In recent years search engines have been optimized around users needs and their search experience. Google has evolved in rewarding content that is valuable and relevant to readers.
Modern-day SEO is all about user intent, and you can improve your online presence by focusing on several key psychological principles to entice your readers, rank well in the search rankings and ultimately, help grow your business.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can understand your audience and the steps needed to create content that gets found in Google.
Customer Personas Should Direct SEO
Online marketers love to get into the heads of their customers. We do this with A/B testing, analytics, and other methods to understand what our audience does when they consume our content. One tool to understand the mind of your target audience is to build customer personas.
You can use customer personas as a sort of blueprint to help articulate details about your audience. Customer personas assist you in identifying areas that you can fill with quality content aimed at addressing and solving their problems.
You can start the process of building customer personas by talking to people you have done business with in the past, or individuals who represent your ideal client.
Some questions you can ask to get more information about how your products and services can solve their problems include:
- What are their pain points?
- What products or services have they used in the past?
- Why do they continue to use those goods and services, or why did they cease using them?
- What types of solutions will they not use?
Customer personas help you align your content with the qualities of your readers.
For example, your content will look, read, and position itself differently depending on if your target audience is a middle-aged man or a pre-teen female. You need to create content with specific qualities based on your audience if you want that content to resonate and lead to online conversions and sales.
Identify the Intent of Your Audience
Today’s search engines work to connect relevant content with searchers based on the questions in each search query. While search engines in the past were pretty clunky, modern-day search engines are powered by behavioral learning algorithms and LSI keywords to increase the quality and relevancy of search results.
Each time someone searches for something on Google, searchers are asking a question. You can optimize content for your users once you understand that they are asking questions when they visit Google.
Questions reflect the intent of your users, so you should create content that addresses the core questions of your customers.
Position your content around the needs of your audience from your customer personas. How you do this will look different based on your business and industry, but here are a few examples to get you started:
- “Restaurant near me” means “I am hungry, don’t want to cook, and want to eat somewhere now.”
- “Best barber for men” means “I am a man and what is the most trusted barber for me?”
- “U.S. presidential information” means “I am interested in U.S. politics and what is some information about President nominees?”
The purpose behind a search will vary from person to person even when the same search query is used. This is why you should produce specific content for specific personas. Once you figure out what your customers are after, you can create engaging content that drives them towards a conversion.
User Intent and Keyword Research
If your business wants to grow its online presence and attract new customers, then you need to focus on the intent and needs of your users. The way user intent translates to the digital marketing world is through keywords and search terms used by users who are looking for a particular product or service.
Every search query put into Google is a question.
People go to Google to ask specific issues with the goal of finding specific answers. Through various algorithm changes, Google has shown that their primary interest is to deliver relevant content to users. For Google, this ensures people keep coming back to their service, and their end-users build brand loyalty with Google’s product suite.
Although keyword research remains an essential component of semantic SEO, your business needs to change the way it conducts and implements keywords.
Creating content around keywords will bring your content closer to user intent and its variations. Here are a few points to consider when creating more user-focused keywords for your business content.
Semantic SEO and Search Engines
Semantic search is the newest focus by Google and other search engines that focus on how each word is situated in a search query and the relationship between those words.
Integrating semantic search terms enriches your content and makes your online content more readable for your readers. This approach also helps prevent repeating keywords too many times, and it improves how search engines read your content in several ways, including:
- Introduces various sets of keywords that are directly related to your original set of keywords.
- An active secondary set of keywords helps build rich context for search engines to understand your content and deliver better results to your customers.
By focusing on what each user types into the search bar, Google can understand what the user is looking for on a deeper level compared to only looking at keywords. In a sense, semantic SEO takes the entire search query into account and uses past searches by the user and similar searches to intelligently find the meaning and intent of the user’s expectations.
How to Perform Semantic SEO Keyword Research
As your business builds content around semantic keywords, you will want to begin by looking at your customer personas and your target audience. Since semantic SEO is meant to deliver more relevant content to your audience, you need to work on the requirements and desires of your audience.
Once you identify the problems and questions your customers are looking for through Google search queries, you will be able to build valuable content. However, there is some research needed to ensure you create your content efficiently.
Before writing a single blog post or putting together a stellar infographic, you will want to create a simple spreadsheet outlining the topics, concepts, and keywords to cover. Here is an example of the spreadsheet your business can make in about 10 minutes to save you a lot of time and money.
Let’s take a look at the exact steps and tools your business can use to create the above spreadsheet. As you see, the spreadsheet covers essential elements of semantic SEO keywords, including:
Begin thinking about your content based on your user personas. Figure out what your readers are looking for and how you can tie those searches back to your business. You can start this step by looking through real-world questions your customers are asking. Some places to consider include:
- Your customer service records and calls
Once you know what your customers are searching for, you will be able to identify the base topics to cover. For this example, I will use the search topic of “Semantic Search” since that is what I am writing about right now.
The next step is to identify your core set of ideas based around your core topics. These concepts will be the root of all keywords and will be the base of your content.
As you begin to think about what your customers are asking for the topics listed above, you will be able to find key points to create content around. These concepts should be connected to the problems (or questions) your customers ask and connect them back to your business.
SEMRush is the primary tool I use for this stage of semantic SEO keyword research. The free version works fine for me, and here is a screenshot of findings with notes on the important elements to pay attention to.
Finally, you will build a list of keywords related to the core concepts and topics that your customers are searching for. These keywords, phrases, and search terms should be relevant to your main topic and supporting ideas.
These keywords should be unique from your concepts and main issue but connect based on how the words and ideas work together. The best free tool I use for this stage of semantic SEO keyword research is LSIGraph.com. Below is a screenshot of some keywords I chose based on my research of LSIGraph.com
Since your business is working to acquire market share and retain your customers, you need to make sure that all your content is relevant to your readers and easily found in search engines.
Semantic SEO keyword research makes it possible for you to save time and money when creating content. The future of SEO strategies need to focus on the intent of users and the quality of your content.
You can use the above tools and processes to deliver the content your customers are looking for so you can drive more traffic and close more sales through your online business!
Featured Image: Pixabay
Screenshots by Chris Giarratana. Taken January 2017.