Much of SEO is about improving the visibility of your site. Unfortunately, some have misunderstood this and believe that this is the only goal of SEO. It’s important to recognize that SEO and sales are closely related. Your site should not only be optimized for the search engines, it should be optimized for your visitors.

One of the most important elements is the connection between SEO and the online buying cycle. It’s a mistake to think that all internet searches are conducted by the same kind of user, and that they all have the same likelihood of clicking on an ad or buying a product. Thankfully, most of your traffic belongs to one of three categories: interested, researching, or buying. A good site targets all three types of users, but treats them differently.

Interest

Take a close look at your keyword list and try to identify those that indicate a general interest in the subject. These keywords tend to be fairly broad. They tend to be either academic or entertainment seeking. These are the users looking for “latest news” and “funny clips.” They have no immediate interest in buying something, and shouldn’t be treated as though they do.

Why target these readers at all? Several reasons. Users who find your content interesting or entertaining are more likely to subscribe to your site, share it on their social networks, link to it, leave comments, and become a loyal visitor.

Let’s face it, nobody buys something from an eCommerce site and immediately jumps on Facebook to let everybody know what a great deal they got on a “Custom heavy-duty, large spring Mfg for industrial & OEM applications.” Users who are farther along in the buying cycle are the least likely to promote your material.

While the users with an interest in your subject matter may be the least likely to offer direct product, they are the most likely to offer social and SEO benefit.

Research

These users are looking for something to buy, but don’t yet know what they’re looking for. They won’t yet be susceptible to anything very marketing oriented, but they will be interested in reviews and other neutral articles about products they are interested in buying. These users are a good source to target for advertising revenue. You could, for example, compare two products neutrally, and provide an affiliate link to both of them within the content of the review.

Buying

This searcher is typing things like “buy” or “order” into the search box, or they’re searching for something very specific. Odds are this user wants to buy something right away. In this case, you’ll likely achieve the best results if you don’t waste any time getting in their way. The very first thing on these landing pages should be a product description sitting next to an image of the product with an easy to spot “buy now” button in an obnoxious color that can’t be ignored.

Do not waste any time trying to convince this visitor that they want this product. Their search query has already let you know it’s exactly what they’re looking for.