These are not the Search Terms you are looking for?

These are not the Search Terms you are looking for?


To drive more visitors to your online business you need to be aware of how people will search and find what you offer and how you can differentiate your business from the competition.

Understanding searcher intent is an essential part of search marketing and optimising any website to attract a relevant audience. Unless your site is appearing for the right search phrases you will end up with higher bounce rates, less conversions and falling search engine visibility.

Let’s take for example a quality new housing developer; you build great houses, and want to sell lots of those high specification, quality houses to potential customers, so the purpose of your website is to drive those purchase enquiries to get people to visit, appreciate and hopefully buy a property.

It makes sense then to build content and pages on your site to focus on those people wanting to buy quality new houses. However, what about all those potential customers who are earlier in the purchase cycle, what about potential customers who want to know they can ‘trust’ your company, what about people who don’t know if they can afford a house. Unless an online business has content on their website that addresses those parts of the user search journey, you may well be missing out on valuable relevant traffic to your site and those people may well have a good chance of converting into property buyers.

It’s crucial therefore, to clearly understand the informational search route to making a purchase decision for a property and the different types of phrases people will use (search on) to advance through those phases.

The Search Journey

We can split the users search journey into 5 phases:
The 5 phases of your customers search journey:

Awareness stage (top of the sales funnel) – This is where the searcher is made aware of their ‘need’ and the existence of your company/brand that can fulfil that need. In the above case that would be the possibilities and options of buying a new house.

  • “Great low mortgage rates & help to buy schemes mean this is a good time to buy a property” Our business has to show that now is the time to consider buying a property, and not only that they sell great quality properties in the locations the customer wants, but that they offer something more than a competitor(s).

Research stage – This is where you need to create the online presence to capture search traffic on ‘How’ they can afford to buy, ‘What’ they should consider buying, and ‘Who’ they should trust to buy from.

  • Research best mortgage offers (if needed), help to buy schemes, new home vs old homes, how good a developer reputation is, the quality of their builds, buyer feedback etc. (Reviews and testimonials, Industry awards/recognition etc are all essential here.)

Evaluating alternatives – This part of the process is like a customer getting three plumbers to quote on a job and checking their references out. You need to convey the reason they should choose your company over the competition. Why should they choose you?

  • How do they rate against the visible competition – price, quality, reviews, location, facilities, surrounding infrastructure, extras offered, and so on.

Action stage (conversion stage) – At this stage the searcher has become convinced you can satisfy their need, so you have to ensure that you make the route to conversion on your site as pain free as possible. The amount of times I have driven traffic to a site, only for there to be no easy route to conversion, I’ve lost count.

  • Ease of customer conversion – Ease of entry into the conversion funnel is essential here, can your potential customer contact you in multiple ways, across multiple devices? Do you have a clean form without un-needed fields to fill in, and do you have trust signals on any payment page?

Post action – Once your customer has converted on the main action, is there anything else to do? If you have a happy customer why not ask for a nice review and email them a link to an external review site, this will add to your company online reputation.

A good example of ‘post action’ is online supermarkets who have all those “Before you go”, “Promotions you have missed”, and “Have you forgotten” pages which are all after you have done the shop. Amazon are also very good at this. On the page before ‘confirm payment’ they have the “People who bought this also bought” section.

  • Follow up service and customer care, convey how you still look after the buyer after they have made the purchase and the levels of customer service you provide, backed up by detail and customer testimonials.

A website that can understand their potential customer journey and the complete buying cycle, and then build online content to capture this, will not only end up getting more traffic to their website, but that traffic will also be more likely to convert.

Space & Time Media – smarter media for a connected world.

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