5 Ways a Content Marketing Funnel Boosts Your SEO Authority

Yaron Avisar
Head of Content Marketing
November 6, 2022

Content marketing is more than just a trend in the online business realm. Experts agree that this is the future of successful SEO strategies.  

As global online content consumption grows, marketers and companies must strategize to meet this demand.                

It’s important to realize that search engines have indirectly added user behavior and signals to their ranking factors. User signals, such as organic click-through rate, dwell time, and bounce rate, tell Google a lot about your website’s ability to satisfy a search query. 

For instance, if users click through your URL but quickly go back to the SERP. From Google’s end, that’s a clear sign that your page is probably not answering the questions people are asking. While other factors are at play, Google uses these metrics to determine what to display for a particular search. 

Knowing this, marketers must focus on content personalization to get the desired SEO outcomes.

Content personalization is the practice of tailoring your content to meet your customers’ unique preferences. This is a part of a more extensive customer-centered campaign known as a content marketing funnel. It involves getting into your potential customers’ minds to visualize where they are in the buyer’s journey and creating content that best fulfills their needs. 

Let’s learn more. 

In this post, you’ll find answers to important questions like:

  • What is a buyer’s journey?
  • What is a content marketing funnel?
  • What is the significance of a marketing funnel to the buyer’s journey?
  • How does a content marketing funnel help SEO?
  • What are the main elements of a content marketing funnel?

The Buyer’s Journey Explained 

The buyer’s journey is simply the path customers take to purchase a particular product or service. An important thing to understand about the buyer’s journey is that people don’t just grab their phones and start ordering products or services online. 

By the time they make the purchase decision, they have already gone through a series of steps. These steps are what comprise the buyer’s journey. They are awareness, research, and decision. 

Let’s dive deeper into each of these stages. 

Phases of a Buyer’s Journey

Awareness Stage

One of the most valuable tips for content marketing is solving problems for your audience. Do not focus all of your SEO content strategies on conversions. The buyer’s journey begins with acknowledging that they have a problem or a pain. 

For instance, a website owner, let’s call her Lindy, has realized that her four-month-old website is yet to get a significant traffic boost despite her efforts. 

At this time, she knows that something needs to be done, only that she isn’t sure what. Lindy is most likely to put the issue aside at this stage and hope that things might improve on their own. If you were to try and sell her a service to increase traffic at this stage, she is likely to say she is currently not interested.

Consideration and Research Stage

In the research stage, your potential customers clearly understand their exact problems. At the same time, they are now actively researching a way to resolve the issue. They are currently educating themselves and making a list of possible solutions and vendors. So they aren’t ready to purchase from any vendor yet. 

In Lindy’s case above, she has researched and realized that her website suffers from poor visibility due to issues such as search engine optimization, wrong keywords, and site speed. 

Choice

In the last stage of the buyer’s journey, they are finally ready to act. At this point, potential customers understand where their problems stem from and know what they need to do. 

In the case of our story, Lindy now understands that she needs to; 

  • Invest in keyword research tools. 
  • Bring an SEO agency on board to help with search engine optimization. 
  • Configure her site’s infrastructure or switch to a fast host. 

In this phase, customers are in the mode of comparing all the available vendors. They engage with the content on various sites and compare them in terms of performance and results, reliability, pricing, and terms and conditions.

Ultimately, they will mix all these elements with their overall impression and make a purchasing decision. 

This takes us to the next crucial component of SEO content marketing - the funnel. 

What is a Content Marketing Funnel?

This step-by-step system guides potential customers throughout the buyer’s journey. In it, marketers and site owners offer content that addresses the buyer’s needs at each stage of their purchase process.

A content market funnel aims to convert as many leads as possible into prospects and actual buyers. 

A content marketing funnel has three main stages corresponding to each of the three stages of the buyer’s journey. 

  • Top of the Funnel (TOFU)- Awareness 
  • Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)- Consideration and research 
  • Bottom of the funnel (BOFU)- Choice 

Similar to an actual funnel, a content marketing funnel is broad at the top and narrow toward the bottom. Why is that? Because it starts with general information to attract attention before whittling it down to targeted and personalized content as your leads move down the funnel. Likewise, you’ll have a wider audience at first, but only a few will convert to customers. 

It’s important to note that the content marketing funnel is not linear. Potential customers can jump into the funnel at any stage, depending on where they are on the buyer’s journey. Whether they bounce out or stay depends on whether your content cultivates trust and confidence in them. 

That’s why reading where the customer is on the buyer’s journey is crucial for you as the salesperson. Only then will you increase conversions by generating content relevant to each stage of your marketing funnel model.  

So, what type of content should you include in each stage of the content marketing model? 

