How to plan SEO content on the website based on the sales funnel strategy
Creating content on the website that attracts the attention of users and, at the same time, favors their purchasing decisions is currently quite a challenge. Writing a correct text covering a given topic is no longer enough because users’ needs go much more profound – from answering their questions and building trust to finally realizing specific needs or specifying expectations. In addition, there is the issue of users’ habits to consume content depending on what device they use – whether it will be a laptop, where they can conveniently view the entire content by navigating with the mouse cursor or scrolling the content on a tablet or smartphone, capturing only the threads that catch the eye. Today, I would like to look at content SEO from the point of view of the thinking path, or literally – the user’s purchasing path, which will allow us to plan the content on the website in such a way as to reach users and thus meet their needs at every stage of thinking about a given product or product or service.
What is a sales funnel?
The sales funnel strategy is widely used in almost every e-commerce industry, and its primary goal is to adjust the messages/content to the individual stages at which the user is currently located.
Depending on the business needs or the specificity of the user, the sales funnel may consist of 7, 5, 4, or even three stages, including elements such as awareness, interest, desire, action, and loyalty.
From the point of view of building content in the e-commerce industry and taking into account the dynamics of changes in both the needs and expectations of users, the See-Think-Do-Care model created by Avinash Kaushik, known as “Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google.”
See-Think-Do-Care strictly focuses on the user’s intent, which from the point of view of activities for the e-commerce industry, means a thorough examination of how the user looks for information and what results he obtains after asking the search engine a specific query. Let’s dig deeper into what See-Think-Do-Care means:
|Stage||Audience||Type of queries|
|SEE||Users who do not yet have specific purchase intents||(informational/question keywords)|
|THINK||people looking for opinions||(informational/question keywords)|
|DO||people looking for the best deal/making a purchase||(generic keywords + branded keywords)|
|CARE||the stage where an existing customer is taken care of||(branded keywords + informational/question keywords)|
The first stage of the model, i.e., SEE, is when the user sees a given product for the first time, and it arouses his interest. The purpose of content at this stage is to build awareness and authenticate our brand, which will allow us to guide the user to the next step, THINK. In the second stage, the user begins to consider getting to know the product better because, in the first assessment, it satisfied his information need. The content presented to him should help him understand the specifics of the development, its use, and all the benefits associated with its possession.
The DO stage refers to the user who is determined to buy a given product but is looking for the most advantageous offer. The role of content is to convince the user that this is where he can make a purchase, and messages about a price promotion, free delivery, 24h shipping, or a discount on the next purchase can be an incentive.
The last stage of CARE applies to users who have already purchased. Success! With content, however, we must take care of relations with the user, strengthen his conviction that he has made the right choice, and offer him other opportunities (cross- and up-selling).
Content creation based on the See-Think-Do-Care model requires a thorough analysis of the user’s needs, considering how they search for information in the query search engine and the results they return.
Knowledge of the types of keywords will allow us to properly match them to the individual stages of the user’s path following the model See-Think-Do-Care.
The primary division of keywords takes into account the user’s intentions. So we distinguish keywords:
Informational – keywords with a large search volume. The user is looking for general information or answers to specific questions:
Example of a keyword:
Fashion – 246000
Navigational – keywords that target specific locations. The user wants to find a given page or physical address of a place / registered office.
Example of a keyword:
victoria’s secret store – 720
Commercial – keywords related to a specific product, service or brand. The user is looking for details that will support his purchasing decision.
Example of a keyword:
victoria’s secret black bra – 2900
Transactional – those kinds of keywords refer to pure purchase intent. The user is committed to a specific purchase.
adhesive bra victoria’s secret – 110
In addition to the above list, it is worth mentioning two types of keywords that are of great importance in building content based on the See-Think-Do-Care model:
Long tail keywords – are keywords with a relatively low search volume, but with a specific intention. They can occur at virtually every stage of the sales funnel. Thanks to low competition, they can easily attract traffic to the site.
black lace bra and panty set victoria’s secret – 20
Question keywords – these are keywords in the form of questions for which the results are to provide a specific answer. They are also used in voice search, and their importance in the sales funnel is constantly growing.
when is victoria’s secret semi annual sale – 1300
Finally, I want to mention another equally important division between branded and non-branded keywords. In the first case, we are dealing with keywords containing the name of a specific brand, manufacturer, or website (e.g., Victoria’s Secret), while the second type is all other keywords. Brand words are essential for building brand recognition and increasing points of contact with it.
