SEO: Moving Past Just Rankings

Search engine optimization (SEO) is based on the premise of acquiring search engine rankings, yet rankings alone are not the solution to increased sales conversion. Just like PPC (pay per click marketing) it’s the same search engine delivering traffic from two different types of visitors.

SEO, Digital Assets and Moving Past into the Sales Funnel

SEO, Digital Asset Optimization and Understanding the Sales Funnel

The prospect that is looking for a product or service performs the same function – they skim results in search of something, the then act on an emotional impulse that entices them to click.

Despite the fact that they may have two distinct mindsets one wants it now and uses PPC the other wants to know more before committing so they want to investigate the application, reputation or reviews about a product or service before using it. However, regardless of the mindset in this scenario, they both use a search engine to arrive at a potential destination/site.

What happens next in the sales cycle is universal, it is the qualifying phase and regardless of the medium that delivered the traffic, it boils down to emotional appeal and logic to duke it out to see which prevails. Despite the product or service the qualifiers of (a) how bad do I want it? and (b) what is stopping me from getting it from you? must be used of diffused to move on to the next step.

If you recognize this now, it will save you from episodes of frustration eventually when you scratch your head pondering why your prized offer is not generating the returns you may have envisioned.

The Simplicity of Appeal:

The simplicity of supply and demand, desire and fulfillment are at the crux of any sale. The next step (in evolving past just SEO) is to establish the proper signals to quickly convey value and trust to prospects and expedite the qualifying phase of the sales funnel.

If your landing pages, videos or other digital assets (images, widgets, etc.) all have the common thread of a simple conversion objective attached, it makes it clear to the viewer what the purpose is and allows them to quantify “if they’re sold” on what you are selling.

The beauty of the web is, if you don’t like what you see, hear or indulge, there are always more options to entertain. This double edge sword can work on your behalf or against you if you fail to leverage each impression. Hence, the concept is to have as many optimized conversion mediums to capture the attention of your audience and introduce them to the various stages of the sales funnel to see where their interests translate into measurable action or better yet dollars.

In many ways the analogy of a room full of children all screaming “I Want, I Want” with keywords attached is as close as it gets for a popular keyword or trendy search term. Rather than looking at SEO from a one dimensional expression of marketing alone, think of it as an opportunity to reach a broader array of individuals with a broader array of conversion mediums.

RSS Feed optimization, video optimization, podcasts, guest posts, article syndication, social media engagement are all part and partial to the ultimate internet marketing consortium. As the lines get blurred by less distinction of modalities, the fact is, it boils down to a simple transactional analysis.

Visibility / Interest * Action = a conversion opportunity, how you leverage that to one site or across multiple sites is entirely up to you. Don’t get me wrong, rankings are important; they always have been since the inception of search engines and still are today.

However, what is more important is to understand the emotional triggers that cause individuals to purchase and the continuity between multiple mediums that are all designed to appease different stages of interest. If each of your landing pages can still reinforce the desired action/outcome (making a purchase, joining a newsletter, opting into an RSS feed, signing up for a trial offer, etc.) then you are one step closer to evolving past the need to depend on SEO rankings alone.

It shouldn’t matter how a visitor gets to your site, what should matter is the mind set and emotional expectation they bring when they get there. So, instead of obsessing on rankings, make sure that when they arrive, it is clear what action items are desired of them and in the interests of reciprocity and the action/reward modality.

*The image of the sales funnel was referenced from this post.

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3 Comments

  1. Las Vegas SEO Company
    Posted July 18, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Great article! It never ceases to amaze me how many potential clients only want rankings. Then think that by being in the top of the serps is the magic wand for making sales. I guess it all come down to levels of awareness. As I write this I have to chuckle to think that even some think all you have to do is build a site, any site and they’ll come. lol

  2. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Under the same premise, SEO engaged without conversion tactics, call to action and value propositions a.k.a “giving them what they want” is an exercise in futility.

    SEO is not a band-aid or cure-all, it is a means to drive traffic, nothing more, nothing less. You can deliver 1 million visitors to a page with SEO and if 999,990 leave in 20 seconds or less, then who’s at fault? Surely not the SEO, but the offer.

    PPC I must admit has a much easier way to track tangibles (you do this and that happens) whereas SEO is a gradual process that reduces the need for PPC over time.

    The ironic point that it is the same SERPs divided by search behavior that determine who engages what type of call to action, but the trust is, it all starts with a click.

  3. Joshua Elliot
    Posted July 20, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I agree that we may have lots of clicks coming to the landing page, it is when the decision making time (in the landing page), that the number will be less than 50% of the click through (depending on what niche).

    For me, its getting them to give their details and to meet up for the appointment.

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  1. [...] there is need to preach to the choir (since they already share the same mind set), using guerrilla conversion tactics on someone who is just looking for a definition does not aid your cause as [...]

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