SEO has long been based on keywords to guide the creation of content, define the structure of URLs and the tactics anchor texts. But the Google Penguin and Panda updates helped bring about a dramatic shift in SEO strategies and tactics. The way to exploit the keywords must also be adapted. That is, precisely aligned with the user’s need. Explanations.
Optimize keywords is corny?
For a long time, search engines have stammered, and users are foraging before Google introduces keywords as a search method. As a result, search algorithms have been taken out of the bottle, and researcher-gatherer behavior has become increasingly sophisticated, accurate, and varied. So, all those who wanted to improve their visibility were trying to optimize the keywords to appear in Google. But now most people:
- Know how to “Googling” (yes, that’s a verb since 2006).
- Understand where to click in the results.
- Expect relevance after the click.
- Know how to refine an irrelevant search.
So the old “keyword mechanics” has become has been. Or at least insufficient. Users no longer enter simple keywords (read a single word or two), which give simple Google results. Users now enter “queries” (expressions that match specific search intent). And Google attempts to match this search intent with search data, click data, and heuristics. To provide richer (and possibly more relevant) results, in the form of:
- Instant results on people, places and things.
- Local results.
- Google Auto complete.
- Spell check on Google.
- Product lists.
- Dictionary results for “definition-based” queries.
Optimizing keywords always makes sense; but it is more about optimizing its contents on the needs, behaviors of the users. This is the very foundation of pull marketing, by the way.
Long live the user need!
Internet is par excellence a media of demand. Optimizing the keywords does not make sense, because it is logic of a media of the offer. It is necessary to optimize the contents for the requests. Because users know what they are looking for. And search engines know how to better respond to user needs through their search results. So how to position a brand speech in all this? How to talk about yourself and hoist your products and services to the top of the gondola?
The answer is simple: your content, your website, all your online presence must be conditioned by the requests of the user. You must constantly think about satisfying the needs of the seeker-gatherer. No more question, in other words, to stuff your pages with keywords from Google AdWords. Traditional keyword-based optimization is not enough anymore. Tactics that meet the most complex requirements of Google must be built on: assigning values to queries, finding the intent behind the search, and feeding your website with the right content.
Assign value to queries?
How to “score queries”?
- List everything your company does and translate these activities and services into queries. Think of it as an exercise to determine the relevance of the topics. Ask yourself, for what types of topics or queries should you appear? (Products, services, expertise, localization, etc.)
- Segment these topics by types of intent. Place each topic under one of four topics:
- Assign a value to each query to help prioritize efforts and resources. The values can be assigned either as an amount in euros, or a simple value of 1 to 10. For example: an information search that includes a location would be more valuable than an informational query without the geographic aspect.
The intention behind the research
The search for traditional keywords – according to the volume of use – is always necessary. But it is now imperative to understand the intent of the user when typing a specific keyword or query.
- Find new sources of research data, such as social monitoring, accounts you have (social profiles), polls, surveys, or contests.
- Do not forget the searches done on your own site. If you have a search box on your site, do you collect useful intent data? How do users formulate their queries? What exactly are they looking for and from which page?
- Extend your research outside the internet with informal meetings, focus groups and sponsorship groups. During these meetings, ask simple questions such as: “How would you look for a product or service x?”
Optimize keywords, content, experience
Based on these resources, you can design a wealth of content that meets the needs of the user and the goals of your brand. How to compose a heritage from these data? Let’s go back to our thematic categories, and think about what type of media, editorial style, graphic, data, message, and / or story should be created for each.
- Relational queries are usually less valuable. Unless they directly target your business. This type of search can usually deviate to informative content. But it can take time, effort and valuable resources for low yields.
- Inspirational queries can be satisfied by articles, images, videos, computer graphics and other media that offer the right balance of information, entertainment, education and inspiration.
- Decision requests can be useful as long as you gain interest and commitment. Any possibility of adding new points of contact to your customer relationship is a potential way of future conversion. A good way to do this is to offer free email subscription information, surveys, surveys, stream subscriptions or a series of specialized articles.
- Transaction queries are the most valuable ones. These are the most competitive and easiest to lose if you do not provide a simple and easy way of converting. The commitment to the site, the simple conversion funnels and a clear progression diagram on the site all contribute to the satisfaction of the user’s need. It also increases the likelihood of retention, sharing, and creation of social cues that enhance visibility in searches.
Take stock of your SEO heritage
You’ll understand: we no longer optimize its content for search engines. But for the search experience of your targets. Where are you in this approach? What mechanics have you put in place? Because it’s by identifying the relevance of the topics, always exploring new queries everywhere, understanding the user’s need that you can create a rich and relevant editorial heritage, and that you can improve your traffic / bounce rate and traffic ratio. / Conversion!