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.
An Interview with SEO & Digital Marketing Guru John Sottile
John Sottile is a New York based SEO Consultant who has helped businesses big and small achieve their online goals. John uses a combination of techniques including On-Page SEO, Content Creation, Reputation Management among others in order to achieve desired results for his clients.
John, Thank you for talking with us. Kindly describe your journey as an Entrepreneur.
When I was younger, I had my own paper route for several years. That allowed me to get a taste of what it would be like interacting with customers and managing a service on my own time. When I attended college at the College of Staten Island, I never had a real direction at first. Once I decided to pursue a marketing degree, I started to look into social media marketing and search engine optimization.
I realized that not many businesses fully understand digital marketing, and realized that this was a service I could potentially offer to people. One of my first clients was a graphic design company. I used that experience to learn about how to rank a website, and from there I had the confidence to make the leap as a freelancer.
Providing quality SEO services requires a certain level of expertise. Having said that, there are a lot of SEO companies that have cropped up in the recent past providing average services. How challenging is this for your business given the kind of competition this segment has?
I think that having more SEO agencies, freelancers, and providers in the field is a good thing. Having more competition helps create more awareness for the service, and it also gives consumers more options to choose from. Since digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to market your company, it’s one of the safest investments a business can make.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of shady SEO providers out there too. These companies may use outdated tactics that hurt their clients’ websites. While these scenarios are unfortunate, it also creates opportunities for the legitimate SEO specialists to step in and repair the damage.
How has SEO evolved in the last 5 years?
Google is favoring websites and brands that provide value to their readers and customers. The days of spamming a website to the top of search engines with a link blast from Fiverr are long gone. You need to focus on organic engagement and create quality content that will keep people interested.
It’s also important to have a website that has an easy to understand user experience for the customer. This means that your website should load in a reasonable amount of time, it should have content that helps the user find what they’re there for, and it should have a clear call to action so it’s optimized for conversions. Google tends to favor websites that are consistently publishing quality content. Quality content also helps attract links to your website.
Do you think Google will remain the king of search engines in the foreseeable future?
I believe so. Google and YouTube are the top two search engines, and Google owns YouTube. I don’t see either of these companies going anywhere any time soon. Most people prefer watching videos over reading a blog post.
Do you think keyword research is a must for better search engine results or is it overrated?
Keyword research is absolutely important for search engine results. When you first start a blog, the truth is that no one’s going to find you and read your content. If you do your keyword research and target low volume and easy to rank for keywords, you give yourself the opportunity to compete on a smaller scale and build some initial traffic. As you continue to rank for several low volume keywords, you can build up your e-mail list and start building relationships with those viewers.
How can businesses achieve better results through On-Page SEO?
For on-page SEO, you need to make sure you nail your content and tag placement. Proper title and header tags can make the difference between whether or not your website will appear in the serps or not. A good title can also improve your CTR.
One factor that many people tend to neglect (even SEO agencies) is internal linking. I can’t stress enough on how important it is to make sure you take advantage of internal links. You can use these links to diversify your page rankings, and help your newer content rank. It’s also a user-friendly way to remind people of your existing articles and content that they may be interested in.
What SEO tips can you give to businesses who want to have an optimized online presence?
I think that businesses should strongly consider looking into keeping an active presence on social media. I always get disappointed when I see companies and brands that “don’t see the value” in social media, when everyone is addicted to their cell phones.
Social media has become a powerful tool for small businesses to reach a large audience of people in a cost-effective way. While social media doesn’t directly improve your SEO rankings, it helps more people become aware of your brand. When more people know who you are and search for your brand, you can get more traffic and user signals.
In this Interview, Jason Boyd Shares Valuable Insights into the Changing Landscape of the Digital Marketing World
Jason Boyd is the Founder & Director of Evolve Digital, a firm that specializes in SEO & Digital marketing services. We recently interviewed Jason to know more about his company and to understand the latest trends in the Digital Marketing world.
Jason, Thank you for talking with us. Kindly describe your journey as an Entrepreneur so far.
