This is an example of how different queries can represent different phases of the funnel.
So I’ve identified our persona in our funnel. It’s Johnny and Liz. They’re 26-years-old, they’re recently married, they’re at the very top of the funnel. They’re just kind of starting their search for a home.
2. The Digital Asset
Now let’s talk about the digital asset that will help capture them. This is just a fancy way to say the content the user will consume.
The vast majority of the time this is just going to be a post or a page on your site, but it doesn’t have to be just that, and that’s kind of the point here: the digital asset you use to capture users could be a bunch of different things:
- It could be a form response, a product review, a social media post, a video image, or a podcast.
- Maybe it’s a digital tool that you create or a product demo that you could create as well.
In this particular example, I’m just going to do a blog post.
It’s going to be a blog post called “Newlywed Advice: The Best Cities To Build A Love Nest”.
This post is designed to capture a 26-year-old, recently married, who is looking for a home in New Hampshire.
Next, I have to think about are the medium and the channel. These translate as “where the content lives” and “how it will be distributed”.
There are a bunch of different mediums.
In general the most common one will be your own website, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, we have a video on the same topic as this blog post “What Is SEO” posted in YouTube. In that case, we’d be using YouTube is our medium.
Your medium could be on other places as well: Google Places, Yelp, Amazon, Core, Pinterest, maybe The App Store, and so on.
For my blog post targeting newlyweds in New Hampshire, the medium will be my website: awesomenhrealty.com
The channel could be a bunch of different things: SEO, paid search, email marketing, content marketing, etc.
These are the different methods you can use to drive traffic to your digital asset.
In my example today, my channel is going to be Google/SEO.
This is, very simply, just doing everything you need to do to maximize the number of users that get my asset through the channel I picked.
Because I choose Google/SEO as my channel, I’m going to need to do all the things we need to do from a Search Engine Optimization perspective.
So I’ll make sure the page title‘s there, make sure the meta description is there. I’ll include my target keyword in the copy a couple of times. I’ll make sure my site is fast. I’ll optimize my images. I’ll use LSI keywords.
You get the point.
Basically, I’m going to go through all the things you do for SEO to maximize the total number of users that get my asset.
6. The Nudge
Finally, I’m going to work on the nudge. This is the most important aspect of the framework.
In simple terms, “the nudge” is understanding where the user is in the buyer’s journey, and then taking them to the next logical step down the funnel.
When I’ve optimized our site and it’s generating organic traffic, I have not yet committed the nudge. Getting the traffic is not the nudge. Moving the user to the middle of the funnel is the nudge.
In my example, our next logical step for a user that has found my blog post via Google is getting their email so I can nurture them further.
The moment when my target persona enters her email address, she moves to the middle of the funnel.
Once she moves to the next stage of the funnel, we go back through the search framework and do the whole thing over again.
The search framework is applied to every step of the funnel
Now, let’s say she’s in the middle of the funnel and I want to go through the same process all over again.
What’s the persona and the funnel? What’s the asset, what’s the medium, what’s the optimization?
You do this for each step of the funnel until you have converted your user.
That’s an example of the high level stuff in the search framework and everything that you do and where you apply it in each step of the funnel.
Now, let’s talk about those SEO pillars that we talked about earlier.
Optimizing your assets for search engines
As a quick reminder, it’s the search engine’s job to show users relevant content based on what they’re searching for, and it’s our job as SEOs to understand what those users are looking for and create awesome, relevant content for them.
Before I get started on this, there are a couple of things I want to mention.
First (and a lot of people kind of mess this up) is the “pages vs. domains” topic.
Google ranks pages, not domains.
You want to use this document relevancy concept on a page basis. A lot of people mess this up because they just optimize their homepage. They do a bunch of keyword research, they say, “Okay, I have 50 keywords I want to optimize for.” and then they jam all 50 keywords in their homepage.
That’s not the way to think about it.
Yes, the domain you’re on is important. Yes, you want a high-quality domain. Yes, the total number of kind of links and authority to your domain can be helpful, but in general all these concepts I’m about to talk about are at a URL by URL, or a page-by-page basis.
Do keep that in mind. Just optimizing your homepage generally doesn’t help your deeper pages get ranked.
The other thing to think about before you go deeper into the optimization is that, in general, I’m going to be doing all this on a one keyword = one page basis.
My rule of thumb is you only want to pick one primary keyword that you’re optimizing a URL for.
Of course, URL’s can rank for many different keywords, but when you’re first getting starting, the best way to think about this is taking a core keyword that you want to optimize for, and kind of do that one keyword for one URL.
It makes things much cleaner and easier when you’re just getting started.
Before you start optimizing your page, there’s one thing you need to do: keyword research.
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of SEO.
Most SEOs use third-party tools to figure out what people are searching for, how users are looking for things, and use that to optimize their content.
The rule of thumb here is: you’re going to do your keyword research, figure out your primary keyword, but once you know your primary keyword you only want to use that exact keyword up to a point.
You don’t want this to sound too spammy.
Keep in mind that Google really understand synonyms. They understand the relationships between words, so unnecessarily stuffing your content with keywords won’t help you.
You want to be writing for humans, not for robots, so make it sound natural
I messed this up a lot when I was first getting into Search Engine Optimization. I would look up my core keyword, and I would just jam it into the copy as much as possible.
Let’s look at an example. Let’s say I am optimizing an e-commerce shoe store and I want to rank #1 for the term “Discount Nike Shoes” because it’s searched for 4400 times a month.
Some different synonyms that might be thematically related to “Nike shoes” might be “sneakers”, “running shoes”, or “footwear”.
You can use thesaurus.com to find synonyms. Or just Google whatever your keyword and add “synonym” after it, is a great way to do that as well.
On top of all of this this, keep in mind the concept of Latent Semantic Indexing. This is very important for the post-Google-Hummingbird world (a Google update that has come to be really important these days).
LSI, or Latent Semantic Indexing, is just a fancy way to say “related keywords”.
What’s important here is how Google and other search engines are approaching this. If you think about the entire web and all of the different relationships that are happening on the web, you want a lot of those kind of relationships that are naturally happening out in the wild to be also happening on your site.
Here’s an example: let’s say was trying to optimize a page and rank #1 for the term “Empire State Building.”
- Some synonyms for Empire State Building might be “building”, “tower”, “skyscraper”, and so on.
Latent Semantic Indexing keywords are other terms that are constantly showing up on documents that mention the “Empire State Building”—and they might not be synonyms.
Google finds a pattern of every website that’s out there and mentions the Empire State Building.
- As it turns out, many of these pages also mention keywords like “New York City”, “Guinnnes Book of World Records”, “sightseeing”, and so on. These keywords are thematically-related, but they are not synonyms.
LSI is very important in terms of the document relevancy equation today. Do keep this in mind.
My favorite resource for this is LSIGraph.com. All you have to do is input your primary keyword and it will give you a ton of the latent semantic indexing keywords for you.