When we type a query into Google, we’re looking for an answer to our questions. Google used to take a static approach to presenting those answers in SERPs. The same query, word for word, would get the same response each time.
However, as Google has gotten smarter about what consumers are really looking for when they search, it’s shifted from providing answers to guiding a journey.
What exactly does that mean? And more importantly, what does that mean for your business? Here’s an inside look at Google’s Search Journeys.
How Does a Search Journey Work?
In 2018, Google announced a change to its search algorithm. This signaled a shift in the way it approached search altogether.
Google understands that while someone may type the same search term into Google several times over the course of a week or month, they’re not looking to get the same results every time. And that’s because they’re on a journey, discovering more about the topic each time. Using AI technology, Google is getting smart about how it presents results based on where someone is in their journey.
Let’s say you’re planning to renovate your kitchen. You go to Google and type in “kitchen contractors near me.” You sort through the results, clicking on a number of websites.
Some look promising, and you stay on those sites for a while, scrolling through their galleries of past work and testimonials from happy clients. Others look less interesting, and you only spend a minute on the landing page before clicking back.
Then, you take a week to think about it. A kitchen renovation is a big expense, after all! The following week, you type “kitchen contractors near me” into Google once again.
But this time, Google remembers that you’ve already searched this term, and it’s taken note of how you interacted with each of the results pages. Today, it presents you with the options you were most excited about at the top of the results page”those contractors’ websites where you clicked through multiple pages.
How Does This Affect SEO?
Great question! If you’re a business trying to win at SEO strategy, Google’s new focus on journeys means that you should be thinking about these journeys.
Keywords have always been an important part of SEO, but now you want to think about how they relate to the customer journey. Someone searching for “kitchen contractor near me” is clearly in the early stages of their journey, but someone searching for “quote from Suzy’s Home Renovation Atlanta” is further along and looking for something specific from a certain company.
Identify where each of your keywords land in the customer journey. Is this term relevant for someone just discovering your business or for someone with an intent to buy? Then, align these keywords up with the appropriate content on your site.
Someone who’s just starting to think about kitchen renovation might want to be presented with your introductory blog post about how to budget for a renovation and what to expect from the process. Those who are further along will want detailed information about what your business brings to the table, how long it takes you to complete a project, and what they can do to get a quote.
Marketing has always been about taking consumers on a journey from prospect to return customer. Google has now embraced the journey as well, and this provides you a great opportunity to be strategic about how you use SEO to make sure the right people are seeing the right information at the right time. Give us a call to see how we can work together!