User intent, also known as search intent, is basically what the users are looking to achieve when typing a question or a set of keywords into the search engine. For a marketer who is creating a digital marketing strategy for their company, or a business leader who is trying to rank its company higher in the relevant SERPs, it’s imperative to understand search intent and how it shapes marketing strategies and SEO in general. If you don’t understand search intent and why online audiences are searching for something or what their end goals are, then you won’t be able to optimize your content and tailor the browsing experience to their needs.
Given the fact that Google and other search engines do recognize user intent and rank content and websites according to what the user is hoping to achieve, it’s important for marketers to craft content that is relevant to the user, which will ultimately elevate the brand’s authority in the online world and position the website higher in the SERPs. Here’s how you can create an SEO strategy based on user-intent.
Optimize content for informational intent
The first type of intent that you should create content for is informational intent. This is the type of content that helps a customer research a specific topic, product, service, or anything that might spark their interest. This is also the first step in the buying journey, and arguably one of the most important ones, which is why you should optimize your content for informational intent first if you are to drive lead generation forward and set the stage for conversions down the road.
When people are researching services or products, or when they are researching relevant topics, there is a chance that they will decide to buy at a later date, but that doesn’t mean that you should try to sell anything at this stage. Instead, your content should serve an educational purpose, and provide as much information on the topic as possible in order to position your brand as the go-to source of quality information – this will boost your ranking and spread the word of your company, but also improve repeat traffic.
Implement local SEO for local intent
You probably know by now that people will research a brick-and-mortar business online before deciding to visit the store in person, which is your cue to start optimizing your content and information for local search intent. Your goal is to appear at the very top of the local SERPs and inspire users to visit your business with the intent of purchasing something from you. This is why local intent is so important, especially in highly-competitive markets such as Hong Kong, for example, as local companies need to create content that provides all of the necessary business information to the user.
This is also why business leaders will frequently work with an experienced SEO agency in Hong Kong that focuses on local intent and what the user aims to gain by researching local businesses in their vicinity. The objective here for your business to appear on the local map, providing all of the technical information such as your work hours, address, prices, reviews, short descriptions and more. Complemented by the content on your website, this is a recipe for successful local SEO, and a good way for the user to find out everything they need to know about the business before coming over.
Use navigational intent to sway the customer
Navigational intent is that stage in the buyer’s journey when the user is still not ready to make a purchase, but is starting to research their options, so they are taking a more meticulous approach. At this stage, the user is looking for a cross between quality educational content and content that provides comparisons and links to the products they are considering. All of this serves the purpose of helping the user decide on the product, and where to buy it online.
For you, this is the perfect opportunity to sway the customer to your side and inspire them to interact with your website and company, if for no other reason than just to obtain more information about the product or service you’re selling. Remember, the goal of your SEO strategy is to get people over to your site, but also to inspire them to get in touch. Once they do that, you can use your superior customer service to inspire them to buy.
Use specific keywords for transactional intent
Also known as the intent to buy, transactional intent is the last stage of the buyer’s journey, and it means that the user is ready to make a purchase – the only thing left to do is to find a trustworthy website. It should go without saying that you can’t rely on education content to rank you high for these searches and actually incentivize a customer to make a purchase.
Instead, the specific keywords they’re using should serve to help you craft amazing landing pages and product pages that will appear at the top of the search results, and provide the user with the information necessary to buy. At this stage, it’s important that you provide quick product descriptions, deals and discount information, prices including shipping, product reviews, locations where people can check out the products, and more.
User intent has become one of the most valuable tools in a modern marketer’s arsenal, and for good reason. By understanding search intent and how you can optimize your content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, you can elevate your standing in the SERPs, boost your SEO strategy, and set the stage for higher conversions.
Rich Snippets: SEO Strategy in Times of Disruption
The global pandemic has triggered a unique type of distress for entrepreneurs looking to begin brand-new companies. Aside from handling the health and social concerns caused by the COVID-19, they have faced the lack of targeted visitors and sales revenue.
Terence Lim, SEO Consultant and the founder of JinMatic is won over that SEO can help organisation during this global pandemic.
Google enhances its search function by arranging the world’s info and making it widely available. In the last 5 years, because of its explosive development, SEO has undergone numerous changes. To name a few, RankBrain, Hummingbird and the Exact Match Domain update are some of the game-changing updates Google has rolled out in the last few years.
These algorithms make the search engine smarter than ever. Although these updates make life much easier for end-users, some Malaysia SEO agencies are forced to stay on their toes to quickly integrate these brand-new strategies into their digital marketing strategy. For example, businesses can use rich snippets to gain more business exposure because practically 55% of all Google searches feature rich snippets.
