As Google continues to tweak its search ranking algorithm it has become harder for small businesses to keep up and continue to rank high in the search results. Consider this fact; Google changes its search algorithm between 500 and 600 times every year. How are you supposed to keep up with that?
The answer is; you don’t. It is time to stop focusing on old Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tricks and start to focus on intent-driven keyword research.
What is Intent-Driven Keyword Research?
In a nutshell, intent-driven keyword research focuses on the intent of the person conducting the search. When someone types in “Landscaping Solutions in Portland, Maine”, are they looking for how-to articles on landscaping their lawn and garden or are they looking for landscapers with the best deals for a particular task?
When a user types in a particular keyword they are usually looking to accomplish three things; they want to do something, know something or go somewhere.
As a business owner, you need to create content that fulfills the user’s intent. It is this type of content that Google (and other search engines) looks for to place in the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
How to Conduct Intent-Driven Keyword Research
The best place to start your research is Google itself. Take the general keywords that you use for your business, type them into the search engine and see what comes back. A critical look at the results will show you what people are really looking for when they type in those keywords.
Google is working tirelessly to provide users with the best experience possible. To do this, they must serve up the most relevant results possible for the user’s search. If they don’t, the users will go elsewhere (yes, there are other search engines out there).
Using our example of the landscaping business in Portland above, we could type in “residential landscaping” into Google and check the results.
Along with a few local landscaping companies, you will find articles about residential landscaping ideas, landscaping design, and “how-to” blogs to help with your next garden. As you can see these are know and do user intents. It would be an indication that you need to be creating content that focuses on those topics.
You should be conducting this type of research on a monthly basis to keep ahead of any trends that are taking place. This will assure that you always have fresh, relevant content on your site, and your posts will have a better chance of ranking higher in the SERPs.
Another excellent way to conduct intent-driven keyword research is to dig into your customer data.
If your company has a help section on the website, notice what questions are being asked. What are your customers having the most issues with? If you don’t have a help section on your site take a look at a competitor’s site and see what questions they are dealing with.
Talk to your salespeople and any workers out in the field and discover what questions and issues they are confronted with on a daily basis.
Finally, take a look at your website’s FAQ and those of your competitors. If a question is being asked enough times that it winds up in a FAQ, there is obviously an information gap that you can fill with some excellent content.
Write For Intent, Not Keywords
While creating content around a particular keyword is not yet an archaic practice, the writing is on the wall. Google is doing its best to read user intent and deliver content it thinks the user wants. Therefore, it will benefit your business if you create that content.
Intent-driven keyword research is not a one-time activity. It is a process that will evolve over time. Your intent-focused content will constantly change but it will always remain relevant to what your customers are searching.
Are you still doing keyword research the old way? At least as an experiment, try producing content with the approach we have shared. The results may surprise you! For more marketing resources, take a look at the articles below.