In today’s digital age, SEO isn’t an optional marketing strategy. It’s essential. However, many business leaders don’t understand the key research components needed to run a successful SEO campaign. All too often, I see companies choose target keywords based on gut feeling without having conducted the proper research. This approach causes businesses to invest time and resources into ranking for a keyword that won’t impact their bottom line.
Instead of guessing what keywords will advance your marketing goals, choose target keywords based on robust research. Search intent and keyword research are vital to a successful SEO campaign. Keyword research provides insights into what questions, phrases and words your target audience is searching on Google. Search intent research takes these findings a step further and explores the main goal your customers have when they’re Googling a topic.
When companies use both keyword and search intent research as part of their SEO strategy, they’re more likely to hit their SEO marketing goals. However, it can be challenging to know how to implement your findings if this is your first time making the attempt. Here are five ways to use intent and keyword research to level up your SEO efforts.
1. Make a List of Relevant Topics
As with most things in life, getting started often feels like the hardest part. But with SEO, the initial step is pretty simple. When you begin the research process, create a list of topics related to your business. For example, if you operate a veterinary clinic, you may list “large pet health” and “small pet health” as two topic clusters.
Once you’ve established the topic clusters that are most important to your business, identify specific keywords that fall under each cluster. In the veterinary clinic example, specific keywords might include “vaccinations for dogs,” “nutrition for cats” and “yearly care for horses.”
2. Get Help From Keyword Research Tools
To get insights into which keywords your audience is searching for and which ones competitors rank for, you’ll need the help of SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs. These programs inform you of the monthly search volume of each word. The higher the monthly search volume, the more interested your audience is in the topic.
Keyword research can also highlight areas where your competitors are ranking that you aren’t, identifying gaps in your content strategy. However, keywords with a high monthly search volume are typically harder to rank for. So depending on your budget, it may be more beneficial to target a related keyword with fewer monthly searches.
3. Target Low-Hanging Fruit
Companies with sites that have a high domain authority have an easier time ranking for competitive keywords than companies with a lower domain authority. That’s why you’ll often see that larger organizations rank on page one of Google search for popular terms.
If you’re a smaller organization with a lower site authority, this can feel disheartening. However, there’s far less competition to rank for lower-volume search terms. Therefore, targeting relevant words and phrases with fewer monthly searches may increase your chances of making it to page one of Google search.
4. Determine the Search Intent for Your Keywords
Once you’ve chosen your target keywords, it’s important to identify how they relate to your users’ search intent. Search intent falls into four primary categories: informational, preferential, transactional and navigational.
Users searching informational terms are seeking general information about a subject. People looking up preferential terms are investigating brands and products. Users Googling transactional terms are ready to make a purchase, while people searching navigational terms want to be taken to a specific site. Understanding the user intent of a target keyword can help you identify the types of content you need to create in order to rank for that term.
5. Create Keyword-Optimized Onsite Content
High-growth companies include keyword-optimized onsite content as a cornerstone of their SEO strategy. By creating content that caters to their target audience’s search intent and organically includes target keywords, they can attract new customers by providing value. Examples of the types of content you may want to offer include engaging blog posts, in-depth articles, educational guides and informative white papers.
Entertaining, inspiring and educating your customers is the best way to keep them coming back to your site. However, there’s a ton of competition in the field of content marketing. If you want to stay relevant, it’s essential that you regularly create and distribute your content.
Creating an SEO Campaign That Converts Browsers Into Buyers
Digital marketing is a competitive landscape. It’s no longer enough to simply create content without a strategy or end goal in mind. Failing to prioritize SEO means your competition will always outrank you in Google search, winning the attention of your target audience. But by conducting keyword research and considering your audience’s search intent, you can create compelling resources that attract searchers and turn prospects into loyal customers.