JSON-LD Structured Data: The Quick Way to Get Google Rich Snippets
The best way to obtain rich snippets is by having proper structured data. It’s a standardized format utilized to identify and arrange the details in your webpages. Google recommends utilizing JSON-LD for structured information because its scripts are relatively simpler to add, upgrade and remove.
Terence pointed out that structured data does not directly increase your search rankings, but it does improve your click-through-rate (CTR) as a result of having more appealing search listings.
This search engine optimization strategy absolutely does the job for Malaysia small-medium enterprises because today’s consumers demand easy-to-find, snackable and valuable content.
Leading SEO Expert Justin Davis Shares Valuable SEO Tips and Explains Why Entrepreneurs Should Do it Right to Remain on Top
Justin Davis is a leading SEO Expert and specializes in Link Building, an important aspect of Search Engine Optimization. SEO or Search Engine Optimization simply means how effective your business is optimized for search engine results. For example, if you provide plumbing services and if someone searches on Google with the keyword ‘Best Plumbers Near Me’ and your business website or your information comes on the top position, you can be said to be search engine optimized.
Given the kind of competition Startups and Businesses have, it is important that they have an optimized search engine presence.
Justin, Thank you for talking with us. Tell us more about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) for small business owners and startups.
Thank you for having me. SEO only matters for businesses that have customers (or potential customers) that go to Google or other search engines to look for their products and services. One of the benefits to a small business is that SEO will deliver leads that do not directly need to be paid for.
Of course most businesses would enjoy natural, organic traffic to the website from people researching services or products before making a buying decision. But there are costs in getting to this point. The time required depends on how strong the competition is.
At a minimum, small businesses should have a grasp on what keyword phrases are important to their business, how much search volume is behind those queries, where they stand compared to their competitors for those keywords, and approximately how much traffic the competitors are getting from those keywords.
What are some of the biggest mistakes businesses make when planning their seo strategy?
I have seen lots of businesses waste countless hours and thousands of dollars optimizing their on-page SEO, and reoptimizing, redesigning, and on and on. Monthly spending on SEO services should almost be entirely for off-page strategies like backlink building.
Onsite optimizations should generally be a one-time fix and coaching for best practices moving forward. Let’s face it.. Most companies know little to nothing about SEO. That’s why they hire out. So the client needs to at least somewhat educated on the basics in the beginning.
Setting clear expectations by talking about what the deliveries will be, a timeline, KPIs that will track progress throughout the campaign, costs, results – these should all be covered. Properly setting expectations of how much the services are going to cost, how long it’s going to take, and what estimated results will help with transparency and clarification.
Panda update of Google was a big learning curve for seo professionals. What are some of the current trends in seo?
Nowdays I just focus on producing high quality content and getting high quality links to point to that content. I leave the trends and tweaks to the SEO bloggers and every once in a while I incorporate something new into my strategies.
Think about link building as being a timeless SEO activity. Getting links from high-quality websites will always be great for your SEO. Why? Because this is the system that Google search results was based off of. A linking/vouching system is similar to that used by many scholarly medical journals and so on.
Forget trying to figure out the new fads, tips and tricks. Stick to doing a lot of what we already know works. Optimize your site on-page, and then continue adding content to your site while getting links from quality websites in your niche.
Tell us the importance of link building for a website. How do businesses ensure that they have a quality link profile?
Link building is important for a website because Google’s ranking system relies on links heavily to reveal authority. The amount of links from trusted sources are looked at as a vouch, basically voting for the linked site.
Businesses have a quality link profile by setting standards in the beginning. Authority scores, organic search traffic, the number of keywords ranked in Google, rankings/positions for various keywords, Moz spam score, sniff tests, experience, PBNs and IP addresses – are factors used to determine whether a link prospect is qualified.
Lots of businesses try to go cheap when it comes to link building. This is probably because it takes a lot of time and money. I get it! But when taking shortcuts and hiring amateurs, they often end up with spammy links and little to no improvements in keywords and actual website visitors.
Even worse, they could be penalized and completely lose everything in Google search. Bad SEO can also do lots of damage to a brand, because a big part of off-page SEO is outreaching/emailing every other business and organization in your industry on your behalf.
There are many businesses that want to indulge in shady link building programs just because they are in a hurry. As an expert in this field, how do you handle these clients?
I am very clear with possible new clients. I go over the preferred types of links and associated metrics ahead of time.
