How Did You Find Us? – SEO Key-Phrase Myopia
Most business owners think that people do a search, visit their website and either immediately take action (make a phone call – fill in an inquiry form) or not and that’s the end of it. In the SEO world we call this "Key-Phrase Myopia".
Research shows that average user behavior is much more complicated than that.
Most people search using a number of different key phrases over a period of hours and days. Their search phrase changes, gradually becomes more refined and targeted as they see what results show up, they learn more about the subject and what solutions are available.
They will probably look at several different solutions (competitive web sites and web properties), they will gradually move from a research phase to a buying mode. In the research phase they will often be looking at information about the subject.
When they move to buying mode they will often revisit a number of sites, trying to decide who to do business with, often looking for the best deal and or the best qualified, looking at about pages, online reviews, before ultimately making a decision.
This is why when you ask a caller, "how did you find us?", it is extremely difficult for them to answer, and even more difficult for you to get a clear answer. Most times they will simply not remember all the steps they went through to get to the point of making a call. They are most likely to simply tell you the last thing they did.
Most times a potential customer will have visited your website, and related web properties 9 times over several days, sometimes weeks before they actually make the decision to contact you.
The Moral of this Analysis?
Your website should provide the best educational information about your subject area as well as have the most compelling call to action. If your website only focuses on the call to action conversion part of the sales cycle you are missing critical opportunities to engage with your audience early in the sales cycle. Web properties that engage customers early in the buying cycle (research phase) have a distinct advantage over those that do not.
Showing up in paid advertising, on business reviews, organically, on social media across the range of closely related subjects means the searcher will keep running into you. The more people see you through their decision making process, the more likely they are to end up with you.
There is no mystique to this, simply be memorable and be consistent. The more people remember you, the more likely they are to buy from you.
Target More Key-Phrases and Longer Key-Phrases
Do not get set in your thinking that focusing on a very small number of key-phrases is a smart strategy. Create content about every aspect of your market and your knowledge area. Discuss all aspects of the problem your service or products solve. Figure out what people want to know and answer all questions – in depth. FAQ pages with short answers are for the lazy. Whenever possible, every question deserves its own page, put the questions in your site’s navigation.