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Defining and aligning micro-moments with customer intent

The SEO industry is evolving at a rapid pace, driven by the emergence of new technologies and consumers increasingly demanding hyper-relevant and personalized experiences.

That’s why SEO strategies are no longer isolated, and their true power is most visible when they are integrated within an integrated digital marketing strategy and merge seamlessly with all online or offline promotional activities.

In SEO, however, as in all other online marketing strategies, there is a critical point in the potential customer’s journey to conversion. This critical point is called the micro-moment, and in SEO it is the specific search performed by a user in a search engine.

We will discuss these micro-moments in the following.

More specifically, in this article you will be able to learn everything you need to know about:

  1. Why should marketers care about these micro-moments?
  2. Defining micro-moments – what are they and how do you identify them?
  3. How do you catalogue micro-moments?
  4. Reasons to optimize each micro-moment
  5. How do you win in these micro-moments?
  6. Aligning micro-moments to the search intent of potential customers
  7. Essential information in defining and aligning micro-moments

Nowadays, the customer journey to purchase is far from linear. This customer journey has become a challenge for brands, requiring them to build an entire digital ecosystem that fosters interactions, emotions and experiences for consumers across all marketing channels.

Potential customers’ interactions with a business today take place across multiple touchpoints, on numerous devices, whenever and wherever it suits them. All of these circumstational variations share, however, a common, fundamental factor in defining the right micro-moments:potential customer intent.

In the case of an SEO strategy, for example, the desired results in organic search engine searches are only achieved when the company locates and instills its consumer mindset, and, more importantly, understands the search intent of potential customers.

Why should marketers care about these micro-moments?

This concept of micro-moments changes the rules of the game in interacting with potential customers.

Most companies focus their marketing and SEO efforts in a buyer funnel with dedicated content for the:

  • awareness
  • consideration
  • decision.

This concept of a linear funnel is, however, becoming increasingly irrelevant.

With our increasing reliance on smartphones, the consumer journey has been fractured into hundreds of micro-moments made in real time and based on specific intents.

Each of these micro-moments represents a critical opportunity for brands to influence consumer decisions and preferences.

All of this is because when people act on the needs they have, at any given moment, their expectations are high and their patience is low.

This makes the level of quality increasingly relevant, and the usefulness of marketing more important than ever. Why?

Well, the companies that do the best job of responding to customer needs at every moment, especially in the micro-moments that are consumed via mobile devices, will enjoy a huge competitive advantage.

Here’s why:

  • Many consumers are not 100% committed to a particular brand. 90% of smartphone users aren’t absolutely sure of the specific brand they want to buy when they start searching for information online.
  • The chances of hijacking competitors’ customers are much higher. 1 in 3 smartphone users have purchased from a brand other than the one they initially chose, due to information they received at the right time and place, just when they had a need.
  • Simply having your brand actively present in the right place at the right time can go a long way to increasing brand awareness in people’s minds. More than half of smartphone users have discovered a new company or product during a Google search from a smartphone.
  • Finally, the active presence of your brand out there and when these micro-moments occur, makes your brand chosen by customers, not just seen.

Using these micro-moments as part of a digital marketing strategy, fused seamlessly with an effective SEO strategy, gives a company the chance to respond to consumers’ needs at the perfect time and helps move them through the buying process, towards the decision stage.

Buyer Journey is increasingly pragmatic. Think about it.

The phones we use every day have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver what we’re looking for when we’re looking for something.

We no longer rely solely on long browsing sessions to make purchases. We simply pull out our smartphones and make informed decisions while chatting with friends or family over lunch, or standing in line for our morning coffee.

While mobile devices are driving this change, this phenomenon has much broader implications, affecting the entire consumer buyer journey across all screens, devices and channels consumers use.

For example, in the case of consumer behaviour in retail stores, customers don’t walk around the stores as much, but they spend more. This is because they have already “done their homework” and decided what they want to buy before they enter the store.

The same is true of the micro-moments that define a website visit, via a device. Visitors spend less time per visit, but convert more often, which of course denotes pragmatism.

Defining micro-moments – what are they and how do you identify them?

Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device, usually their mobile phone, to act on a need for:

  • learn something
  • do something
  • to discover something
  • to look at something
  • buy something

These are moments rich in intention, from which people form their preferences or make certain decisions. In these micro-moments, people’s expectations are higher than ever.

How do you catalog micro-moments?

Micro-moments can be classified into four groups:

defining and aligning micro-moments
  • “I want to know” – triggers searches for facts and information.
  • “I want to go” – usually lead to searches for places and events.
  • “I want to do” moments – signal a need for help or guidance with a particular task.
  • “I want to buy” – occurs when people are interested in buying a particular product or service.

Each of these moments represents an underlying need, as well as the reason that triggered the awareness of that need.

For example, a trigger (“I have no energy”) causes someone to look for a solution (“where is the nearest coffee shop”). Of course, many of these triggers are external influences, such as a conversation with a friend on social media or a TV ad.

Identifying and understanding relevant needs through research helps to shape a sound SEO strategy.

Adopting an end-user-centric approach provides much greater insight than simple keyword analysis.

Reasons to optimize every micro-moment

Transactional keywords have seen declines in search volume in recent years, and the trend will continue. In contrast, the search trend for informational and business investigation keywords will increase.

There are also no longer any unique products on the market. If you don’t have a unique product that sells itself, your chances of success are low, due to the fact that people prefer to buy from sites they trust.

At the same time, informational keywords have a different degree of timeliness and, therefore, difficulty.

Practically, with fewer resources you can get more visibility in front of potential customers, especially if your brand will be the first one they see when their need is in the early stages.

How do you earn in these micro-moments?

Cheia of success lies in returning to the basics of marketing, namely: understanding customers and their needs.

Here are some concrete ways to do this:

  • Identify consumers’ “I want to buy” moments. Chat with current customers or watch online discussions to find out when, where and how they research and make buying decisions.
  • Be there in those moments. Once you figure out where and when your customers are researching, create a comprehensive strategy with a focus on channels such as search, video, social and display.
  • Provide relevant content. Simply being there in those micro-moments is not enough. Look at how people search, the questions they ask, the search terms they use, and make content that provides useful answers.
  • Ease their buying process. Offer consumers more ways to buy, with as many instructions and as few clicks as possible.
  • Make every moment count. Look at every customer interaction and analyze how multiple different channels work together to give them what they want.

Aligning micro-moments to the search intent of potential customers

Want to satisfy your potential customers who use search engines to research and determine whether or not to buy? Do you want a potential customer, who searches for information about your product or service in Google, to become your customer?

If your answer is yes, then you need to find and associate keywords with the steps that potential customers go through before buying (Buyer Journey).

Remember, your customers don’t want to be sold your product or service. They don’t want to receive emails from you convincing them to buy using the latest sales techniques.

These things, even if they are part of the standard process in sales, offer no real value to a customer, and customers want to do their own documentation.

People want more information and opinions about your product or service, in their own terms and when they want it.

That’s why to align your micro-moments with your online marketing and SEO strategy it’s important to:

  • understand your audience’s search path.
  • identify the topics your audience is searching for in Google.
  • you serve their need by making content relevant to each stage.

In time you will gain their trust and they will convert through your website, becoming customers of your business and making you happy.

Ideals essential in defining and aligning micro-moments

  1. As Google’s ability to understand how people value a brand, and to apply this in an algorithm, grows, the road to success through organic results becomes harder and longer.
  2. This is also why this shift in focus on the potential customer and their needs is needed, every moment.
  3. If we understand exactly what the potential customer wants, why and how they are looking for what they want, as well as the micro-moment that triggered the search, we can make content that responds exactly to those needs.
  4. SEO has entered the race of relevance and brands that want to win need to move away from the check-box approach and join the potential customer on their journey to purchase.
  5. Remember that you can’t understand your audience by examining an Excel spreadsheet, which is why integrating micro-moments into your SEO and Online Marketing strategy gives you a strong foundation to achieve better and more meaningful experiences for potential customers.

That said, if you need to change your SEO approach and strategy from business to consumer, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help you achieve your business goals.

And if you want to get to know us better, we invite you to follow us on social media and subscribe to our newsletter.

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