From Keyword to Click to Conversion: The Importance of Free

Many marketing experts use this concept of the sales funnel. I hate that concept! It implies that people are basically stupid and passive, like marbles falling down a chute.I recommend, instead, that you think of a sales ladder. People are pro-actively searching for products and services just like yours (or hearing about them), and then they are pro-actively moving from attention to interest, interest to desire, and desire to action (using the AIDA model of classical marketing). Among the most important things you can create is something free. Let’s investigate!

Watch the Video

The Search Process: from Intent to Keywords, Keyword to Rank, Rank to Click, and Click to Conversion

Search starts with user intent. It can be nearly anything, from “I need a good personal injury lawyer,” to “I’m interested in CRM software,” to “Gosh, I need a motorcycle insurance quote.” Throughout, you as the SEO specialist, want to optimize and understand

User Intent – What do they (really) want?
Keywords – What keywords will they be typing into Google, and which ones are more “transactional” than “educational?” Which ones are higher volume or higher value?

Power of Free and SEO

Photo credit: via / CC BY-SA

Rank on Google – You and your company have to rank on the relevant search query on Google, and hopefully be near the top. The top three organic results get the lion’s share of clicks, even in this increasingly cluttered environment.
Get the click – You want an optimized TITLE and META DESCRIPTION to ‘sound exciting’ and ‘get the click.’
Get the Conversion – Once they land on your website, what’s the next step? Here’s where something free is incredible important, as it lubricates the transition. Something free and non-threatening allows them to gain comfort and confidence in you and your product, and then be willing to move ‘up’ the sale ladder to something like an in-person consult, or an initial engagement

I highly recommend that you read Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business (free article on by Chris Anderson, or go crazy and buy his excellent book on Amazon, Free: The Future of a Radical Price.  Another great resource is Hubspot’s library of eBooks, here.

Reviewing Some Examples of Free and SEO

Now, let’s take some searches and step through (in the video) the process from user intent > keyword > rank / click / landing > free offering.

What you notice is that these companies have figured out –

  1. Their keywords – they know what users are searching for, especially high volume / high value keywords.
  2. How to Rank on Google – they do great SEO, and rank high on relevant Google searches.
  3. How to Get the Click – they write enticing TITLES and META DESCRIPTIONS that show up on Google as “free ads” to get the click.
  4. How to Get the Conversion – they offer something FREE that makes you willing to part with your name, email, and even phone number (even though you realize they’ll probably hound you thereafter with the next step “up” the sales ladder.

So now, it’s up to you. What will YOU offer FOR FREE as part of your SEO sales ladder?


Photo credit: via / CC BY-SA


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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.