We all love keywords. Google loves ‘em, your customers love ‘em. You love them.
But the way keywords work has changed. As well as optimizing your content with the right keywords, you now need to understand the user intent behind the keywords your customers are using.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at exactly what searcher intent is, as well as how you implement it in your SEO strategy.
Each time someone types something into Google, they have a specific intent behind their query.
For example, if I were to search for “What is digital marketing?”, I’m displaying an informational search intent. Ergo, I’m looking for information. I want to know what digital marketing is.
Understanding the intent behind keyword phrases used by your customers will not only help you to pick the right keywords more often; it will also help you create better content that converts more leads.
There are, generally speaking, two main types of user intent:
Many of your customers are seeking information. They’re currently at the top, or the middle of the sales funnel — the awareness and evaluation stages — and they need more information on your products and brand before they’re in the mood to buy.
Think about the times you’ve used Google. Most of the time you’re looking for information. You won’t purchase fa particular brand unless you know more about them.
As already mentioned, informational intent keywords often start with “how to,” or “what is.”
If I run an SEO company, some of the informational intent keywords my customers will be using will include “how to find long tail keywords,” and “what is SEO?”
To implement informational intent keywords, you just need to optimize your content with them — as well as create content around them. For example, I could create an entire piece of content around the keyword “how to get started with SEO.”
To then optimize this page, I would then need to add my main long tail keyword — how to get started with SEO — to my page title, my headers, and my meta description.
A good rule of thumb is to include your main informational intent keyword in your headline, as well as in the first line of text in your body copy.
How To Get Started With SEO (headline)
Getting started with SEO is something many of us dread (first line of copy)
Essentially, it’s all about finding the questions your customers are asking, before answering them with in-depth, valuable content that builds trust and confidence in you and your business. To this end, you’ll need to create a strong content marketing strategy.
Naturally, you might not always know what questions your customers are asking. To make things worse, some users don’t make their intent clear. For example, they’ll type “SEO” into Google. What are they looking for?
To help you find more informational intent keywords that are specific to your customers, you have a few options:
When creating the content itself, don’t stop with blog posts. Create how-to YouTube videos and optimize them, too.
There is one major problem with informational intent keywords, however, and it’s this: They won’t always lead to a sale. While commercial intent keywords are high value, informational intent keywords are targeting users who still need to be ‘warmed up.’ And while you can warm your prospects up via engaging and educational content that goes some way to positioning you as the expert in your niche, you might find that they still head to one of your competitors to buy the product. Not cool.
To that end, it’s really important that you use a lead magnet to at least capture your leads’ details. This could be a free eBook or a checklist or even a coupon. Whatever it is, it needs to be something that your target audience finds super valuable.
Once you’ve captured their details, you can then email them more information about your brand and your product that inches them closer to a purchase.
Because the ultimate goal of SEO is to convert leads and boost sales, you need to nail your commercial intent keywords. These keywords have high shopping intent, and they sit at the bottom of your sales funnel — in other words, the purchase stage, where prospects are ready to buy.
The trick is to use commercial intent keywords to show the prospect how they can convert — and why they should convert.
There are two types of commercial intent keywords:
“Buy Now” Keywords
Buy now keywords include words and phrases like “free shipping,” “coupons,” “deals,” “discounts,” “limited time,” and “buy.” The prospect has already made their decision (they want to make a purchase), and it’s now your job to clinch the sale via copy that pushes emotional buttons.
You need to optimize your call to action. As well as using some of the keyword phrases and words above, your CTA must be clear, compelling and it needs to tell the user exactly what they need to do. Give the reader a sense of ownership by writing something along the lines of “claim YOUR free eBook today.” Employ the principle of scarcity, too.
It’s important that you nail your meta description as well. Because meta description is key to stronger click-through rates, you should include your call to action for your product pages. This is a signal that uses commercial intent keywords — such as “buy now” — to persuade the buyer to click, come along and make a purchase.
As well as having a clear and compelling call to action and meta description, your website needs to be cleanly designed. Keep your message concise and direct, and complement your body copy with enticing visuals so that the user journey from your headline to your CTA is seamless.
Product keywords are just as valuable but you’ll be using them to target a different lead. While leads who are using “buy now” keywords are ready to make a purchase, leads who are typing product keywords into Google might still be in the browsing stage.
Here are some examples of product keywords:
Not all of these keywords will be as valuable as each other — it just depends on the type of business you run. Product-specific keywords can be super competitive, but they can convert well. And while “review” and “comparison” keywords might not generate as many sales as quickly, you just need to optimise your product pages in such a way that you grab more conversions.
All commercial keywords are high-value because the lead is edging closer to making a purchase. With “comparison” keywords, you will need to create content that helps the buyer make up their mind and complete their goal. For example, you could create content that compares two products or services with one another.
Whatever commercial keyword you target, whether it be a “buy now” or a product keyword, you need to understand the action you want someone to take. Then, you need to create optimized content that convinces them to take that action.
Google, SEO, and keywords are all evolving. Fortunately, user intent isn’t something that’s too difficult to get to grips with. Once learned, you’ll understand your audience more, and you’ll be able to drive more traffic and increase sales. Use the tips in this article to get ahead of your rivals, execute and keep monitoring your efforts.