Most companies or individuals that develop a ‘search engine strategy’ to rank well in search engine results focus on keywords.
They choose terms they see as important to themselves; their industry, sectors, features, benefits, and products. Although this approach is fine for any company on day one, this strategy rarely works for good rankings in the long term, your customer really doesn’t know industry-specific terminology or product names.
To target potential customers we have to think beyond the keywords themselves and focus on your site’s content, this must be optimised to improve the customer’s journey to reach your website. To do this we do not focus on random keywords we need to identify the intent of the customer when they search, to identify targeted keywords and site content based on that intent rather than guessing the best way to rank well.
Amazingly for all the complexity that is hidden behind a modern search engine, the intent of the user of the search engine can be split into just three categories. By understanding these categories we can choose keywords and information that meets the potential customer’s needs rather than our own:
- Navigation-Based Searches
Navigation or location searches are the most simple search type to understand as they are based on a customer looking for a product or service within a defined geographical area e.g. “Web Designers in Beaconsfield”. This kind of search is great for a small business that is looking for local customers, the example search term has told us a key fact about the customer – the location they are interested in.
- Information-Based Searches
Information searches are based on a customer need for information on a subject. Usually focused on a new subject the customer will ‘learn’ about this subject using the search engine as a research tool. Although not as obvious as a navigation or transaction search, information searches can be very powerful when used with a website focused on providing factual information. This strategy aims to ‘catch’ the potential customer as they are researching a subject and draw them into using your product or service to solve their problem, this is an excellent strategy for consultants or authors in a particular field.
- Transaction-Based Searches
Transaction searches are based on a customer who is looking to purchase a product or give their email address to ‘sign-up’ for a service, they have targeted a product or service that they want and are using the search engine as a price comparison and availability tool. Transaction searches are a good focal point for e-commerce customers looking to offer their products to the widest audience, also membership and educational services can benefit from this kind of customer if they are interested.
When choosing the keywords and site content for a new search engine optimisation strategy first choose your customers intent from the list above. Your customer may have more than one of the three motivations when searching, but try to focus on one of the three to improve your keyword focus.
Try to map out in your mind the journey the customer would take to find you through a search engine:
- a quick navigation search based on a specific location.
- a more in-depth information based search which would benefit from pages that offer information or help to the visitor on their chosen subject.
- or a transaction based search which would benefit from a ‘free trial’ of your service or a more detailed product description and better quality product photographs.
By focusing on your customers intent you can optimise your sites pages, products and keywords to improve your chances of ranking based on fact rather than guesswork.
Two Plus Two is a web design company based in Beaconsfield, we specialise in web design and search engine optimisation. We offer a free 1-hour consultation on web design and search engine optimisation for any new project you may require, call us today on 01494 730000 to arrange a booking.