The SEO Buying Cycle

21 Apr 2016

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The techniques Avenue SEO managers apply to an SEO campaign are various, and structured around both a technical and a creative strategy. Whilst Avenue considers both very important, the forward facing techniques can be related to several already established marketing models.

In this article, Avenue discusses The Buying Cycle, a 3 stage model proposed by David Skok, and how the first two stages of the model are intrinsically linked to SEO metrics Bounce Rate and Returning Visitors. Skok’s website, For Entrepreneurs, has been named one of the Best Websites for Entrepreneurs by Forbes, and his Buying Cycle Model article is widely cited on the web.

Skok explains that his model “looks at why customers expect different interactions with you depending where they are in the buying cycle.” SEO managers take this into consideration on each campaign they work on, whether they work on an e-commerce site, a donation focused site, or an information site, as the different stage needs to be considered to keep the focus of the user.

Skok’s model explains there are three different stages in the Buying Cycle.

Awareness

Consideration

Purchase

We are going to assume the search user is searching for blue high heels. The search user Google’s ‘blue high heels’, and the results returned form the first part of the Awareness stage. Meta details are the basis of Awareness here, as they not only tell Google about the importance of your page, but they also tell the user about the relevancy of your page to their search query. They should contain relevant keywords (blue high heels) and entice the search user with product information (price, style, designer brand).

A well written and optimised Meta Detail will both make the customer and Google aware that you are the right website to visit. Once on the page, a carefully weighted image to text ratio will give the search user immediate insight into the purpose of your page, and allow them to evaluate whether they need to spend any more time on the site. Skok likens this to window shopping, and at Avenue we can see from analysing customer behaviours of our clients that the transition from Awareness to Consideration is influenced by SEO techniques such as onsite content.

Skok says of the transition that at this point, search users want to mostly be left alone so they can browse the products, services, or options presented to them by the site. This is why at Avenue, we encourage our clients to carefully balance callouts with useful and relative information.

As user transitions from Awareness to Consideration, they may leave the site without converting. Returning Visitors, an important metric from Google, measures how many users return to your site after visiting it the first time. This important SEO metric can be used to show both you and Google whether search users are finding your site relevant and, against competitor websites, are returning.

Avenue generally recommends that limiting callouts is SEO best practice. This is because a well optimised site should aim to stay in the search users focus after they have left your site, causing them to want to return to it. If you have answered a search users query and presented the answer in a clear, keyword rich format with a generous amount of relevant images, when a user returns to your site, or when they have spent enough time on your site considering your products, they should enter into the third stage, Purchasing.

When Purchasing, users are likely to seek out how to do this. Commonly accepted formats to provide to the search user an option to convert include the ‘add to basket’ button underneath the product or near it, or a bright donate button at the top of the page.

The conclusion to a buying cycle based upon Skok’s model is that careful balancing your site between information providing and call to actions will make the user feel supported during the buying cycle. A well optimised site will help with this, as will a keen SEO friendly design. Understanding the buying cycle is key to SEO, however great SEO will kick the buying cycle process off by giving a search user immediate Awareness of you and your products in the SERP’s.

 

About Avenue Digital

Avenue Digital was established in 2015 and has fast become a leading digital marketing agency, proving SEO, PPC Management, Social Media Management, and Umbraco Design and Build expertise. This strong growth has been achieved through a steady accumulation of consumer and professional service based clients and a significant strategic acquisition.

Existing Avenue clients include Rothesay Life, LPC Law, Convergen, Lomar, Venesta, Bureau Van Dijk, Mount Anvil, Benoy, Shrieve, GLH Hotels, Ella’s Kitchen, Levi Roots, Shop Direct, Farrell Clothing, Anna Freud Centre, and Blesma.

Although a specialist SEO agency in London, Avenue Digital is performance focused and a provider of digital marketing including:

• SEO Management
• PPC Management
• Social Media Management
• Umbraco Design & Build