What is a user search journey, and how can understanding it help you generate more sales?

A search journey is the combination of search terms that a person enters in order to find something like a product, a restaurant, or an answer to a question. Some people begin a search journey with specific search terms like “aerial yoga studio near me” because they already know exactly what they’re looking for. 

Other people may start their search journey with very broad search terms because they aren’t quite sure what they’re looking for, or they might not have the words to describe it yet. People might use broad terms like “crop top” or “trendy shoes” to start their search, but quickly discover that some results are more relevant than others. They’ll start to narrow their search more specifically as they discover what they are and aren’t looking for.

Image Credit: sierraannastasia.com

Prefer audio content? Listen to me explain another example:

Example: my search journey for buying a bike for the first time.

Understanding which search terms your target audience uses to discover products like yours will help you choose the right keywords (both short-tail and long-tail keywords). These search terms help you discover the keywords that you want to sprinkle throughout your website content so that you can attract website visitors who are in all stages of the marketing funnel:

  • Awareness: not quite sure what they’re looking for. 
  • Consideration: comparing brands to choose the best one.
  • Conversion: ready to buy.

I think it’s a great idea for you to start paying extra attention to the stages of your own search journeys. How much did you already know when you began your search journey? How did that influence the specificity of your search terms? How did you narrow in on a specific product? This will help you apply these concepts to your own website.