Hardly any website provides content for every relevant search query of a user. However, this does not mean that it is not possible to fill these gaps in content. Customer journey mapping and Google help with this.

Learn how to create a customer journey map using data from Google to serve every touchpoint of your potential customers’ user experience (UX).

What is a customer journey map?

A customer journey map is used to visualize all the interactions a customer has with a brand. Marketers who understand the customer journey of their customers can optimize the user experience of their website and thus all customer touchpoints to create a perfect customer experience.

The customer journey should be understood as a kind of journey, because it has a beginning and an end. In between are the many stages that a potential customer passes through before becoming a buyer. In the best case, the purchase is followed by the loyalty stage: the customer is loyal to the company and embarks on this customer journey again and again.

AIDA model

While there are many different models of customer journey mapping, the AIDA model is the classic among them and illustrates the individual steps of the customer journey well.

AIDA Modell Customer Journey Mapping

Awareness: The prospect has a problem and wants to solve it. For example, the prospective customer needs a new bicycle.

Interest: Initially, the interested party still searches very roughly with search queries such as “buy bike”. In doing so, he wants to get an overview of his options.

Desire: In the Desire phase of the Customer Journey, the prospective customer is already a real expert in his field and learns which bike best suits him and his needs. By searching for different product attributes and types, the search query becomes more and more detailed. For example, the search query is now “city bike men 28 inch”. So by now he knows what kind and size of bike he needs. In this step, it also searches for brands and comparison requests.

Purchase: The interested party has made a final choice and is now putting the final measures in place. For example, he searches for stores in his area that sell the bike he wants. Finally, the purchase of the product follows. The prospective customer became a customer.

Loyalty: Even after the purchase, the customer may have questions about the product, such as bicycle repair, bicycle accessories or spare parts.

The task of customer journey mapping is to record and organize the customer questions of each individual phase and then provide corresponding answers, for example in the form of content for the customer.

Consider the Micro Intents

Keep in mind that very few search processes are as straightforward as depicted in the AIDA model. While the phases of the customer journey map remain constant, users often jump from phase to phase again and again. In the process, they get caught in a loop in which they keep jumping from the interest phase to the desire phase. Google calls this process “Messy Middle.”

In order to be able to provide all the necessary information in the customer journey, companies should know the micro intents of their users. Find out what micro intents are and how you can use them to fill the gaps in your customer journey map here:

3 reasons for a Customer Journey Map with Google

Google is the most popular search engine in the world. And as such, with tools like Google Search Console, it is the ideal database to map a large part of the customer journey.

By mapping the entire customer journey on Google, we understand:
The main topics that potential customers search for on Google.
Search intentions, which are among the company’s USPs.
The “peak ends,” or key conversation touchpoints on Google that can win or lose a prospective customer.
The search intent schedule to understand how to properly prioritize content.

There are three main reasons why you should use customer journey mapping with the help of Google:

1. user intent instead of keyword targeting

Targeting specific keywords has worked well for a long time. But with the algorithms Google uses today, keyword targeting is outdated. With Google’s introductions like BERT or the MUM update, the search engine is learning to understand its users’ searches better and better and to optimize the search result. User intent is moving more and more into focus – and it should in search engine optimization.

In practice, this means that keywords that have the same intent should be considered as one user intent. Keywords like

  • Bicycle repair
  • Bikes repair
  • Bicycle repair
  • How to repair my bike

For this user intent, there are a total of approximately 1800 monthly searches. So it makes sense to include it in the Customer Journey Map as an intent. To match user intent on this topic, you could create content with repair tips or even offer a repair service.

2. collaboration between SEOs and marketing teams

SEO is a subfield of online marketing. That’s why SEOs should not optimize on their own, but run in line with a company’s marketing strategy and activities.

With the help of a customer journey map, SEOs and marketers can work together optimally and have the same data basis from Google Search Console. In doing so, SEOs in particular should provide data quickly. Because while an SEO case analysis can often take weeks, marketing decisions are made daily. The Customer Journey Map also helps here, as it quickly visualizes the important data in a simple way.