Define your business goals and goal metrics
After this theoretical introduction, it’s time to move on to practice – defining business goals. For e-commerce, this will usually be conversion to sale. However, this goal will not always be the most important, or a given business will require additional goals, such as:
Building awareness– which will be crucial in the case of new brands/stores on the market
Drive traffic – will increase the website’s visibility in search results and ultimately increase the number of visits
Building relationships with users – is designed to provide helpful content to the user, increasing our authority and strengthening trust.
The set business goals will largely determine the type and format of the content, as well as the target group we will want to reach.
More than just setting goals is required. It is necessary to determine how we will measure the effects of the goals set at every stage of See-Think-Do-Care. The most commonly used content effectiveness metrics are:
- Organic Traffic
- Keyword Rankings in the top 3/5/10
- Time Spent on Page
- Bounce Rate
- Scroll depth
- Internal clicks (links, images, buttons, etc.)
When it comes to typical sales metrics, I can recommend the following:
- Conversion rate
Of course, there can be many more of these measures. It all depends on how advanced the level of analytics we expect and how extensive and complicated the project is. However, it is worth remembering to determine and then configure the selected metrics at the very beginning to realistically assess the effects of content activities and react to any anomalies in the collected data on an ongoing basis.
Create a user needs matrix
The next step in content planning by the sales funnel strategy is to create a matrix of user needs, which on the one hand, will allow you to understand the intentions of users and find an answer to their expectations. In the matrix, we also specify which content format will best meet the needs of a given area of intent, both from the perspective of year-round and seasonal themes.
An example of a matrix for the fashion industry is below:
|Stage||User intent / needs||Response to needs||Content type||Example of topics / keywords|
|See||Searching for fashion ideas, trends, collections||Trendbooks, fashion guides,||BlogPillar page||Fashion trends 2023, trendy colors 2023, spring / summer collections 2023, tassel trends fashion, sequin trend|
|Think||Reviewing styling ideas with a specific product||Fashion tips, “how-to” articles, inspirational content||Blog||how to style a sequin dress, how to style a satin dress, maxi dress styles, mini dress styling,|
|Do||Selecting and purchasing a specific product||product characteristics, quality assurance||Product pageLanding page||beige satin maxi dress, light pink mini dress, brown leather midi dress, white sequin tank top|
|Care||Asking for benefits||cross-, up-selling solutions, discounts, free shipping, free return,||FAQ||How to get free shipping?|
Do you have free returns?Do you offer any discounts?Do you have a loyalty program?
Let’s take a closer look at the above matrix, considering the different stages of the See-Think-Do-Care model.
Users at the beginning of the purchase funnel See focus on searching for information and inspiration regarding current fashion trends and the collection of a given season. Therefore, they expect content presenting fashion news or advice on wearing and using a given group of products.
Content should therefore be a guide to seasonal fashion, enriched with photos and video materials and presentations from fashion catwalks. This type of content is best presented as a blog article, encouraging users to comment and share their thoughts on current trends, or a pillar landing page that can be updated annually.
The topics of the articles can be pretty broad, for example:
– Current fashion trends straight from Milan,
– Fashion collections of famous brands spring / summer 2023
– Fashionable dresses / shoes / jackets 2023
In the second stage –Think – users with clearly defined needs related to fashion shopping need confirmation that a given product will be consistent with their everyday style and lifestyle. The answer to these needs will be content containing ideas for styling, reviews of other users, or examples of celebrities and influencers who wear a given product. You can present this material through blog articles, richly furnished photos, and styling collages.
Bearing in mind that the user already knows what they are looking for, the content should cover issues such as:
– styling with the product for various occasions
– advice on how to use a given product in various fashion styles
– how to dress like a celebrity
– how to choose the right size/color/style of a given product
A user at the stage of the DO purchase path has already decided on purchasing a given product but is looking for the best possible option to finalize the transaction. Usually, the decisive factor is the price, but also aspects like the quality of materials and product compliance with the size chart and colors. Our task is to describe the product as accurately as possible, taking into account all its features. The content on the rules of product care will undoubtedly work in our favor. All this information should be included on the product card, grouped into sections with the appropriate heading, thanks to which the user will quickly find the issue he is interested in.
