Search Funnel:  Sales Funnel becomes Search Intent

Part of: Marketing with Digital Entities

by Wayne Smith

A Search Funnel is integrating the purchase funnel with search engine optimization. Where awareness becomes information search intent. Interest and evaluation stages becomes navigational intent and commerical intent. Purchase stage Becomes Transactional Intent. Both the materials and the content for search intent are unique and different depending on the stage, and within search the available snippets that can be used in search change.

Search Funnel

Search Intent

Search intent or user intent is what the natural language processing understands the search to be about; Using the meaning of terms in the search and other user interactions with the results ... search intent can be broken down into four main categories.

Additional intents such as local search and other search intents can be seen to be added by Google. It is necessary to look at Google's search results from the geographic location of the targeted market to determine what search intent Google is applying to the results and make content that matches the intent.

Consumer Awareness Becomes Informational Intent

Brands need to reach out to provide consumer awareness and let potential clients know the brand has a solution. The lion's share of search traffic is for international intent. And the volume of queries is such that affiliate marketers and content producers help fill in the gaps to provide brand awareness of a solution.

... Google Answers Questions in Search ...

For many information intent queries or questions, Google wants to provide an answer on the search results page; But, like journalism, they need an expert to quote and rely on the quoted source for correct information.

... Generative AI ...

Generative AI pulls information from the top pages in the results and attributes the source as the expert. Brand awareness is provided to brands that provide an answer, and more often than not the page is listed within the first 5 spots of the search results. The answer needs to be at or near the top of the page for generative AI to use the answer. The algorithm for information content where the answer can be provided in search is biased towards pages where the answer is above the fold, and pages that have enough E-E-A-T or are in agreement with what AI alone would have said.

... Featured Snippet ...

Another type of pulled content for information intent would be a featured text snippet where the part of the page that answers the question is used as an emphasized description above the page in the organic search ... Again providing brand awareness in the search.

... KPI (Key Performance Indicator) ...

The KPI for the Informational or Awareness stage would be the raw traffic produced by organic search. Additionally the impressions for rich snippets and impressions for being used as an authority both focus points of people on search should be considered.

Click-through rate, (CTR), also needs to be considered as a KPI for the long-term success of the page in search engines. A poor CTR may cause the page to fall out of the results unless a snippet or generative AI is pointing to the site as an authority and doing the branding on Google's website.

Interest and evaluation becomes navigational intent or commerical intent

The consumer interest stage of the sales funnel is when a client is specifically interested in learning more about a product or service the brand has to offer. The search would include both the brand and the product. The content needs to provide information about the product or service.

Google's treatment of navigational intent when it includes a product is to display the Google Knowledge Graph for the product if available. And present the client with the page on the brand's site for the product.

The brand plus product Google Knowledge Graph also includes product reviews and can contain stores that sell the product and prices for comparison. These are of interest to the consumer at this stage.

... Consumer interest also can be commercial intent ...

When only the product is searched or a search for product comparison... videos and reviews are likely to be shown in the results. When the product and questions are searched it may return to informational intent and forums / other sites are also shown, which Google has determined are qualified using E-E-A-T, about the entity or product.

... KPI ...

Traffic to the page from organic results and impressions of content in the Google Knowledge Panel should be considered for KPI. Leads can also be produced at this stage in the funnel. Review impressions could be considered but location in search is a more important factor.

... Preparation KPI ...

Preparation would include trust signals that the brand has enough experience and expertise to review products and make recommendations. As well as establishing a Google Knowledge Panel.

Purchase Becomes Transactional Intent

Transactional intent is when a client wants to make an online payment to purchase a product or service.

... KPI ...

The KPI can be measured as the total amount of sales or leads with consideration of the cost of sales.

... Preparation KPI ...

The KPI for preparation would need to include building the trust signals on the site ... such as contact information, customer support information, and policy pages ... to be able to have enough trust from Google to consider the site and e-commerce site.