Match SEO Keywords to User Intent

Written by Nick Stamoulis

When doing the keyword research for your site, it’s tempting to simply choose the ones that get the most searches and leave out the rest. Though this is the general idea, there has to be a little more thought that goes into it. Factoring in user intent while assembling your keyword list will not only give you the search engine traffic you desire, but also it will please your site visitors.

Don’t Fall Into Old SEO Traps

There was a time when ranking for a general keyword was considered the gold standard for SEO related keyword lists. These keywords were able to generate a lot of visitors to your site. People quickly learned, however, that many of these visitors clicked away immediately when they realized your content didn’t quite deliver the information they needed.

Don’t let this happen to you! By carefully analyzing what people expect when they visit your site, you can come up with a keyword list that not only generates traffic, but that also can be built into content that will please them. Each search completed online has a specific intent behind it. Here are some strategies that will help you build a winning keyword list based on user intent:

Understand the Types of Online Search

Match Keywords to User IntentSince users have gotten more experienced with the Internet, so have the nature of their searches. That is one big reason why focusing on generic search phrases is not a great long-term strategy for your business.

Most experts agree that each search someone undergoes online can be grouped into one of three categories: navigational (arriving at your site for the first time), informational (visiting your site to gather information), and transactional (responding to a call to action or buying something).

Each keyword in your user intent based list should fall into at least one of these categories. In fact, an effective list will have a mix of each of these search types.

Use High Value Long Tail Keywords

Targeting high value, long tail keywords based on user intent will increase the usability of your site as a whole. Since general keywords are broad in scope, site visitors will often feel disappointed by the content that is centered on these keywords. Long tail keywords, on the other hand, stand a greater chance of giving your site visitor what he wants.

Focus On What Your Company Does

One thing you need to do early on in the keyword-gathering process is list everything that your company does so that you can determine how people will potentially find you online. Ultimately, you’re looking to define any niche markets that your brand is a part of. Then, when you research your keywords, you can target these specific niche areas. The goal is to target visitors who are looking for the services that your company provides.

Keywords and the Customer Life Cycle

Another essential strategy you can use while creating your site’s keyword list is to keep in mind the customer life cycle and provide them with content that guides them through each of the stages. Most websites focus only on the “buying” stage of the cycle, which is towards the end of the process. By finding keywords that focus on each stage, you will attract people whom you can guide through each of the stages via your site’s content.

These strategies can help you arrive at a keyword list that will satisfy your site visitors’ needs.

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