I started in the digital marketing industry way back in 1998 when I had a landscaping business, and I wanted to learn how to advertise on the internet. Back then, search engine marketing was mainly based around AltaVista and also some of the online directories. So, I did that as an addition to my landscaping business.
Then in the mid-2000s, I transitioned into purely doing SEO work for myself and for other clients. I gave up my landscaping business and worked for a combination of agencies and on some private projects.
In 2010, I started my own search engine marketing business and had all my own clients at that point. Then in 2018, I rebranded that business to Evolve Digital Agency and expanded my range of services to include paid advertising and Facebook advertising.
Covid 19 has taught us that if you are not online, you are literally out of business. As a leading SEO & Digital Marketing agency, what has been your experience during this ongoing pandemic?
COVID-19 has taught me that there has been a clear shift in the attitudes of many businesses towards their online presence. Businesses that traditionally relied upon non-digital marketing services have realized that to survive, they now need to have an online presence. Most businesses cannot get by without an online presence these days.
Having said that, there’s no doubt that this pandemic has reduced the income of many businesses, and so these businesses are now very cautious about where they spend their money and who they spend their money with. They’re now looking for genuine companies that give a positive return on investment and are much more cautious at choosing which supplier to use.
What are some of the leading SEO trends one should watch out for?
One of the SEO trends that we should watch out for, is that Google and other search engines are heading down a path of offering very localized results. And, that’s not just in the Maps listing, that’s also in the organic listings. So, if you are a business that’s based in a particular suburb and your services are primarily in that suburb, this will be beneficial to you. If you’re a business that services a large range of suburbs or a whole city, or even a larger area, it can be a harder task to get traction in this larger range of suburbs.
Another trend is that Google is investing heavily in identifying the owner of a business or the author of the website content. They want to give results that have some authority to them, and so they are now looking at the person or the business who has written that content to make sure that that person is qualified to give the advice they’re giving. This is a positive step from Google and will mean that we have results that you can rely upon. It means for a business owner, it’s important to show your skills and your authority and tie that to the information or the website your own.
If for a particular keyword, your business is not appearing on the first page of the search result, chances are, no one is visiting your website. What are some of the factors that affect search engine results?
To get to the first page of Google, there’s two main areas of SEO that will help you. These are onsite and offsite.
Onsite is the work you do on your website, and that’s about ensuring your website follows Google’s best practice. This includes things like correct page titles and URLs, and ensuring your content is structured in a way that fits what Google is looking for.
Offsite is about having other websites mention your business and link to your business website. This is an ongoing thing and something that a good SEO company will specialize in.
In your view, which works better, Facebook Marketing or Search Marketing or a combination of both. In your opinion, are these marketing strategies underutilized?
The better option ofFacebook marketing or search engine marketing largely depends on the current position of your business. To simplify things, I believe Facebook is best used for branding and remarketing, not direct traffic. I believe that search engine marketing is best if you don’t have a lot of traffic and you need to get that traffic.
So, if you currently have a small amount of website traffic, then your best approach is search marketing. If you already have traffic, or once you get that traffic, then you can look at Facebook for increasing that traffic, or increasing your conversion rate.
What suggestions would you give to small businesses who do not have big marketing budget but want to spend something in their marketing campaigns? What should they focus on?
If your business does not have a big marketing budget, they should focus on small gains in Google’s organic, non-paid results. This is often highly relevant traffic that you don’t need to be constantly paying for.
As a business, you should establish what are your non-competitive search terms. These are things that people will type into Google to find your product or service. Once you’ve established what those are, and you find some that you are not competing against other large businesses, then target your website efforts towards those search terms. This will give you an initial traffic boost that you can then use to fund further marketing efforts.
As an expert in this field, what is the future of SEO?
The future of SEO is about providing the search engines with useful, well-presented content. This will always be a winning strategy. Once you have written the content or provided the content on your website, then it’s about proving that you’re an authority in your field. This is so the search engine will trust you and present your website at the top of the results instead of your competitors.
