This screams ‘technical’ and ‘really fucking hard’. Not so, at least, not the way I’m going to show you.
You understand keywords – those tasty terms that get you found on the interwebs. You’ve probably made some piss-poor attempt to ‘research’ your industry keywords in the vain hope you’ll be found.
But what is customer intent?
Be prepared to read the word ‘intent’ for some time yet. And I’m actively against keyword cramming. I’m such an arse.Also, when I hear the word ‘intent’ I always think, ‘intent to harm’ or something similar. My mind always ends up thinking of violence.
Intent (how many times is that already?) is something we all have when we’re typing terms into Google. As users, we’re falling into one of these three categories:
1. Navigational: looking for a specific website
2. Informational: looking for knowledge on a subject
3. Transactional: Looking to buy a product or service
That’s all well and good but what has it got to do with keywords? Well, if you just hold your bloody horses, I’ll tell you!
You’re not a mind reader (unless you are, if so, this probably won’t be of any benefit to you) so how are you going to know the intent of your potentials? But before we get to that, I’m going to take you on a journey…
The customer journey
These segues are so smooth, right? They glide in like Torvill and Dean.
Hold up. Don’t roll your eyes at me. I know there are decidedly too many marketing jargony phrases in this post but what the hell am I suppose to do? Invent some new ones? That will do absolutely no bloody good for my SEO.
When a customer comes to buy something from you, they’re guided through your process. They’re taking a little trip from start to finish through your business journey. But all that comes AFTER they make the decision to contact you.
Before they ‘reach out’, ‘touch base’, ‘check in’, they’re moving through another customer journey (how exhausting):
Awareness: finding the right brands
Consideration: tentatively looking at the choices
Active evaluation: choosing the one they want
Purchase decision: acting on their final choice
And once they make their choice (depending on how well you did) they’ll go on to these stages:
Experience: they’ll be spreading the good word
Loyalty: they’ll come back for more
On a side note: you should probably map out your customer journey. It’s brimming with insight into how well you’re servicing your clients
That sounds sexual. You might be sexually servicing your customers, and that’s between you, your client, and the good lord.
Where do keywords come in?
Well, you’ll find better keywords once you understand different search queries.
Google a keyword you already target and take a look at the results. For example, when I google ‘content writer‘ most pages are explaining how to be a content writer. That keyword yields mostly informational results. So the user intent is to seek knowledge on that subject.
Well, my mind was blown. I was so excited by this but then I am very easily pleased.
Your job is to figure out the user intent of your keywords. That’s gonna take some time but yeah, that’s SEO, bitches.
Your keyword choices feed into the customer journey. Each stage will influence what terms and phrases you want to target:
Consideration: broad keywords
Active evaluation: specific keywords
Purchase decision: very specific phrases
Is your content matching the query type?
The great thing about the internet is that you have prospects already wanting your product or service. You need to figure out how to get all up in their grill, so to speak. If you’re struggling to convert visitors to your site, it could be that your content isn’t geared towards the people actively wanting to buy.
Get back to basics.
Think about why you’re doing all this keyword research. How does it marry with who you are as a business, and what words and phrases (long-tail keywords) are directly linked to your offering?
If your broad keyword yields mostly informational search results, provide a great, value-packed blog on the subject. Tailor the content to helping the user out. Take a look at my post write an SEO friendly blog people yearn to readfor more info.
My blog is dedicated to helping business owners with SEO content writing tips. It showcases my knowledge and that makes people think:
“She seems to know a bit about this SEO content writing lark. That makes me trust her, so much so, I want to hire her to write my content.”
However, if you want more direct conversions, you’ll need to find the long-tail keywords that fall into transactional intent. Remember, very specific phrases attract people who are ready to buy. You want to team up your keywords with words like, ‘hire’, ‘book’, ’employ’, ‘buy’, ‘discount’, ‘money off’, ‘free shipping’ and many more besides.
(But don’t just throw those about, they have to be relevant. Don’t pop in ‘free shipping’ if that isn’t what you offer!)