3. topic clustering does not give a complete picture

Even if it seems like it: Topic clustering and customer journey mapping are not the same thing.

Topic Cluster:

  • Covers only interest and desire phase
  • is divided into a main page, which ranks for the most important keyword, and several secondary pages, which serve the secondary keywords.

Customer Journey Mapping

  • Covers the entire customer journey
  • also covers early funnel and post-sale phase, which are important to be considered as a current authority by Google.

What are Early Funnel and Post Sale Phase?

Early funnel
Helping users early in the search process keeps them top of mind. The user subconsciously builds trust and usually comes back to this company later in the search. This is the early funnel.

The problem with getting into this early funnel of a search query is that the user’s search is still very vague. During this time, he symptomatically searches for the terms that come to mind. This makes it difficult for a company to offer the user the right solution.

On the other hand, it also means that if you manage to serve these symptom queries, you are a good deal ahead of your competition. They gain trust and authority.

To identify relevant symptom queries, proceed as users do: research as your potential customers do. Sticking with our “buy a bike” example, take a look at the results Google returns under “similar searches”. Results such as “Buy a bike near (XY)” often appear there.

So, with the help of Google, you can identify another search query from your potential customers in your customer journey map.

Post-Sale Phase
The post-sale phase is so important because it gives you data from users who are already customers of yours – who have already had a positive customer experience. It is an important touchpoint in the customer journey to prepare the customer for another purchase.

To identify your customers’ post-sale requests, you can use Google Search Console with the following RegEx formula:
\b(clean|broken|wash|shattered|polish|problem|treat|doesn’t|function|replace|will not|start|scratch|manual|repair|protect|renew|cover|warranty)[” “]

If you don’t rank well for the search queries that follow, you now know where you have content gaps and can fill them accordingly.

Keep in mind that not all of your content will convert directly. Some content is more suitable for micro conversions (watching video, reading other content, downloading PDF). Customer journey mapping requires you to place search intent in the order in which it appears. Then you can structure your content and define what a content should do.

Gruende fuer eine Customer Journey Map mit Google

Create Customer Journey Map with Google Data

Step 1: Define persona and goal

A customer journey map doesn’t work without knowing who it’s for and what it’s meant to accomplish. So you should define a persona and its goal.

Step 2: Data collection and intention

Use Google Search Console to get data about persona and target. A good time period for this is the last 12 months filtered by a specific keyword. For this keyword, create your customer journey map.

Using the keyword list, you should be able to define user intent as mentioned above. In addition to Google Search Console, you can also add data from other tools as a supplement.

Step 3: Sort results into funnel

The last step is the concrete planning. Draw the AIDA model on a whiteboard or piece of paper (you’re welcome to make it a little bigger) – this is your sales funnel from the early funnel to the post-sale (loyalty) phase.

You can record individual user intentions for your keyword on Post-its and group and arrange them on the whiteboard or paper. If you find any gaps in the Customer Journey Map, recheck the Google Search Console results or other tools to fill them.

Then, you should transfer your customer journey map into a presentation so that you can always access it. Here it is useful to categorize the results into rankings and search volume.

When ranking, you can use three colors to represent the rank in the search results respectively: Rank 1-3 on Google, remaining results of the 1st page and from page 2. you can show the search volume by the size of the bubble.

Summary

Once you have created your customer journey map, it reveals where the customer experience can be optimized. So the task now is to bring all results with the help of SEO and content at least on the first page of Google search results, better still on position 1 to 3. In the process, you need to bring a little patience. While a customer journey map is quick to create, it takes a few months for search engine optimization to bear fruit and bring growth.

Take-Aways

  • A customer journey map is designed to visualize a user’s interaction with a brand.
  • With Google or Google Search Console, you can easily get comprehensive data for your customer journey map.
  • Use Google for your customer journey map to define user intent, visualize tasks and goals for all marketing departments, and get data for the early funnel and post-sale phase.
  • Know your USPs to be able to define relevant search intent.
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