One of the qualifying factors I look for in clients is that they respect my expertise and take more of a hands-off approach. Micro-managers need not apply! So I just politely smile and reject those clients. PS: I turn down 90% of businesses that reach out to me because they don’t meet all of my qualifying factors. This is multiple businesses per day.
What SEO tips would you like to share with all the entrepreneurs who are reading this?
Hiring the right person for SEO is crucial if your business relies on traffic from search results. In the beginning, talk about what the SEO goals are, what the ideal timeline would be in order to meet those goals, and what budget is available in order to get there.
The SEO person should be able to explain what can be expected according to your goals, timeline and budget. Properly setting and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) that are specific to SEO and the campaign will show progress.
A proper SEO campaign will result in your website gaining authority. These gains will be shown in higher numbers of organic search visitors (check Google Analytics for this), higher rankings for more keyword phrases (various SEO tools for this), and higher authority scores (various SEO tools).
Justin Davis is the Chief Link Builder for Link-builders.com, an off-page SEO agency specializing in building high-quality backlinks.
5 Great Tips to Create SEO-Friendly Blog Posts
In the world of digital marketing, it’s safe to say that SEO and content creation are among the most powerful tools in any marketer’s arsenal, simply because the goal of every company should be to rank higher in the SERPs. Why? Because ranking on the first page of Google for all relevant organic searches is the key to building brand visibility, expanding its reach, and building trust with your audience in the online world.
Creating SEO-friendly content is one of the best ways to market your startup in the competitive online market, especially in order to grow your business organically and improve your revenue stream so that you can start introducing PPC and other more expensive tactics into the mix. With that in mind, let’s go over the best ways you can optimize your blog posts to rank you higher in the SERPs.
Understand user intent
First things first, every blog post you create should fit into a specific stage in the buyer’s journey, and to do that, you first have understand user intent. Simply put, user intent is what your customer or website visitor is looking to achieve when they are searching for a product, researching various topics, or looking for businesses within a certain niche. Not all customers are ready to buy something right off the bat, and in fact, most will take their sweet time browsing the web for credible information before they commit.
This means that you can’t hope to sell your product with a sales-y article if most of your visitors are looking to learn about your industry or niche. This also means that you need to tailor your content according to user intent, specifically informational, navigational, and transactional intent. The first means that the customer is looking for information, the second that they are still learning but are looking for brands as well, and the third is when they are committed to buying the product.
Identify your primary and supplementary keywords
Next, you have to identify all of the relevant keywords that you’re going to integrate into your content strategy and put in specific places throughout each piece. Now, you have to be mindful about the keywords you’re trying to rank for, because some are more competitive than others. You can’t hope to rank high for a general keyword that yields several million results, instead, your goal should be to target those specific phrases that will help narrow down the search and put your content at the top.
Every blog post should have several long-tail keywords that are relevant to your business, your industry, and the specific topic that the article is about, as well as user intent. Assuming that your blogs are lengthy (which they should be) you can easily sprinkle numerous keywords into the article without overstuffing it, however, make sure that the keywords are truly relevant to the piece in order to avoid getting penalized.
Don’t forget about link building
Many people tend to forget that a big part of a successful SEO strategy is the process of link building, which is why you have to make sure that all of your blog posts are optimized to get featured on other prominent websites in your niche and industry. This is a cumbersome process that entails a lot of research and optimization, which is why digital agencies will nowadays enlist a white label SEO service to take care of the entire link-building process and help generate quality backlinks across the web organically.
The key here is for your blog posts to link to your other relevant work, and to follow the guidelines of the websites where you’re guest posting in order to earn that do-follow link. It’s also important for your blogs to maintain a level of quality that will get them trending in the online world and inspire other bloggers to feature them on their websites.
Know where to include your keywords
Keyword integration is trickier than it seems. It’s important that you put your keywords in all the right places throughout your article, including the title, the subheadings, and of course, to sprinkle relevant keywords where it feels natural but without overdoing it. Typically, you will want to stick with two to three keywords per piece if it’s an article that’s over a thousand words in length. You can repeat the keywords several times throughout.
Optimize images, meta description, and URL
While you’re at it, be sure to optimize your articles by integrating your keywords into the images, the meta description, and the URL. Use your primary keyword for the URL, one keyword for the meta description that helps explain what the piece is about, and one keyword per image alt-text that corresponds with whatever is in the picture.
SEO should be at the forefront of your digital marketing strategy, as optimizing your blog posts is a surefire way to rank your website higher in organic searches. Be sure to use these tips to create SEO-friendly content that will get you on the first page of Google, and even inspire authority figures in your field to publish your pieces on their websites.
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