Revise your content and meta tags
After you’ve done all that hard graft on keywords, use them to create targeted content. But you know what I’m a-gonna say, don’t pack them in like Showaddywaddy does their genitals into gaudy coloured trousers:
Make the right choice when it comes to your meta tags and descriptions. Again, what do you want the user to do when they happen upon your page snippets in the search results? If it’s a static website page, you’ll probably be selling something (transactional intent). If it’s a blog post page, you’re probably helping (informational intent). But figure it out, yeah!
If you yearn for data-driven knowledge, if you want to get into the meat and spuds of your buying intent, go and ‘deep dive’ into your sites Google Analytics, and use tools like SEMRUSH to help. For more detail on how to do that, check out this brilliant post by Neil Patel.
For those, a little in the dark, let’s start with the basics.
What are long-tail keywords (LTKs)?
LTKs are detailed words and phrases that describe exactly what you offer.
The organic trafficyou get from them is less but it’s the right kind of traffic. If you’ve spent loads of time focusing on general (broad) competitive keywords, chances are, they’ll yield next to no traffic.
Just think how many people are targeting the same words. Unless you’ve spent a fuck-ton on ads, or happen to be one of the first ‘graphic designers’ or ‘photographers’ to grab a website, you won’t make the second page of Google, let alone the first.
This is why I bang on about having a niche within your industry. It will help you get the traffic you want and that means the clients you want. But the niche can be anything, it doesn’t have to be related to your industry.
Take me for example. I’m offering a certain kind of content for a certain kind of business. I’m attracting a personality type I want to work with, I couldn’t care less what they do.
LTKs and your unique selling proposition (USP)
In normal English, your USP is the thing that makes you different from all the other businesses in your industry.
Perhaps you don’t do anything wildly different, so maybe think about this – why should people choose you over a competitor?
USPs and big brands.
Large organisations will often have a USP that will become their company slogan. And they’re nearly always short and memorable:
You might think that’s a rubbish slogan but as USPs go, it’s pretty good. Some business slogans are just that, I dunno why, I’m not a brand/marketing/advertising guru but for example, McDonald’s and their “I’m lovin’ it” is utterly useless as a USP.
Do you need a unique selling proposition?
If you’re like everyone else in your industry, what’s the point of your existence?
Listen, maybe you haven’t given it much thought. If you’re a freelancer, this kind of thing is often something you don’t involve yourself with. Hell, you might only have just realised what it means because of this helpful post. The truth is, you probably already have one, you just never bothered to write it down.
Ask yourself these questions:
What do I do?
Who is it for?
How does it benefit my audience?
What’s differnt about it?
Your USP leads to your LTKs
You’ll end up with a tasty little paragraph from those answers. And what you’ve done there, is not only start to figure out your USP but you’ve begun to build some detailed keyword phrases.
Isn’t that exciting? Yes, it’s more exciting than the most exciting thing that happened on the 12th of exciting, in the year – exciting
Build a USP phrase
And the LTKs will write themselves.
Well, they won’t, you’ll have to write them. For example, my business USP (content with more bite) tells you that I create content that has a bit of a kick.
Let your unique thingy guide your content writing. It will soon become really clear to your prospects what you do for them. It will also help you decide what you actually want to offer and maybe get rid of stuff you really fucking hate.
Research your LTKs
I’m going to continue to use myself as an example. It allows me to add keywords and phrases relevant to my industry – what a sneaky bastard I am.
My business name and USP work well together – The Sarky Type, content with more bite. And, it nearly rhymes. With my USP in mind, I start to think about the kinds of things ideal clients are going to be searching for so that they find me.
Here are a few examples:
‘SEO business blogger UK’
‘Witty SEO content writer’
‘Sarky business blogger Oxford’
‘Funny SEO content writer UK’
‘Funny business copywriter’
Using your location will help get you seen by the people in your area, especially if what you offer is only available regionally. When you develop your LTKs you’ll get found by the prospects you crave and all those looking for a broad-brush, in terms of your industry will leave you alone. And once you have those LTKs, add them to your meta titles and descriptions, page content, and image titles.
Create your own USP phrase or slogan and if you can’t define what you do in a single line, hire me to do it. Even if you reduced your offering to a couple of sentences, you still have the basis to build your LTKs. And that’s a pretty impressive start.
And remember, SEO is for life, not just Whit Sunday (or any other Christian festival).