For a while now it’s been touted that 10% of searches are transactional in nature, while 80% are informational in nature and the remaining 10% navigational. What I don’t like about this is it’s very narrow in perspective. It fails to recognize that users who are looking for information may convert to transactional at some point, so what about this 80%?
I actually see the potential for greater value of that 80% than I do of the other 20%, and here’s why:
- New opportunities
- Upsell or cross sell opportunities
- Life time value
Let me explain how I think this 80% impacts these three points.
Perhaps the greatest value to capturing these searches is not the immediate ROI, but the opportunity to establish new customers. Don’t get me wrong ROI is important and showing tangible ROI is critical to success and building relationships and trust, but there is a greater opportunity in organic search and that is the breadth in which the long tail can cover.
Identifying some critical keywords that should have immediate ROI impact also means there’s a long tail opportunity there as well. Moving beyond a single word or pairing to multiple variations can lead to an increase in traffic and volume. What we must remember is that the pages that support these long tail searches may have a different goal and message. All roads should lead towards a singular goal, but each page along the way can speak to a different aspect of that opportunity.
Upsell or Cross Sell Opportunities
Which leads to the next aspect of the other 80%. When someone hasn’t fully settled on a single option it means they are still looking for or weighing what they want. Let’s assume someone is looking for a new computer. They may know they need a computer, but are unsure of what features they need. Will they use it for playing games? For surfing the internet? Will they want to print information? People in a decision making stage that is still researching or looking for information are seeking data to help make a decision and identify their needs from their wants. This is your opportunity to build and establish trust with your customer which leads to…
Life Time Value
If you establish trust as part of the customer experience early on with a customer you had not connected with before, you have now not only sold a product but created a potential for an ongoing relationship. Life time value is unfortunately not something that can be measured from a single transaction, but the opportunity to introduce someone to your brand before they become brand decided can certainly open up new doors, and establish credibility of your brand.
Bringing It All Together
When looking at the 10% of transactional which will be critical to closing the deal, the other 80% is your opportunity to open doors and create opportunities. Targeting users so late in the purchase cycle ultimately means you are not building your brand, or impacting long term opportunities. When establishing search programs don’t forget about the bigger picture, and how you can impact the full customer experience.
I suspect over time the impact the other 80% has on decisions will become more apparent, especially as analytics packages such as Google Analytics makes it easier to identify how different media elements interact through Multi-Channel funnel reports. When we start to measure the full decision making process as SEOs we will begin to better identify where in the funnel time is best spent to maximize total ROI.