How to use purchase intent for more effective keyword search

If you think the lowly keyword is dead, think again. Good research can help a business position itself with the the right content to engage the audience at different points of the consumer purchase journey.

Have you experienced one or more of these problems with your SEO and PPC ads?

  • Your pages are ranking well, even at number one in the search results, but they are not getting any clicks
  • Your ads are getting a lot of impressions, but they are not getting any clicks
  • Your pages in organic search results and ads are both getting a lot of clicks, but just not converting

If you have, it is likely that there is disconnect among keywords, ads, page description and landing page content.

Keywords_Disconnect_600

As more and more companies shift their digital marketing KPIs from traffic to conversions, these disconnects are huge roadblocks to business growth and need to be removed.

Why does disconnect happen?

In many cases, a disconnect is caused by these reasons:

  • Selected target keywords based on search volume (SEO & ads)
  • Used the same ad copy (ads)
  • Used the same landing page (ads)
  • Didn’t check which page is ranking for a keyword (SEO)
  • Didn’t check the organic search results to improve how the page shows up (SEO)

Basically, your SEO and paid ads have become very mechanical and perhaps even routine. You have forgotten people are your audience, and not Google or any other search engine.

If you want to succeed with SEO and paid ads, you need to understand what your audience wants, and start giving them what they are searching for.

For example, when I was searching for a pair of yoga pants, I specified a size as “petite”, and got the following results:

Keywords_petite yoga

Sadly, all four of the paid ads failed to provide me with what I wanted on the landing page even through three of them do mention “petite” in the ad title. Also, six out of eight of the listings in Google shopping failed by not mentioning “petite” in the title. One of them did mention “petite”, but gave me a pair of fitted work pants instead of yoga pants.

In this case, 10 out of 12 advertisers tried to bait me into the site using a title that matched my search but neither the description nor the landing pages matched what I was looking for.

This happened because they didn’t care about what I wanted by understanding the intent behind my search keywords: “petite yoga pants”. They were hoping I would mindlessly click and look around.

How to use keywords to improve content for better audience engagement

1. Listen to the voice of the consumer

Keywords are great in the sense that they let you know what the audience wants. Consider keywords as an indication of the voice of consumer.

Keywords_Audience Engagement_600

In the new keyword research model, search volume is not the main focus. What you want to do is to identify the keywords used in each stage of the customer journey.

People at the beginning of the customer journey usually use big keywords with a high search volume – and are therefore unlikely to convert for a while.

While the search volume may be small, long tail keywords are important because people who use them are likely to know exactly what they want, and are probably very close to a conversion point.

2. Serve the consumer relevant content

Once you finish your keyword research, group them based on the different stages of the customer journey. The next step is to map keywords to the most relevant content on your website for SEO.

For paid ads, create a landing page with the content that meets the needs of the searcher’s intent throughout the specific stages of the customer journey. These pages are commonly referred to as ‘preferred landing pages’ (PLP). By mapping keywords to the right content, you are going to improve the ranking, click through, and the conversions.

Google has said it values websites with good usability, and by good usability, they mean that searchers can find what they want quickly on the page. It validates the importance of keyword mapping to the right content and ensures the content truly represents the intent and needs of the searcher.

The relevancy is not limited to the landing pages. The ad copies, the page title and the description for the organic search results play important parts in bringing searchers to your website. When there is not enough relevancy, disconnect occurs.

This is one of the easiest ways to increase traffic. If you haven’t looked at your organic search for critical phrases lately, do, and you might be surprised to see how poorly they represent your products and services.

Effective keyword research helps you to create compelling content that engages with the audience by providing content that satisfies their needs. Do you believe in the importance of keywords now?

Feel free to leave your comments below.

For more information, download our brand new ClickZ Intelligence Report, The Future of Customer Journey.

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