What am I misunderstanding about this Sales Funnel? Can you tell me?

Sutra

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For some reason I'm just not getting my head around the proper keyword usage to set up a funnel. Lets say this is the scenario:
  • You're an affiliate for several national tax attorney companies
  • When someone calls and pays over the phone for a 1 hour tax consultation you get a commission
  • Your main source of traffic is SEO
  • You want to create new website content that interlinks in a way that funnels visitors from the top of the AIDA funnel (see the Digital Strategy Crash Course Day 6) to the bottom.
  • You want to reach people who have been penalized by the government for late tax payments and could be penalized again. They are crapping their pants because they are scared of possible impending additional penalties, and want answers to their tax questions. You want to persuade them that paying for a tax consultation over the phone will solve their problem and give them peace of mind.
AIDA funnel:

1. A – attention (awareness)
2. I – interest of the customer
3. D – desire
4. A – action

When I come up with keywords for the stages I have things like:

1. A – attention (awareness)
  • Phone tax attorneys legit?
  • Reasons to consult a tax attorney
  • Behind on tax payments
  • Late on tax payment but want pay without penalty
2. I – interest of the customer
  • John J. Attorneys
  • National tax attorneys
  • Johnjattorneys.com
  • O'reily Attorneys at Law
3. D – desire
  • National tax attorney reviews
  • John j attorneys vs O'reily
  • Best national tax attorneys
4. A – action
  • N/A (I direct user to Attorney website at the end of Step 3)
My questions:
  1. Am I using the correct type of keywords for each funnel stage?
  2. According to the Crash Course I should mainly target levels 2 and 3 in the funnel. But the course also says not to target brand names, yet it seems that Stage 2 is basically just brand names. What should I do here?
  3. The Crash Course also says that Stage 2 should show HOW the user's problem can be solved. But that sounds like it should be stage 3. As in...here's how it can be solved, here's why it will benefit you and ease your paint points, so Call xxxx Now!
I'm confused. haha.
 

Ryuzaki

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I'd consider, for #2, things like "how can a tax consultation help me," "what happens in a tax consultation," "how much should I expect to pay for a tax consultation," etc.

Having terms like "national tax attorneys" can work but I'd almost put that into the #1 slot. "Late on tax payment but want pay without penalty" and "behind on tax payment" also makes sense for #1, but I'd move "reasons to consult" and "behind on tax payment" to #2 as Interest related terms.

You could say that brand terms fit in #2, and I'm not sure exactly why @CCarter said to pass them up, but one of the reasons I'd avoid them is most of them have their SERPs on lock down. Your chances of ranking on the first page or highly for them is nil. But at the same time, @stackcash & @ddasilva pulled that off and made a killing. You'd have to analyze those SERPs to determine if it's possible. But going for "brand name reviews" and "best tax consultations" is definitely a great idea (thought that'd be #3 Desire).

Regarding your 3rd question, don't just picture this in your head as a giant funnel you have to pass everyone through, from one page on your site to the next until they hit the affiliate lander. Each page can serve the main level of the funnel (so Google ranks it appropriately) but can have it's own customer journey. So if you're getting traffic to a #2 Interest page, there's nothing that says you can't guide them through a funnel on that page yourself, ultimately hitting them with a phone number or OBL link to the lander. As a matter of fact, you'll get exponentially higher conversions on that traffic than you will trying to hop from page 2 to 3 to the lander.

Coaxing committed and return visitors through the entire journey from page to page requires a lot of educating, entertaining, and repeated impressions that is best served for email marketing and perhaps repeated exposure with other types of re-targeting ads on other platforms.
 

stackcash

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I wrote a guest post on this recently that better addresses funnels for SEO affiliates:

https://seo.institute/content-creation-user-intent/

AIDA is good and is tried/true... but I've never found it to "work" perfectly for content sites driving targeted traffic via organic search.

Instead, I like this:

Awareness / Info > Commercial > Transaction

Awareness/Info

You need to straight up address the users problem the way they see it right now.
  • 10 Tips to avoid being late paying taxes
  • How can I schedule tax payments automatically?
  • Tax payment grace period
No one getting nailed with late tax payments is immediately thinking "let me consult an attorney."

They are thinking "how do I stop getting hit with late fees and penalties" which will naturally lead to "how do I stop paying my taxes late."

