Search engine optimization is important for the success of any business online. At a fundamental level, good SEO optimizes your online visibility. It makes your website more visible, which translates to more traffic and more opportunities to convert prospects into customers.

It’s also a valuable tool if your purpose is to position yourself as a thought leader and an authoritative expert in your field. All in all, SEO is the most viable and cost-effective way to reach prospects in the key moments that matter.

However, a common mistake even the best SEO services make is assuming that as long as the content of the website matches a search query, it will satisfy their audience’s needs and increase traffic. In doing so, they ignore the most important element of search engine optimization – the actual intent of the search.

SEO & The Buying Cycle: Where’s the Correlation?

While the buying cycle differs from one product to the next, every customer goes through some process of

  • Realizing they have an unmet need
  • Assessing the solutions available to them
  • Conducting research to alleviate risk
  • Making a decision; and
  • Purchasing a solution

Consumers are out there researching, browsing, and listening long before deciding on the products and services they need. So, customers have already done a lot of the preliminary research by the time the direct-sales process starts and are just looking for the differentiating factor that will seal the deal. And this means one thing for businesses: SEO is inherently linked to the buying cycle.

Organic search is arguably the most valuable marketing channel there is precisely because online search is often the starting point of the buying cycle. This being the case, you’d want your business to be visible when a prospect gets into research mode, and you have to engage them at every point of the buying cycle.

Each stage of the buying cycle requires a different set of strategies to compel customers to move forward to the next stage. To understand the buying cycle, you must also understand your customers.

By identifying the intent behind a search query, you can present prospective customers with the exact information they’re looking for at the precise moment they need it.

Creating an Effective SEO Strategy

It’s not particularly feasible to rank for every single variation of every keyword related to your products and services. Not to mention littering your site with keywords could actually harm your SEO strategy.

Search engine algorithms are getting smarter at decoding what users want and interpreting what makes for a good or unfavorable user experience, so you have to understand the voice of the customer.

Analyzing keywords and search query data can help you understand customer intent in granular detail. Overall, the goal of a great SEO strategy is to offer users the information they are looking for in as few clicks as possible while incorporating elements of a positive user experience. Doing so enables you to engage customers at every point of the buying cycle, leading to increased traffic and conversions.

And this is why it’s important to find the best SEO company for your business. It’s tough to find a company you can trust with something as valuable as your web presence. Make sure to evaluate past performance through case studies, client references and online reviews.