SOS SEO Tips: Searcher Intent and Relevant Key Phrases vs Key Word Searches.

SEOMost people understand about keywords when it comes to meeting the basic requirements of search engine optimization.  If you are selling ice cream, then you’re going to have the words “ice cream”  in your meta tags. But search engines look for more than just single keywords these days.

Why?

Because their algorithms are much more complex than when search engines started and that’s because the way people search for what they want is more complex, too.   It has to do with the Searcher’s intent.

Searcher Intent

Breaking it down, there are 3 basic ways that people search:

  • Navigation: The searcher is going for a specific site he or she knows they want to visit.  The means?  The site’s search box or the browser Address bar.  Doe s it make a difference which they use as to site rankings?  Definitely.  Its your site search box competing against the address bar of the browser .  Which does the site user trust to find them what they want?
  • Information: The searcher wants to know how to do something, or where to find some ice cream in the city.  They are searching about some idea or more information about a category of products.  A good example is “Where is the best ice cream in my city?”
  • Transactions: This is very straightforward.  The searcher wants to sign up for something, like email.  Or purchase a product from an online store. Or perhaps download a coupon file.

Key Phrases: Relevance and Authority

Since its much more costly to compete with the big search engines on navigation searches, its best for smaller businesses and organizations to focus on information and transaction searches.  How do you do that?

Let’s say your site sells ice cream ( I like to stick with what I know, er, like a lot).  You may side specialize in selling dietetic ice cream so you might want to rank your site for “diet foods”.  Diet foods is a big market and getting even a small percentage of those  searches would mean a chance of converting at least some to sales, right?  But here’s where the relevance factor comes in because that is how you will be ranked by the search engines.  The question to ask yourself is this: Is my eCommerce ice cream site really relevant for “diet foods”?   No, its relevant for ice cream – that’s how the search engine will look at it.  So,  unless you plan on building up a lot of content and promoting your site as an authority on ice cream as a diet food, there’s a better and less costlier way.  Using a relevant key phrase like “best tasting diet ice cream”  will gain you more searches in your niche, especially adding the city.

It’s a good idea though to work on a plan to promote your business as the authority in its niche and do so in a relevant way.  You do this by listening to your customers: what they do like and what they don’t.   In the “old days” it was more about link-building.  Now its all about the content on your site.  So make your content relevant to your customers and be determined to be the authority in your niche.

Now, I wonder if my favorite ice cream site will show me how to build the best tasting diet banana split?  I think I’ll do a search…

bananasplit

Image Source: Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

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