Seriously, money spent on SEO is dead unless you’re prepared to follow through with the commitment, and before even making the commitment, ensuring your own house is in order.

Finding is completely different to converting, and until you understand the buying journey, have an amazing user experience, and are prepared to follow it step by step then those new customers and extra sales may remain just as elusive. Now not all buying journeys are the same so for the purpose of this blog I’m focusing on a high value product or service.

Think about the buying journey as though you’re on a dating website – really, I mean you wouldn’t expect the first person to respond to your advertisement to immediately get down on one knee and pop the question (and if they did I’d probably suggest running, running very fast).

No, you need to build trust, build a relationship, establish the fact that you can help each other – because just like dating, selling is a two way street, and the best relationship is the one that lasts.

Let’s consider the critical stages of the buying journey:

1. Awareness
    Our prospect is aware they have a problem

2. Interest
    Our prospect has established that we may have a potential solution to their problem

3. Consideration
    Our prospect agrees that we do may have a valid solution to their problem

4. Comparison
    Our prospect may make a comparison against another supplier or an alternative product or service

5. Commitment
    Our prospect accepts that our solution and delivery meets their expectations, commits to working with us, and is now a client

6. Continuation
    Our client gets value from our solution and wishes to continue doing business on an ongoing basis

SEO takes you as far as #2 which leaves a number of steps before we’re going to see any money in the bank, and for each of those steps there are additional processes we’ll need to follow. It is said that it takes between 6 and 8 touches to get a qualified lead so you also need to consider that the SEO result may only be the first of those ‘touches’, and you’re going to need more interaction before you even get a sniff at #3.

So the question is how do we create that interaction? How do we firstly get the prospect to engage, and then to initially reach out with an expression of interest? Remember that if your website was a real building then SEO is what gets them to the front door, and not necessarily past it so we'll take this one door at a time.

Imagine the internet didn’t exist (for some of us that was actually a reality) and in a directory (what we called SEO before the Internet) you’d found a business you needed to work with, and now you were making a trip to visit it.

Which one of these options would make you want to conduct business with them?

1. The building looks unkempt, signage is dated, and there are cobwebs in the windows

2. I’m immediately directed to secure parking, the building entrance is nice and tidy, and the signage and view through the window indicates I’m definitely at the right place

3. The building frontage is clean and tidy, looks easy to access, but not sure I’m actually at the right address

4. I’m immediately directed to secure parking, the building entrance is nice and tidy, and the signage indicates I’m definitely at the right place, but on entry I’m wondering if I actually am

5. The building entrance is nice and tidy, and the signage indicates I’m definitely at the right place, but not sure about the dodgy looking characters hanging around the carpark

Believe it or not these are all analogies of website home pages, and you don’t want to be at least four of them because if you are then your problems are bigger than SEO.

We're all busy professionals so I fully understand that the time required to discuss Awareness through to Continuation is not possible in a single sitting, so what I ask of you is to think about the first two stages and then be honest with yourself about what your consumer facing website might look like to others? 

SEO is just a small part of your overall digital marketing strategy, and if handled independantly of same is not going to generate the results your were hoping for.