Top of the Funnel (TOFU): Research 

The first stage of the content marketing funnel model is called the attract phase. This stage has the biggest audience. It consists of potential customers who have just realized they have a problem and others who aren’t even aware they have a particular need. 

Either way, this stage focuses on educating the audience to generate interest and earn their trust and confidence. Note that there’s no selling at this point, as you’ll likely lose your leads’ trust, causing them to drop off. 

The TOFU stage of the content marketing funnel commonly consists of the following: 

  • Videos 
  • Infographics 
  • Blogs and guest posts
  • Checklists 
  • Podcasts 
  • Social media posts  

Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): Consideration 

Your leads are beginning to grow some interest in your products or services in the middle of the funnel. They have probably shortlisted your brand among other potential vendors. That being said, you want to create more targeted content that persuades them that you’re the best fit among the rest. 

What you’re doing here is engaging with the audience and striking a relationship. Remember that you’re not selling them anything yet. Instead, you want to portray yourself as a resourceful problem-solver with valuable information to help solve their needs.  

The most common types of content in the MOFU stage are; 

  • Group emails 
  • How-to guides 
  • Webinars 
  • E-books 
  • Live events 
  • White papers 
  • Worksheets 

Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): Decision 

The BOFU phase is also called the conversion or purchase stage. This is where the remaining audience will probably become actual customers, loyal readers, or subscribers. 

This is the narrowest phase of the marketing funnel model because a large part of the initial audience has bounced out. However, the good news is that the remaining people are almost sure that you’re the go-to vendor. 

Thus, your main goal is to position your brand as the most superior to make the conversion. This is the perfect time to showcase your product’s unique features and how the product has the potential to solve their problems. 

Examples of content to include in the BOFU phase are; 

  • Video testimonials 
  • Comparison charts 
  • Case studies 
  • Giveaways 

Pro tip: you can drive more conversions by creating a sense of urgency. You can do this by adding a countdown timer to your limited offers and offering bonus incentives. 

How a Content Marketing Funnel Helps SEO 

Reduces Bounce Rate and Increases Time-on-Page 

The content marketing funnel model is focused on catering to the audience’s needs at various stages of the purchase journey. If you create high-quality, targeted content, the chances are that your users will want to dwell a little longer on your pages. The result is a lower bounce rate and an increased time on page. 

No one clearly understands whether Google uses bounce rate as a ranking factor on SERPs. With its top-secret Area-51-esque algorithms, Google isn’t forthcoming with this information either. 

However, we know that Google and other search engines are looking for high-quality and valuable content. If your pages have a high time on page, Google interprets that as engaging and relevant to a particular search query. 

Grows Brand Awareness 

Site optimization is critical, especially for new brands, and quality content is a large part of this. When introducing your site to the masses, you must publish well-structured, problem-solving content that answers commonly asked questions. 

Ideally, you want to first target non-brand keywords at the top of the funnel to gain brand recognition. Nailing this enables you to compete with legacy brands out there and paves the way for future branded searches, which ultimately increases conversions. 

Creates Keyword Implementation Opportunities 

We cannot overemphasize the importance of keywords in a search engine optimization strategy. Keywords are the linchpin between your site and the search engines and, ultimately, your potential customers. They make it easier for Google to understand what your webpage is about, leading to a higher ranking. 

The problem emerges when you want to rank for a particular keyword without offering an information piece. You could (and it’s advisable to add keywords) in product listings. However, it will be almost impossible to beat blogs and websites with posts that offer more information about that keyword. 

Super-Charge Your Content with Social Signals 

Social signals in SEO are the collective votes, likes, pins, shares, tweets and retweets, and mentions on community platforms like Tumblr and Reddit. These human interaction metrics showcase a particular content’s popularity among users. 

Google has not openly affirmed that social signals directly influence site rankings. However, we can confidently say that positive social signals play a role in organic SEO rankings in several ways, including; 

  • Boosting online visibility and brand awareness 
  • Bringing more traffic to your site 
  • Building trust 
  • Increasing repeat visitors 

However, the key question here is whether your content is share-worthy or worth the tweets and retweets on Twitter. If you keep this in mind, social signals will be a huge asset when creating your content marketing funnel.

Creates More Opportunities for Backlinks 

Increased organic search traffic and conversions aren’t the only reasons for a clearly defined brand. If you’re offering targeted content that meets the audience’s needs, you increase the chances of web admins linking to your pages. Earning quality backlinks from authoritative sites gives search engines an indication that they find your content valuable. 

Conclusion 

The ultimate purpose of an effective content marketing strategy is to initiate profitable customer action. However, it will be hard to drive conversions if your target audience isn't convinced that you’re the best fit. 

Using a content marketing funnel makes it easy to create targeted and personalized content that converts your leads into satisfied customers, subscribers, or readers.

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