnel Stages Search the Internet
Lets use a cleaning product brand as an example.
Awareness: These users search top-level queries which can be long tail questions or terms such as ‘common kitchen germs and how to kill them?’ This content should always be created with the aim of driving organic traffic broadly, most of these users won’t convert but this content acts as a first touchpoint in their journey and begins brand recognition at a very early level.
Consideration: These users are more intended on a specific problem or looking for something closer to a conversion by doing detailed research and searching queries such as ‘what is best to clean wine stains?’. These are pre-purchase terms where users are seeking to compare whats out there and narrow down their search.
Conversion: These users could search very directly for terms like ‘wine stain remover’ or search for a specific product/brand – there is a clear intent to buy so these users will want an easy journey to purchase.
Loyalty: These users may be looking for more uses for a product so could be searching for terms like ‘what else can I use [brand name] stain remover for?’ or ‘how do I store stain remover safely’ – these could be customers who repeat purchase as they find new uses for your product or users wanting guidance for product care. Brands who provide solid product care advice onsite can build customer loyalty and trust simply by being the authority voice on post-purchase search queries.
Types of Content
So what kinds of content should you create to attract each stage?
Awareness: blogs work really well for general awareness, it takes work but any brand can build up a hub of blog content to increase organic site awareness and drive traffic in volumes. Just remember, traffic volume doesn’t necessarily equal increased sales so keep your blog content top-level but still related to your brand’s topic areas of expertise. Blogs which have a specific expert author or authority voice comment on subject matter they are targeting works particularly well for getting your content to rank better where there is a lot of competition on a topic. Google likes advice from experts in their fields so its a good way to build trust in your site and ensure you rank for terms your prospective customers will be searching.
Consideration: FAQ pages, product category pages or key landing pages are your best friend for consideration stage content. This is a brand’s opportunity to really sell the product, explain how it works and what makes it different. Demonstrate brand expertise in this area by answering questions with confidence. Answer about the ‘why’ in all aspects.
Conversion: product or conversion pages are where your visitors can take the next step. It’s important to remember not every conversion may be a sale, a conversion might look like a sign-up, a booking enquiry or an email to customer service. Also important is how these pages function, give clear CTAs for your users, don’t add extra steps in your journey to purchase. Making it as easy as possible for these users to convert is key here.
Loyalty: FAQ pages can additionally provide value here and drive customer loyalty. Tell users how to use your product, troubleshoot issues, give them inspiration for how they can use your product and answer all common questions across these landing pages. If your customers have common issues and you answer these online, you can prove trust and support for them through these simple pages. Look at ways to incentivise customers to leave reviews and encourage trust for new customers. If it makes sense, create a hub of user generated content to show how people are using your product.
When quantifying success you need to be looking at the right metrics too.
Awareness: this could be organic traffic, time spent on pages, rankings, pages per session, onward site journey, organic market share of keyword cluster topics
Consideration: metrics could be organic traffic, clicks to product pages, rankings
Conversion: can be tracked depending on the specific goals by metrics like purchases, enquiries, sign-ups, adds to baskets, booking a consultation, percentage of traffic converted, organic market share of product keywords
Loyalty: can be measured by metrics like increase in branded search (as loyal customers switch from non-brand to brand), organic traffic, onsite engagements, rankings for post-purchase keywords
The above metrics might not work for all products or websites, it is important to tailor your metrics to what your business goals are, these are simply examples to put into context how intent relates to measuring success.
SEO & DIGITAL PR CONSULTANT
Leanne has a decade of experience across SEO strategy, content marketing and digital PR. She has worked for a range of clients from SMEs to global brands.