The topics covered on the product card should concern:
- Product features such as style, color, type of material, size
- Washing/cleaning/drying/storage rules,
- Styling issues: combining with other elements, accessories
After the user has made a purchase, it’s time for the last step of CARE, where it is essential to take care of the user’s experience related to our brand and to convince him that he has chosen the right store. Therefore, we will certainly build trust in their eyes by offering such benefits as 24-hour sales service, free shipping, and returns. These elements can encourage a potential customer to complete the basket in our store. The user needs to decide quickly at this stage, so our content should be short, concise, and strictly meet his needs. Content in the Frequently Asked Questions section, which can be located directly below the main product description, works best in this role. Notably, after being appropriately marked with Schema.org markups, the FAQ section will also display in the search results under the link to our product, which will positively impact CTA.
Issues worth including in the FAQ section are, for example:
- From what amount of purchases is free delivery available?
- Does the store offer free returns?
- When will I receive my order?
- Can I use deferred payment?
- What loyalty program do you offer?
A matrix prepared in this way will be the starting point for us to create a publication plan that considers the needs related to search engine optimization and user experience at every stage of the purchase path.
Plan your content in the long term
After the base is prepared this way, we can proceed to detailed planning. The content plan must be developed from a long-term perspective – in the case of e-commerce, such a unit may be a year, also considering seasonality and all kinds of repetitive occasions and holidays.
Planning content from a long-term perspective will allow you to avoid mistakes related to the mismatch of content with the season or too fast exhaustion of topics you can publish at a more appropriate time.
In my case, the quarterly planning model works best, which I try to cover with seasonality. Here are the elements we should include in the plan:
- The specificity of the season – a description of consumer moods prevailing in a given period (for example, Q1 – the beginning of the year is less dynamic shopping, the propensity to save, purchase of necessary products or those that will allow you to implement New Year’s resolutions).
- Goal – determination of specific goal values in accordance with previously adopted metrics.
- Sales focus – an indication of a group of products/categories that are a sales goal from a business point of view in a given period.
- List of topics and keywords for the created content – this element will require detailed research and verification of the selected topics and keywords with the user’s intentions by analyzing the search results.
Create SEO silos
To optimally manage the flow of so-called SEO power across the site and the content created, it is worth organizing content based on a strategy of SEO silos. It involves creating semantic associations between content on the website into thematic blocks that are logical and useful to the user, leading to conversions.
Below is an example of such a thematic silo:
Blogpost / pillar page
Topic: Fashion trends 2023
Keywords with search volume:
spring 2023 fashion trends – 2400
2023 fashion trends – 5400
2023 fashion trends women – 1600
mens fashion trends 2023 – 1300
spring summer 2023 fashion trends – 1300
summer 2023 fashion trends – 590
Topic: Fashionable styling with a short dress
Keywords with search volume:
mini dress styling – 170
how to style a mini dress – 70
mini dresses for spring – 50
Product name: Beige mini dress
Keywords with search volume:
beige mini dress – 590
beige short dress – 390
short beige dress – 50
The “top” of the SEO silo is a blog or landing article on various fashion topics and trends 2023. Using internal linking, we lead the user to more detailed content about Fashionable styling with a short dress, where the user can get acquainted with specific proposals related to fashionable dresses for the coming season. The next and last level of the silo redirects the user to a particular product corresponding to current trends, i.e., a beige mini dress. In this way, the user is led to the product naturally, consistent with the See-Think-Do-Care strategy, while search engine robots can better interpret the content of individual subpages and combine them semantically.
Verify the effects based on the set goals
Finally, a few words about measuring the effects of content activities, without which we cannot assess whether the adopted strategy has a business impact.
Thanks to the ongoing monitoring of specific measures, we will be able to verify:
- Are the assumptions of our strategy correct,
- Have the set goals been achieved,
- Are there any anomalies that require a quick response.
This knowledge will also be the basis for the perfect planning of subsequent content projects.
Creating content on the website based on the sales funnel strategy requires solid preparation and planning. Understanding the user’s needs and their information/purchase intentions, as well as meeting their expectations related to search engines’ results for specific queries, will allow you to set realistic goals leading to traffic monetization.