Keyword research can be a confusing step in the SEO process. You want your content to appear on the top page of search engine results, but there are an infinite number of search engine results pages that you could rank for. Ranking for some pages will be more difficult than other, and let’s be honest, ranking for some keywords is outright impossible.
Once you collect the right data for keyword research, it’s time to assess a handful of keywords and narrow them down to a handful that are most effective for your search engine optimisation. Strategies for targeting keywords usually depend on a handful of different factors:
- How competitive is the keyword?
- What keywords are your competitors ranking for?
- How often is this keyword searched for?
Once you find the perfect combination of metrics, you might want to start writing content based on those keywords right away. Right?
Not so fast.
Consider keyword intent before you pick a list of targeted keywords. If you write content that doesn’t reflect the intentions of the people actually searching for your keywords, you won’t get users to convert past their initial clicks. Keyword intent creates a more comprehensive SEO strategy that brings users at each stage of the buyer’s journey to the right content.
What is Keyword Intent?
Each search has an intention, and not all of these intentions include making a purchase. Users conduct online searches at each stage of the buyer’s journey; on average, consumers interact with over 10 pieces of content before making a purchase. Not all of this content will be the same format or provide similar information.
When consumers click on content that doesn’t match their intentions, they won’t move farther along the buyer’s journey. Consumers simply looking for information, for example, don’t want to be sold to; they simply want information. When you can align your content with the information that customers are looking for, they will enjoy their experience and be more willing to provide contact information, revisit your website, or even make a purchase.
We can’t read the minds of every consumer who visits our website, but the structure of some long-tail keywords can give us clues about why a customer is searching in the first place.
There are a multitude of reasons why a consumer might be searching online, but most of these intentions fall under three different categories:
- Information-Based Searches
- Company-Based Searches
- Purchase-Based Searches
These categories directly match up with a different part of the buyer’s journey or sales funnel. Content creators can use these intentions to create more effective content for moving the user farther down their journey. Different types of content are also best for different types of search intentions. Keyword intent should be conducted early in the research process to ensure that each piece of content is created and distributed to align with the intention of each user.
At the initial stages of the buyer’s journey, users are just looking for information. They have a problem that needs solving. They may be searching with terms that they may be unfamiliar with and want to learn more about. Maybe there have been updates in the industry since the last time the users were looking for those search terms.
Information-based searches look like this:
“What are the different types of yoga?”
“how to remove termites from your home safely”
“Interior decoration trends 2018”
Clues about best information-based keywords can be pulled from buyer personas. What jobs do your customers hold? What problems do they face at work? At home? How much of a background do they have with your products and services? Your industry? What language do they use when they are making searches? Think about what types of information customers are looking for before they make any purchases.
At this stage of the buyer’s journey, you can provide valuable information that builds trust and establishes your business as an authority. This type of content can also help your business increase your domain authority (DA) score.
If you are looking to target information-based searches, it’s time to write some blog posts, white papers, and other information-heavy content. Answer the questions users are asking in formats that they want to read or consume. Make this content shareable to boost your rankings and communicate this information to similar consumers.
Once users have gathered the information they need about a problem, they have to narrow down their options. They know what products and services they are looking for (roughly,) but not as much about who provides these products and what makes each company different from another.
This is where company-based searches are really important. When a user searches specifically for your company, they are typically looking to learn more about you. Company-based searches may include your name, but they may also look like this:
- “[your company] vs [rival company]”
- “[your company] reviews”
- “Stores near me”
- “Cheapest yoga studios in Collingwood”
Even if they don’t mention your name specifically, they are looking to learn more about you and your competitors. When you conduct research on keywords related to your company, ask yourself the following questions:
- What products or services bring customers to your website?
- What marketing materials do you have to describe your company?
- What values separate your company from your competitors?
This is often an overlooked intention. Your company name and other related keywords may already rank highly, or the conversions that come after company-based searches may not be as easy to measure or follow. But take some time to make sure the right information is easy to find for customers as they search to learn more about your company.
Content that appeals to company-based searches will tell your consumers more about you. Product demonstrations and testimonials, for example, will give users the experience of purchasing and using your products before they actually commit. A landing page can integrate these types of content and an effective CTA button that brings the buyer further along in the journey. If consumers like what they see at this stage, they are probably ready to make the plunge.
These searches are made in the middle stages of the buyer’s journey before the customer has made their first purchase. The customer has a specific intent to make a purchase.
A purchase-based search may be as simple as “basketball shoes for men” or something less obvious: “discount codes for rock climbing gyms.”
Ecommerce businesses should pay special attention to purchase-based searches. If you sell specific products, your customers may not be familiar with your brand before they make these purchase-based searches. Ask yourself:
- What keywords are your customers using to search for products that you provide?
- What colours, sizes, types of products, etc. are most popular or important to include?
- What features are high priorities for your users? Low priority? Do these priorities change during the year?
Once you’ve collected a handful of purchase-based keywords for your products, ensure that the content that ranks for theses keywords provide a streamlined journey from SERPs to making a purchase. If you are creating a campaign on Google Shopping, for example, make sure your ads are optimised to purchase-based keywords and the featured products are easy to purchase. When customers have to take too many steps between searching and purchasing, they will abandon their carts and search for an easier method.
If this is the first time consumers are interacting with your products, you will have to establish yourself as different (or better) than competitors who will appear next to your products. What offers can you advertise on your Google Shopping ads to draw consumers’ eyes to your products? What copy are you given to distinguish yourself as the best source? What reviews or other SERP feature opportunities (reviews, tweets, local packs, etc.) can you put your products on?
All of these questions require further research, including qualitative research that requires reaching out to your customers through surveys or focus groups. In the end, this research will help you speak directly to users in their language and show them the features of your company that will boost conversions.
Build Thorough Keyword Strategies With Digital Squad, a top digital marketing agency Hong Kong
Give your keyword research to an SEO agency that understands and can forge the connection between buyer personas and the content that will encourage them to click. The expert team at Digital Squad doesn’t just conduct keyword research based on general queries; we also look at each step of the buyer’s journey and guide users through the process of becoming leads, customers, and loyal supporters. Creating buyer personas and conducting keyword research are two essential elements to our SEO services.
Once we get an idea of how consumers in your industry interact with your products, we put a strategy in place. Our team has spent thousands of hours researching the Google algorithm; we organise and distribute your content to boost your keyword rankings so the right consumers see the right content.
Learn more about how Digital Squad creates SEO strategies that put the right marketing materials in front of the right users as they search. Whether it be remarketing, SEO services Hong Kong, AdWords marketing Hong Kong or even Facebook marketing Hong Kong, we are here to help you. Our efforts extend far beyond Facebook marketing but also other social media marketing Hong Kong. Whether that’s YouTube advertising, Instagram marketing or other marketing automation efforts.
Megan Okonsky is a copywriter and content marketing specialist with Digital Squad. She is originally from Philadelphia but has landed in Melbourne after traveling for eight months in Southeast Asia and New Zealand. She also teaches vinyasa yoga online.