For the past 10 years, the way digital marketers create an SEO strategy for their websites has significantly changed – especially in the aspect of keyword research and targeting.
Gone were the days where an SEO plan only includes short and generic keywords like “SEO services” or “Digital Marketing Consultant” that cover all the nuances of topics and interest that the users seek. Today, search engines focus less on keyword densities when delivering results, and more on the quality and relevance of a particular content with respect to User Intent.
The world’s most popular search engine, Google is considered the first search engine that has sought to improve their search accuracy by understanding user’s intent – hence the concept of semantic search. By using concept matching, synonyms, and natural language synonyms, search engines can basically provide results that are extremely relevant and accurate to the searcher’s intention.
With semantic search now the norm, it is now crucial for any digital marketer to take into consideration the user intent in all their SEO activities and content creation efforts in order to ensure the success of their campaign.
Read on as we discuss how understanding user intent can impact the effectiveness of your SEO campaign.
What is User Intent?
User intent, in the context of SEO, basically means the purpose of the person when searching for a particular topic or interest on a search engine.
There are basically five types of user intent:
- Know – Understand a certain topic, product, or service.
- Do – Execute a certain activity online.
- Buy – Purchase a product or service.
- Web – Visit a webpage or website.
- Local – Visit a local establishment.
For instance, a searcher who may want to learn more about the specifications of a product is most likely to have a Know intent, while a searcher who is prepared to make a purchase decision is most likely to have a Buy intent.
How User Intent Impacts Your SEO Campaign?
Incorporating user intent when targeting for the right topics you want your website to rank for, can enhance the overall effectiveness and success of your SEO campaign in many ways, including the following:
1. User Intent Tells Your Most Important Pages You Should Optimize
By understanding user intent, you will be able to determine the information your target audience is looking for, and then identify the pages on your website where this information are located.
One of the best ways to know your user intent is to use a keywords analytics tool such as Google Analytics where you can see the keywords your audience are using to find your website.
Using this tool, you can search for elements of user intent from all the keywords where your website is currently ranking, see the pages in your website that fits that intent, and then optimize them to better match the want and need of your target users.
2. User Intent Captures Long-Tail Keyword Searchers
As said earlier, keyword strategies these days no longer revolve around exact-match keywords, but rather on broad topics that center around the intent of the business’ target audience. This enables digital marketers to focus on high-value long-tail, high-intent keywords, which according to many studies, can attract visitors even more than average length keywords.
Not only long-tail keywords are intent-driven, but they are also more business-specific which means it doesn’t take as much effort to rank well for these type of keywords. And compared to exact-match keywords, long tail keywords consider synonyms and alternative wordings, which provides you with more flexibility when writing content.
3. User Intent Helps Create More Personalized Content
Gaining an in-depth understanding of your user intent can helpyou craft more personalized content, which is a crucial element of any effective SEO campaign. Personalized content, i.e. content that is highly relevant and specific to the user’s preference, need, and want is crucial to succeeding in digital marketing.
In fact, the Harvard Business Review reported that individual customer stakeholders who perceived supplier content to be tailored to their specific needs were 40% more willing to buy from that supplier than stakeholders who didn’t. This is in line with another study which found that 74% of customers feel frustrated when a website’s content is not personized.
By leveraging your understanding of the nuances of your target audience’ intent, you can create content that is even more appealing to them, and that truly addresses their unique preferences and needs.
4. User Intent Provides a Clearer Picture of Your Audience Geodemographics
Businesses utilizing a local SEO strategy to find and attract leads in the local market can actually use user intent to streamline their buyer persona profile. Often, people use location-based keywords to find businesses within the vicinity, and these keywords can provide you with a clear indication of where your potential customers reside and what they seek.
For example, “affordable consulting service for small retail in Sydney” is a clear signal of user intent that is tagged with a location. With this type of information, you can better optimize your website, content, and product offerings based on this particular geodemographic insight.
5. User Intent Helps Optimize Landing Pages
Last but not the least, user intent can help create better landing pages that increase conversions. This is because one of the key characteristics of an effective landing page is that it only answers a single question or solves a particular problem of the user – which is often conveyed on the high-intent queries they use when searching for your business.
Let us use our earlier example of the user searching for “affordable small retail business consulting in Sydney.” If you’re business consulting company specializing in small retailers in Sydney, you might simply include that high-intent keyword phrase in your landing page copy. However, if truly you want to make a user intent-based landing page that converts, you should craft a copy that specifically highlights how your consulting services are investment-worthy and affordable enough for small retailers.
Understanding and incorporating user intent in your SEO efforts is hitting two birds with one stone: it increases your website’s ranking competitiveness by making it more relevant to its intended users, and at the same time it enhances your reputation as a source of useful and reliable content as well.
By achieving these, you are basically meeting the expectations of search engines from websites, that is to provide quality online experience to users – which is a vital ingredient if you want your business to succeed in the search engine landscape these days.
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