So you go and find those keywords and you create and rank content around them.

Within this content, you'll present several solutions... one of which being tax attorney companies. You position them as the "best" option because they are the experts. You'll also want to present the DIY option as well to be fair and not to seem like you're just pushing an affiliate offer.

When you present the tax attorney option, you link to your commercial pages from that section.

Commercial

This is where you'll make your suggestions and include your affiliate links.
  • Best Tax Attorney Company's and "Buyer's Guide" - a guide explaining how to hire a tax attorney and 5-10 suggestions for the "best" options. This page will include affiliate links directly to individual tax attorney companies AND internal links on your site to individual tax attorney reviews/profiles.
  • Individual tax attorney profiles - these go in depth on each tax attorney company and covers what they offer, their specialty, why use them, etc. These will include affiliate links to the company being profiled.
Transactional

These pages aren't on your site. These are the affiliate landing pages that you're pointing visitors to from your commercial pages.

If you presold the services of the particular company well enough, the visitor should be ready (or close to ready) to pull the trigger.

Make sure the information in the commercial content on your site matches the data on these landing pages. Even better, if you're able to match the content style / format / colors - it will make the experience even more seamless.
 

CCarter

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But the course also says not to target brand names
I'm not sure exactly why @CCarter said to pass them up

I didn't. I'm not sure where @Sutra got that I said that. The only section I can think of where he might have gotten confused is under the Navigational portion:

...​
The intent a user in this stage is to find something they BELIEVE exists already. This can be a brand, a specific website or domain, or a query that SHOULD return an entity that SHOULD exist (they may be confused on the actual end name). Company's brands terms are included in this, since users may simply do a search for your brand within search engines rather than inputting your domain directly into the address field.​
This also can be a waste of time if you are simply trying to rank for a brand's name in order to gain affiliate sales without adding value to the sale (looking at you lazy affiliates). Smart brands are catching on to this and now utilizing a first visit cookie (tagging a customer on the first initial visit) instead of a last visit cookie (giving credit to affiliate even though the visitor has already been on the site before). But if you can successfully rank underneath a brand or a competitor's presence that can give you "leaked" SERP traffic that you can use to sell customers on or convince would-be buyers of your competition to buy your brand instead (comparison charts work best for this).
...​
 

Sutra

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@Ryuzaki @stackcash That's incredibly helpful. Thank you!

@CCarter Ah ok. Thanks for clarifying. I misunderstood the guide to mean that while you can go after brand terms, you're unlikely to rank, and possibly piss off the companies you're an affiliate for, thus you shouldn't go for those terms.
 

Sutra

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@Ryuzaki @stackcash @CCarter

Let's say you find these keywords during research for Commercial terms:
  • best online tax attorneys
  • best tax attorneys over the phone
  • best online boat tax attorneys
  • best online mortgage tax attorneys
Let's also say that each of those terms each has their own related commercial terms and informational terms, i.e.:

"best online tax attorneys" has related keywords like: "online tax attorney experts", "questions to ask online tax attorneys", "how much to hire an online tax attorney", "online tax attorneys reviews", etc.

"best tax attorneys over the phone" has related keywords like: "most trusted tax attorneys over the phone", "reasons to hire tax attorneys over the phone ", "tax attorneys over the phone reviews".

"best online boat tax attorneys" has related keywords like: "online tax attorney experts boats", "are online tax attorneys for boats legit?", "online tax attorneys for boats reviews", etc.

"best online mortgage tax attorneys" has related keywords like: "online mortgage tax attorneys experts", "how to prepare to speak with online mortgage tax attorneys", "online mortgage tax attorneys review", etc.

From what I understand (please correct me if I'm wrong) each of those keywords in bold is commercial, however, even though they sound similar the intent behind each is different. i.e. Someone looking for an online tax attorney, specifically for boats, likely does not care about tax attorneys who specialize in mortgages. Someone who is interested in chatting with an attorney online likely does not want to speak to one on the phone (for whatever reason). And while "best online tax attorneys" isn't as specific as the other 3 terms, it's still specific enough that it's a valuable commercial keyword to go for.

My question:
  1. If you have strong competitors in the niche and you're jockeying for position with them, do you suggest creating 4 separate money pages, one for each of those bolded keywords, in order to keep it hyper focused? Or do you suggest creating a massive post that contains all of them? Or do something else all together?