Your Guide to User-Intent Keyword Planning
Google Searches are Far From Perfect
If you’ve ever done a search on Google you probably found your search results missed the mark. If you type in “pet food” thinking you’d get results that included the top name brands in budgie seed, you’ll be disappointed.
Google didn’t get your meaning. And really, you didn’t think to type in “budgie seed.” You simply forgot. Understanding the intent of a searcher is the new holy grail of SEO.
Today we’re looking at an important issue for SEO, content strategy and sales conversion. If you’re not getting top rankings or visitors that convert, it could be you’re not targeting the right keyword phrases — the ones people actually use.
What is this thing about Relevance Anyway?
There’s two issues to consider in keyword planning: (1) the content Google considers relevant and high quality, and (2) what users actually want when they search.
SEO pros aren’t mind readers so it’s difficult to know what the searcher’s intent when they search. We need a process to find them.
For instance, if the searcher has typed in “cloud hosting,” their end goal could be many things: low cost cloud hosting for their blog, or they want to know more about the cloud, or they could actually be more concerned with the tech help that’s available for their enterprise level hosting. Google doesn’t know either, so they present a variety of results that may solve the user’s query.
The organic and AdWords ppc search results target a variety of consumers as you can see in Figure 1 below.
Know the Searcher’s Purpose
People search for three reasons:
- Navigation (to find a particular site, brand or page)
- Information (to get more insight into a product/service)
- Transaction (to purchase or acquire something)
You’ll want to choose keywords relevant to these 3 purposes. And you’ll want to design your content and landing pages to interest each specific user. Whatever keywords you choose, they should appear in the title of your search listing (as in Figure 2 below), the URL, and in the text description part as in this example below:
Choosing the Right Keywords
Finding the right keywords that a qualified customer would choose to use, is done by:
- Studying customer personas or profiles
- Interviewing customers
- Using keyword suggestion tools
- Noting the ppc bid price (high price means your competitors really value that phrase)
- Studying Google searches to see which words show in the results page
- Studying your web analytics and Google Webmaster reports of which pages people visited and which keyword phrases they used
- Reviewing sales reports to see what people put in a shopping cart or purchased
- Seeing what people downloaded (whitepapers, reports, etc.)
- Studying your top competitors pages for keywords, related words, synonyms
- Checking social media pages to see what people are talking about or having issues with
Which Keyword Phrases Will Convert?
Keyword phrases can vary from 1 to 6 or more words in length. 1 or 2 keyword searches are broad in meaning whereas multi-keyword phrases are much more specific. The latter is considered more likely to convert, but not always.
The best keywords to target may be the transactional phrases, (buy iPhone Toronto) which means the consumer is almost ready to buy. They’ve done their research and know what they want. These customers are hotly pursued so expect these keywords to be very competitive.
After you’ve found the exact right keywords to attract your targeted Google searcher, you’ll need to develop content on your site to help with your Google rankings. Consider all this content to be “touchpoints” for your visiting prospects.
Within your content you’ll want to use these keywords (i.e., buy iPhone Toronto) and you’ll need supplemental content on topics associated with iPhones and Toronto. And, you’ll need a Google local business listing leading to a page keyword targeted for Toronto, cellular or smartphones. You should have supplemental content on Apple products including the iPhone. Google will scan your site to see if you have relevant content on these keyword themes.
This is called semantics, and it all helps to tell Google that your site is very relevant.
Know Your Customer Intimately
To improve your keyword targeting, you need to know your customers, products, and value proposition well. Then prepare keyword relevant content designed for why they’re searching. This type of copywriting attracts the right prospects and helps move them through your conversion funnel to become a customer.
On the web, you’ll read advice about writing for user intent without regard for keyword usage. That, in our opinion is not wise. Google’s ranking algorithm looks for keywords, related words, synonyms, and stemmed variations to help understand and rank a page.
And now you know that certain keywords help attract and convert customers. Use them wisely and watch your site’s rankings and performance improve.