How Brands Should Think about Pre-Sales in SEO

Historically, search engines have rewarded brands with "free" traffic for creating content. Over the years, the algorithm became more intelligent, more users started using search and more brands started creating content.

As a result, the quality metric (and the rewards associated with it) evolved from having: 

  • some content to
  • good content to
  • epic content (interactive, rich media and propagated across multiple platforms)

For a very long time, one of the strongest pillars of an SEO strategy was to create educational content. This content would allow brands to capture users during their research/consideration phase so that when they're ready to buy, they would have the brand affinity (or at least the users can be reengaged via paid channels).

The importance of brand affinity is two-fold: it increases the likelihood of a potential customer using branded search terms during the purchase phase and that the potential customer will go directly to the brand's site, skipping search all together. 

One other point to mention: because it's not cost-effective for PPC campaigns to run against these types of terms, the absence of these ads within the SERPs means they will not impact the CTR of the organic listings. 

In the quest to provide a better user experience, Google has implemented three changes in the SERPs layout that have fundamentally changed this strategy. 

1. Quick answer boxes

2. "People Ask For"

3. Rich media/information carousels

To see this in action, look at the result for "how to clean an oven quickly"

Imants SEO blog post image  

As you can see from the image above, if a brand's content is not in the answer box (commonly referred to as position zero), then your organic listing is below the fold. Therefore, you can expect to receive little to no organic traffic. 

We've now entered a stage where if you don't have a data-drive roadmap, or aren't realistically able to get into the answer box, reconsider the amount of investment in this content. Create good content to satisfy the visitors of your site as part of the consumer's journey however don't have high expectations when it comes to the organic traffic that these pages will yield. 

If you want to know the secret on how to get into position #0 and be seen as an authoritative source of information, get in touch with us.

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