How to turn keyword research into clicks into conversions in 7 steps

Written by Fraser McCulloch.

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You are going to learn how to turn keyword research into clicks into conversions with these 7 steps.

Just like this little page of mine that converts 17% of clicks into conversions.

So without further ado, let’s go through these 7 steps.

Introduction to the enemy

In every battle there is an enemy and the enemy is the business owner.

Over 90% of pages earn no traffic, from a study of 1 billion pages, and the reasons are simple.

Many website owners and the agencies they hire publish website content before checking to see if people are actually searching for this content.

There are free tools like Google Search Console and paid tools like Ahrefs, when properly used, can help you understand what users are searching for and clicking on.

The next enemy is no fault of a website owner, but it’s damn tough to earn links from other websites.

Without good, relevant links you have no chance of ranking on page one for highly searched, competitive keywords.

To earn links, you need to understand link intent.

7 billion daily searches, most at the top of the funnel

Look at this diagram; you can see where the majority of search activity takes place.

If you want clicks and conversions, you need to position your website and pages where your search audience activity is occuring.

Consumer buying process 

80% of searches that your audience makes occur at the top of the funnel.

  • They are searching for a problem
  • They are looking information about products, services or brands  to solve that problem
  • Once they’ve found that information they compare alternatives and look for reviews

Here’s a little animation outlining the buying journey Justin takes and the searches he makes.

Google Ads at the bottom of the funnel

Google is making billions of dollars serving up adverts for companies desperate for quick traffic.

And Google Ads absolutely work.

I’m working with 2 e-commerce companies that sell products used at home and the cost of a click is very low.

But what about the cost per click if you’re a mortgage broker ?

  • remortgage £11.64
  • Buy to let remortgage £11.79

1000 clicks x £11.64 = £11,640.

You could burn a hole in your bank account or credit card in a few days.

That’s a small ad spend for big corporate organisations but a huge amount for an independent mortgage broker.

When you consider it takes 6 months to buy a house that’s a while before you see a return on your Google Ads investment.

Not only are Google Ads expensive for services you also need to consider banner blindness.

Banner Blindness and Zero Click Searches

Ever scrolled right past the ads at the top of a page ?

Well you’re not alone; it’s called banner blindness

But an even bigger problem is zero click searches; people who search but don’t click on a result.

This is all part of Google’s masterplan to become an answer and search engine.

So what about social media ?

Is it any wonder social media is thriving; or is it?

It turns out your Facebook posts reach less than 1% of your followers.

And less than 2% of your Instagram posts reach your followers.

To know thy enemy

To quote The Art of War: “if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

Keyword Research

So the first step in this process is keyword research.

We need to find out what our search audience is searching for.

Choose keywords

We research and choose keywords at each stage of the buying process.

  • Problem keywords
  • Informational keywords
  • Comparison, review and alternative keywords
  • Purchase keywords

Ideally during this process we find low competition keywords with high search volume.

Or even find our competitors keywords.

The keywords we research will form the basis of the pages on our website.

User Intent

Now you need to examine the search results to see the kind of content that Google is ranking for the keywords you’ve researched.

This is called user intent.

User intent is giving users the copy and content on your page in order to satisfy them; ie: the solution or answer to their question.

For example, there are people who search for and click on results for the “right to buy mortgage calculator”.

It seems fairly obvious that if your page contained this kind of calculator it would be what the user and Google want on our page.

Or people who search for “fixed vs tracker mortgage”.

Users want a web page to compare each mortgage type and recommend which type of product they should choose.

Now take this example, “how to get a mortgage with bad credit”

The phrase “how to “ is contained in the search query which suggests some kind of guide.

There’s not a simple answer to that search query but the answer you would need on your page revolves around checking and improving your bad credit score.

From here, you can create the title of your page and an outline of the content required for each page you’ll be creating.

Write Content

Here’s how I write content.

I’ve already written my user focused page title.

I write an introduction to the page.

Then I write down sections the page will contain, gather data, statistics or quotes to reference.

Then I write a summary or call to action.

Once I’ve done this, then I write out the page content.

If I do this for a client, I hire a writer who has more expertise in the client’s industry.

Then I run the page content through a copy optimisation tool to double check the content is aligned with what the user is wanting.

I’ll generally do this in Google Docs and then get ready to add it to my, or the client’s, website.

Web Page

Before we get started, let’s look at browser behaviour over the past 7 years.

However, web pages still have to cater to both desktop and mobile users.

Hitwise analysed the top 20 UK retailers and found that whilst site visits are evenly split between devices, purchases are not.

Device Split - Top 20 Retailers

Google UX Playbooks

At the basic level, written copy is added to a web page as an article/blog post or as a service type page.

However it’s the structure of that web page that is important.

Google has provided some useful guidelines to turn clicks into leads; geared towards mobile devices.

