Keyword research has always played an important part in a well-rounded SEO strategy, but the ideal methods by which keyword research should be carried out depend on several factors. First, the way you incorporate keywords in your SEO strategy should be aligned with recommended Google practices and you shouldn’t attempt a spammy or outdated approach because that carries the risk of a penalty. And second, when drafting your initial SEO analysis and discussing future plans, you should consider the importance of audience interest and search intent. Not that long ago, keyword research meant looking up the most competitive keywords and pushing them into your website content and offsite content. Today, optimizing your website and/or offsite content based on search volume is still needed, but this is just one cog in what should be a smooth SEO machine. To make sure you get your money’s worth and don’t optimize in a meaningless way, you also need to consider commercial intent to improve your conversion rate.
But first, what is search intent?
Search intent optimization is a relatively new term, but many experts think is the future of SEO. It basically means that instead of focusing on volume and traffic when choosing your keywords, you should instead focus on why a user makes a certain search and create content that addresses that intent. This way, the user remains interested, spends more time on your website and is, therefore, likelier to convert into a paying customer. In SEO online marketing, we can see four main categories of search intent:
- Informational: the user searches something for informational purposes, to clarify a term or learn how something works. This intent is marked by terms such as “how to…”, “ways to” or “guide”.
- Commercial: the user searches something because they are ready to make a purchase. These searches are marked by terms like “buy”, “prices”, “discount”, “sales” or “deals”.
- Product terms: when searching for a product type, the user doesn’t yet want to purchase it and is just browsing through options. These searches include the product name + terms like “review”, “top 10” or “best”.
- Brand terms: when making the search, the user is already familiar with your brand. Brand searches have the highest conversion rate, but their main downside is that they’re only done once you’ve achieved a certain level of popularity in your niche.
How to use search intent in your keyword search strategy?
Now that you know what search intent is and why it matters, here’s how any good digital marketing agency would recommend using it for your keyword research strategy:
Create an initial list of keyword ideas
Start by sitting down with your marketing team, or an SEO company, and think of the keywords that your audience might use when searching for products and services you offer. This is the initial “seed list” that you will then polish and expand based on actual data. Use an SEO analysis tool and the data from Google Webmaster to find out what combination of terms bring more people to your website. This will give you some insight into your audience’s intent. Then, insert some of the keywords you found there into a tool that helps you get extra suggestions. There’s no need to insert every keyword or use all the suggested ones, but you won’t risk missing any good options. As the last step, you could look at what the competition is using. SEO online marketing companies in Lebanon do not recommend copying their keywords exactly, but rather using them as a source of inspiration.
Some businesses use competitor terms in their SEO strategy, but this is something that doesn’t work as well as it used to, and should only be used sparingly. Other strategies that only provide marginal conversions include:
- Substitute product terms: terms that are alternatives to your product. For example, if you sell desktop PCs, you could consider bidding on laptop keywords.
- Complementary product terms: these are products that are frequently bought together with your products. For example, if you sell desktop PCs, you could consider bidding on peripherals too.
Again, these are strategies that SEO marketing companies recommend only after you’ve made the most of the other categories and you want some extra conversions. As a general rule, your main keywords should match your niche as accurately as possible.
Optimize your content to reflect user intent
Once your list of keywords is complete, it’s time to take action. Work with an SEO online marketing company incorporate the terms as naturally as possible on your homepage, landing pages and product pages. Don’t forget about your blog posts either. Many business owners focus heavily on commercial keywords and forget that the informational user intent is important as well, especially if your offer a specialized product or service that not many understand. For example, if you’re a CRM developer, terms like “CRM prices”, “CRM offer codes” or “CRM comparison” are great, but what about the users who would buy online CRM, but don’t exactly what it is? Optimizing your blog posts with keywords such as “what is CRM” or “CRM benefits” would take people who want to learn more on this subject to your website and then they could convert into paying customers. A good rule of thumb is to try and cover all types of user intent as much as possible.
Once your content is fully optimized and your PPC campaigns are up and running, make sure you come back regularly analyze the progress of your SEO marketing strategy. Look at your analytics to find out which of your terms convert best and adjust if necessary. Last, but not least, don’t panic if you don’t get fantastic results from the first try. In many cases, keyword research is a process of trial and error and even an SEO expert may need a few months to determine the perfect keywords and their ration. In search engine optimization, patience is the best approach and it can take months for the first results to appear.