SEO: Is your Site Pertinent for that Keyword?

23 September 2013

Berlin: Recognizing the interaction between search significance and intent can mean the distinction between a well optimized site and a lot of time wasted chasing keywords for which you’ll never rank.

Organic search algorithms trust in a amalgamation of relevance and authority. For any given phrase a searcher types into the search box, the search engine computes and exhibits the most related and authoritative pages based on its algorithms.

When search was a new, keywords significance was decided by the number of times a keyword was used on a page. Today search engines factor hundreds of relevance elements into their algorithms, including searcher intent.

Types of Searcher Intent

Search engines attempt to bring more applicable results by relating intent with certain keywords. There are 3 primary categories of searcher intent.

  1. Navigational. The searcher recognizes which site he wants to visit, but opts to use the browser’s search box in place of the address bar in which to type it. In some cases, the searcher may trust Google to return the correct page on a given site more than they trust that site’s own internal search. Searchers wait for navigational queries to the correct answer at the top of the search results. Instances of navigational searches comprise “united airlines,” “yelp.com” or “amazon duracell batteries 9 volt.”
  2. Informational. Searchers want to explore a topic to learn more. The query may focus on a precise product, a category of products, a problem the searcher is attempting to solve, a concept, where to eat dinner, and so forth. Searchers anticipate informational queries to yield a set of germane pages as opposed to the single right answer. Searchers may be willing to try out the information on multiple pages before considering their task complete. Examples of informational searches include “how to change spark plugs,” “chicago sushi, or “best digital camera.”
  3. Transactional. Searchers want to accomplish a task, such as download a file, procure a product, and sign up for a service. Transactional searchers may pursue informational searches, such as a customer who searches for information on the best digital camera, uses the information to choose a product, and then searches to find the best place to complete the transaction and purchase the camera online.

If a searcher by now knows he needs a detailed site and uses a navigational query to reach it, the possibilities of preventing that search and luring the customer to your own site via organic search are slim. Based on the query, it may be feasible to woo searchers away with paid search ads, but the rules on brand bidding can make that difficult too.

It’s also not essential to use up a lot of time and budget optimizing for navigational searches. Search engines happily connect searchers with the brands they ask for in their search query, assuming that brand’s site meets the most fundamental requirements of search engine optimization.

eCommerce marketers need to center their time and money instead on winning the informational and transactional searches and change them to sales. Transactional searches are the most precious, clearly, since the searcher is liable to complete some sort of action. But the bulk of the searches conducted are informational: Most people know they want something, they’re just not certain what exactly.

Significance and Informational Searches

Possibly the hardest part about informational searches for eCommerce sites is that the most valuable keywords may be only imaginatively related to the product they’re selling. It’s alluring to shoot for the stars, but your budget may well be better spent on aiming more applicable keyword phrases.

For instance, a site that sells shoes intended to lessen heel pain may want to rank for “heel pain.” A lot of people — approximately 60,000 a month in the U.S. according to Google Keyword Planner — search for information on heel pain. Winning just 5% of those searches would mean a possibility to convert 3,000 visits to sales. That’s pretty enticing.

But is an eCommerce shoe site really pertinent for “heel pain?” No, it’s relevant for “shoes.” Even if the site builds a page of great content and products targeting searches for “heel pain,” the best they’re likely to do is rank for “shoes for heel pain” at about 600 searches a month. “Shoes for heel pain” may be an apt term for the site to target, but it’s important to be sensible about the amount of traffic organic search is likely to drive when allotting resources for SEO. If you plan to target 60,000 searches and actually target 600, you’ll come up with about 1/100th of the traffic planned.

Can an eCommerce site rank on page one in Google for a competitive informational search like “heel pain?” It’s not unfeasible, but it’s unlikely without a lot of hard work to create stellar content and authority.

Informational searches tend to be monopolized by huge, authoritative, informational sites like Wikipedia, About.com, and news, government, and organization sites. Breaking into the search results among this kind of competition needs a devotion to building excellent content with excellent SEO and a strong promotional plan to build authority.

For instance, Nordstrom ranks third in Google for the keyword phrase “how to tie a scarf,” for which 49,500 people search in an average month.

To be certain, Nordstrom has a tremendous marketing budget, a powerful retail brand, and fans in abundance. But it also listened to customers to comprehend that women think scarves are very pretty and have no idea how to wear them. And Nordstrom matched that customer need with keyword research to identify a keyword phrase to target that’s highly searched and less competitive than other fashion phrases. Then it built a striking video showing 16 methods for tying scarves, building off the success of the old-school scarf tying booklet they employed to hand out in stores.

Before you release it out of hand, why can’t you do the same thing in your place? It doesn’t have to be done on a Nordstrom-sized budget. You have admission to the same keyword data and creative minds all around you. You know what sells well, and your customer service team can most likely tell you all about the things that customers do and don’t like.

Examine the data and build up a few content ideas that will truly boom with customers. Develop them, optimize them, promote them, and share them. That’s how we have to build significance and authority today compared to the “easy” link building plans of a few years ago, and its hard work. But when it pays off, it’s worth it.

The other alternative is to center on optimizing for the keyword phrases that are directly pertinent to the products you sell. Focusing on transactional keyword phrases tied directly to your product catalog has the advantage of changing more strongly and being naturally more pertinent. However, for the same reasons, they also tend to be highly competitive and you still need to put up your site’s authority to rank well.

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