How does qualification happen online, and what role does SEO play?

Not everybody who visits your website online is ready to do business. Like a shop, sometimes somebody is browsing or researching before they make a purchase. There are generally 4 stages to online qualification:

Stage 1.
Understanding a problem - No commitment.  

Stage 2.
Understanding what solutions options are available - Low commitment. 

Stage 3.
Understanding which vendor provides the solution most aligned with my needs and resources.  

Stage 4.
Engaging with a vendor.

How these stages impact your content strategy

By creating high ranking content on your website that supports potential customers at each stage of the qualification process, you create opportunities to drive more sales. Rankings of content are entirely driven by both site and content SEO.

One of the most important aspects of any content creation strategy is SEO, or in long-form; 'Search Engine Optimisation'. SEO is what determines your content aligns with the search terms used by your potential new customers.

How does SEO work

Each browser has a complex algorithm that determines which content ranks highest on an individual search. Although the exact formula used for each algorithm is a closely guarded secret, we know that specific factors have a direct influence on search rankings for content.

Bottom-up SEO

Over time, your website builds up an 'authority' ranking with search engines. This authority is the accumulative result of good user experiences, quality content and other factors such as site speed, cross device-compatibility and internal linking. To grow and improve your ranking and authority, you need to start at the bottom, focusing on high quality, relevant content that drives more and deeper discovery and engagement journeys. 
SEO success

SEO success is not achieved overnight, nor is it permanent. SEO is a discipline that requires a focus on clearly defined goals and a commitment to ongoing content creation and site management. It requires a detailed understanding of the process and should be a driving factor in a content strategy. It requires time, knowledge, consistency, monitoring and most importantly, resource allocation. SEO is a driving force for online success and lead generation. Any business that has overlooked or undervalued the importance of SEO is missing out on opportunities to grow more. It's a pathway to business consistency and predictability. 

How often is my website ranked?

On average search engines, like Google, will grade your website and individual pages every 2 weeks, which is why it pays to be adding regular, high quality, Search Engine Optimised content frequently. Another key consideration is that Google updates their search algorithm on average every 1.3 days. It's why content that might have ranked at first place last week can quickly drop down to page 2 on a search within a week. If you don't have a team managing your SEO, your sites ranking, and content can drop like a stone within a short time.

What are search engines looking for?

For many search terms, reaching a number one ranking is a Moonshot. Sometimes it can be achieved; however, it will never happen with the right launch platform. Each piece of content on your website impacts your overall website ranking, and your website ranking influences how individual pieces of content rank. Put simply; search engines want your content to align with the needs and expectations of their customers… browser users. 

The factors that most impact rankings are relevance of content (to the keywords/phrases used in a search), quality of content (how this content helps the searcher achieve their goal), user experience (does the searcher read the content and dive deeper into your website), metadata (information which is invisible in the content, but helps search engines and searchers understand the content) and internal linking (links both withing content and a website that help searches find what they need easier).

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About Craig Harris

Craig Harris is an award winning copywriter and 30 year veteran of the Australian marketing sector.