User intent is the pith of engineering a successful SEO strategy. In order to attract people most likely to buy while building meaningful relationships, marketers must first understand why people seek their products. They must also determine their true pain points, and how a brand’s products and services provide the best solution to meet each buyer’s unique needs.
There are two main ways to farm user intent data required to create content for SEO that focuses on your customer’s needs: buyer personas and analyzing search behavior. Most SEO agencies ignore buyer personas when creating organic search strategies. This is a huge oversight because every product in every market has a target buyer audience, and many have multiple niche audiences.
Buyer personas enable a better strategy that unities desired cohorts with specific content designed to convert them into satisfied customers. Not utilizing buyer personas in conjunction with search behavior analysis data will leave massive gaps in any SEO strategy, as well as missed sales opportunities on the table.
This article will offer strategic tips on how to improve your SEO campaign by understanding user intent, and lend insight into how to be a mind reader so you can create highly targeted content for every cohort of your buyer audience.
What are Buyer Personas and Where to Start?
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of actual buyers that help marketers enhance strategies with audience targeting tactics. One of the many advantages of working with SEO agencies that offer growth marketing stacks is access to advanced technology that makes buyer persona creation more cost-effective and efficient. And when getting started, this will be especially helpful.
Out the gate you will want to collect important information on current customers, prospective clients, and from those who decided to buy elsewhere. Collecting this information will include tapping into these areas:
- Website analytics
- Private and public databases
- Previously performed research projects
- Sales team data
- Surveys and questionnaires
- Group interviews
- Email data
The more information you can collect, the better. But knowing what kind of information to get, and where to source it from, is the real challenge for most companies. Based on the brand, their products, their sales cycle, and other important factors what should be in the buyer persona will vary. While a SMB company that makes high-end drones may want to collect information on their customer’s hobbies, family lifestyle, and income level a large SaaS corporation may want a buyer persona that captures one’s industry, job title, job roles, and success is measured in that person’s position.
Is you are opting to perform this endeavor without the help of an SEO agency, make sure the information you gather is authentic and never based on assumptions. Use the above sources and include information such as demographics, pain points, motivators, industry facts, FAQs, obstacles, shopping preferences and then segment this data to identify patterns and similarities.
When similarities and patterns have been identified, you can begin crafting your buyer personas. Again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be authentic. Your keywords, blog strategy, web page content, social media marketing, link building, and other pieces to your overall SEO campaign will be rooted directly into your buyer personas. And weak foundations collapse structures.
Content for SEO, Understanding Search Behavior, and User Intent
SEO-enriched content needs to be grounded on search intent, and there are three main query types: informational, transactional and navigational.
Informational search queries are performed with the goal to obtain information. Searching for the author of ‘The Stranger’ or the cause of a strange noise coming from the back end of your car falls under the category of an informational search. These queries are generally in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey and live at the top of the conversion funnel. Since these search queries tend to be broad with high search volume, they lack the kind of context that allows for higher conversions. If you are savvy enough, you can tweak your keywords with context and topics that reflect your buyer personas to increase click-through-rates and conversions.
Transactional queries are used by people who want to make a purchase. Whether they sign up for a wine club membership trial, or for “LA Dodgers jerseys” they are likely to make a purchase in the near future and are therefore at the bottom of the conversion funnel. In order to increase conversions within this cohort, transactional queries must melt into your keywords. This will call for long tail keyword forms embedded in relevant content that reflects a buyer’s decision stage.
Your direct traffic comes from navigational queries. These are people who are already aware of your presence and directly enter your domain into the search bar. Many SEO agencies pay little attention to direct traffic data. But they should. How many times have you performed a search, saw a result, and clicked on it with only a brief glance to know that you like what you see and go back to the site later? Or perhaps you are interrupted while searching and recall the domain for a future visit? There are multiple scenarios in which organic traffic plays a role into direct traffic, and even Google Analytics offers the ability to see engagement metrics where organic search assisted. Pay attention to the ratio between direct traffic and organic traffic to look for correlations.
Using CRMs to Understand User Intent and Search Behavior
While Google Analytics offers great insight into understanding how people engage your website, it does very little to reveal the intentions behind their searches. It also fails to capture a lot of the data necessary for creating buyer personas and fine-tuning your website’s messaging, blogs and other relevant content.
More importantly, once the data has been collected that enables marketers to find-tune the SEO strategy, additional strategies can run alongside organic search to capture leads that have slipped through the cracks, and target searchers who dropped off once they got so far into their journey. CRMs like HubSpot show growth marketing teams where leads came from and shows the exact journey they took through your website. Knowing which pages they visited and how searchers engaged with every piece of content gives valuable conversion and organic optimization insights. More so, HubSpot can reveal the names of your leads, the company they work for, and their job title. This information is HUGE and plays directly into creating buyer personas. It also provides information that can be used in optimization strategies to prevent leads from falling through the gaps with an overall goal to streamline the conversion process.
HubSpot Helps SEO Agencies and Internal Teams Improve Content
Any SEO Agency that is mart of an organization offering growth marketing stacks will be able to customize a set of tools and strategies to work alongside SEO to attract more traffic and convert clicks into buyers.