Here’s a summary of the key features for lead generation websites.

  1. CTA above the fold
  2. Descriptive CTA
  3. Click to call
  4. Benefit statement above the fold
  5. Big fonts
  6. Social Proof
  7. Provide answers to questions users might have BEFORE they feel comfortable filling out a form
  8. Navigate to other services and pages

Let’s use this example of people searching for golf cart insurance in the USA.

This screenshot shows :

  • there are 1600 searches a month, 
  • there is an average keyword difficulty (15) to ranking on page 1, 
  • 53% of searchers don’t click and 
  • 77% click the organic results.

Now what traffic do the top pages earn each month?

From the above screenshot the top pages earn traffic each month but I want focus on the page in position 4;

Let’s click their page from our mobile device.

The page just looks like any other mobile web page.

But Google has determined this page and website to be “best-in-class” in their UX playbook.

  1. The call to action is above the fold on my phone browser
  2. Click to call is above the fold
  3. There’s a written benefit statement above the fold ie: ride protected for $75 annually
  4. Big fonts that are easy to read.

Ps: the fold is the bottom of your web browser or screen.

Let’s scroll down the page and look at other features of their best practice page guidelines.

As you scroll down, the web page starts to answer your questions about this type of service.

Then as you keep scrolling, read and have more questions answered, you see the following.

Another call to action written statement, a call to action button and a click to call link.

Last but not least, links to their services and pages on their website.

Now we don’t all have the digital marketing budgets of a company like Progressive but we can certainly try to emulate them with our web page engineering.

Top of the Funnel

As I mentioned earlier, most of your search audience activity is happening further up the funnel than those search for golf car insurance.

Let’s take my highest converting page.

People searching “how to plan a website.

When users land on my page on a mobile device this is what they see.

Here’s Google checklist for best practice lead generation pages and which features my page contains: 

  1. CTA above the fold
  2. Descriptive CTA
  3. Click to call
  4. Benefit statement above the fold ✓
  5. Big fonts ✓
  6. Social Proof ✓
  7. Provide answers to questions users might have BEFORE they feel comfortable filling out a form ✓
  8. Navigate to other services and pages ✓

 I’m clearly missing the first 3 features.

Now scroll down the page.

I’m using a trusted data source in the pie chart as social proof, a descriptive call to action (free website planning template) and a click to download as a call to action button.

And if you count the links to other pages and services at the top and foot of each page, I have 6 out of the 8 features Google recommends on my web page. 

Content Hub

There is another type of page structure called a content hub that contains some of the features Google recommends in their UX playbook.

Answers to questions before offering a form (7)m a benefit statement (2), a call to action (1) and links to other pages (8).

The banana (call to action)

In Seth Godin’s book, The Big Red Fez, he compared website visitors to monkeys.

And the best way to motivate a monkey and get him to do what you want is to show him a banana.

Humans aren’t that different from monkeys; we’re busy, distracted and never been on your website before.

So make the banana obvious or the user will hit the back button and leave the website.

So your job is to figure out what that banana should be on each of your web pages.

Avoid a generic call to action

Google’s UX playbook recommended that you “avoid a generic call to action”.

Ideally your banana or call to action should match the intent of the page.

If a user visits a page about “golf cart insurance” then make the banana a “get a golf cart insurance quote”

I have a keyword research service page where I offer a sample report.

Perhaps offering a quote would be what they want.

On my “plan a website” page I offer users a free planning template.

And that seems to work better than any other of my page’s bananas.

Don’t rush the commitment

The reason for offering up a banana such as a free sample report or template is because, as Google states, “most people are commitment averse”.


The next stage in the process is to display a form with fields on your web page in order that you can deliver your “banana” to web visitors.

Again Google provides some recommended form guidelines.

  • Reduce the number of form fields
  • Clarify why you need specific information
  • Don’t use dropdowns
  • Use inline validation and autofill
  • Use numeric entry

I only require an email address and first name in order to deliver to the website visitors the “banana” I offer on each page.

However, in the golf cart insurance quote example, Progressive require more information than this to provide you a quote.

A former client who runs a recruitment agency has a call to action, apply for a job, and their form contains the following fields.

Follow up

You should store the user information you collected on your form in a database, crm or email marketing system and deliver what you promised.

Your first follow up should be an email delivering what the user provided.

As Seth Godin points out in Permission Marketing the follow up should turn this stranger into a friend into a customer.

The follow up process will vary industry to industry and business to business.

And of course the follow up channel isn’t just with email marketing.

Smart marketers run follow up campaigns using retargeted advertising.

I have a very simple system; I tag every person who downloads the “banana” I offer them.

Then every time I send out an email campaign, I tag a page they visit or a product/service they purchase from me.

It’s not particularly sophisticated; I simply ensure I don’t send customers the same communication as non customers.


And over time this process turns keyword research into clicks into subscribers into paying customers.