Understanding User Search Patterns for Effective SEO

Written by Nick Stamoulis

SearchingEvery SEO strategy begins with keyword research and in many ways, information gathered during the research phase will set the tone for the entire campaign. Every good keyword list will incorporate hard data gathered from keyword and analytical tools with manual tactics, such as creating lists of relevant topics that will be used as a springboard to begin researching the keywords in the first place.

Further along in the process of gathering keywords, however, is where the real information is gathered. Traditional keyword lists are often deficient in providing data that will help determine user search patterns. Lists are always centered on an initial search phrase, and then only give you a glimpse of people arrive at their information online. In order to come up with a complete list of worthwhile keywords, you really need to understand the behavioral patterns of your target market while they’re searching for information online. That way, your keyword list can be as comprehensive as possible.

Searches are Performed By People!

While formulating your keyword list, you can start by thinking about how you personally gather information online. For example, if you’re having a technical difficulty while trying to install software, you’ll enter a much different string of keywords than if you were looking to buy that software online. At the same time, your keyword searches will also be different if you had several software programs in mind and you were trying to figure out which ones you’d like to purchase. When putting together your keyword lists for your campaigns, it helps to remember that real people are behind the searches, and every time they look for information, they’re motivations may differ. Not only that, but they have expectations that they keywords they choose will deliver the information they expect.

Satisfy Audience Expectations

There are two basic types of searches that people perform once they decide why they need to make the search query in the first place. On any given search, a user could either search for keyword fragments or search in compete sentences. Which one will they choose? Well, it all depends on their motivation. If they want to perform the search quickly, they may choose to search in fragments and incomplete sentences. The results that are delivered may be incomplete, however, and may cause the user to find specific search queries for the next round. Some people, however, search at this level from the beginning. They’re focused on depth because they’ll make their search string as specific as possible. A good keyword strategy will include both types of keywords so that both types of users are satisfied.

It is for this reason that keyword searches can be used for market research. By understanding user search patterns, you can get a clear picture of how they may arrive at your site. Once there, you can use your content to help turn them into leads and sales. However, the keyword list is an important element of content creation.

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