An Interview with Kunal Shah, Founder of Rank My Business
Rank My Business is a Melbourne and Mumbai based start-up that provides Digital Marketing services to its clients. Having more than 60 employees, this startup entered the Indian market in 2019 and quickly grabbed deals with some of the leading brands in the lifestyle, hospitality, E-commerce, technology, & healthcare sectors.
Kunal, Thank you for talking with us. How and when did you come up with the idea of Rank My Business?
We started off as a primarily mobile app developing company, which is reflected in the name of our parent company, Appsbizz Group of Companies. Over time, we realized the need gap for a specialist digital agency that helps businesses get more out of digital, by increasing their online visibility and reach in an affordable way.
We knew that the search engine results page was going to become a tough, yet precious digital terrain to conquer over the next few years, and this is how the idea of Rank My Business was born. Our agency offers effective, tried, and tested digital solutions for all types of clients, from startups to mid-sized businesses and above.
Tell us more about your entrepreneurial journey
I would say that creativity and out-of-the-box thinking has always been my forte. But I didn’t start off as an entrepreneur. After completing my Masters in IT from Melbourne, I spent some years working in a corporate setup there, which gave me a good sense of how the Australian market works.
As I always was digitally inclined, I decided to start off my own agency, to help businesses through well structured and innovative ways to market their businesses online. We were a very small team initially, and this was a side gig along with my regular corporate job. I would be literally working two shifts, one at my day job, and the other, pitching to local businesses about the services we provide. This went on for a few years. Over time, I started getting more clients, and we had a larger volume of work coming in. This was when I had to make a choice, and decided that I needed to give my full time and attention to my agency, and that is how my entrepreneurial journey started off.
It has been going good so far, and I find a lot of satisfaction in creating a positive impact in our clients’ businesses, and lifestyles through our work.
The ongoing Pandemic has taught most of the traditional businesses that having an online presence is not an option any more. What are your thoughts on this?
This is so true! I have always maintained that having an effective digital presence is important, and the current pandemic has illustrated that and how. We will all agree that the internet has been one of our major support systems during these times, and the fact that we can get our essential needs and other requirements met from the safety of our homes is an indisputable fact.
While all businesses have taken a hit, we can clearly see that the companies which have had a better online presence and visibility have been able to weather this storm better. Digital first is the new normal, and even going forward, this will only become stronger. So for businesses that are yet to invest in their digital presence and marketing, this already has been a wake-up call.
Taking the last question forward, just having an online presence is not the solution. People should be able to find you online for say, certain keywords more than they can find your competitors. What are some of the ways, online businesses can achieve this?
You’ve put it really well. Yes, it isn’t enough to merely have an online presence if you are not found by your prospective customers when they are looking for you! And Search Engine Optimization, popularly known as SEO, is one of the ways businesses can achieve the desired visibility online. Put simply, this is the process that will help websites rank for specific keywords on search engine results.
Now there are 2 types of keywords – brand keywords and non brand keywords or generic keywords. Ranking of brand keywords is absolutely mandatory for all businesses; there are no two ways about it. A good branding exercise will get more people to search for your brand online, but it is also really important for your brand to be visible for generic, category centric keywords as well. This is what will ultimately bring in new visitors to your website.
SEO involves a long-term, sustained effort to outrank your digital competitors, and improve your rank, using specific tactics to improve the overall user experience and offer more value. All businesses, online and offline, should look at engaging a reputable SEO specialist agency for this purpose.
Your firm Rank My Business has helped several companies achieve their Digital Marketing Goals. Tell us more about how you take any project with your clients forward.
Our approach starts off with getting to know our clients better. We take all the relevant business details and understand their short term and long term digital goals. We then analyse their online presence against competitors in their own industry, and propose customized, ROI driven solutions.
In your view, what are some of the important SEO trends one should keenly follow?
This is a very interesting question, more so as this answer will continually change. However, what will not change is the emphasis on creating a better, more enriching user experience.
At this point of time, as a higher percentage of people access digital content and services from a smartphone, it is absolutely essential to focus on improving the mobile site experience, including the mobile site loading speed. Apart from this, it also helps to create long form content along with video content and social media content, and doing Voice Search Optimization as well for the increasing voice searches.
In your view, of all the marketing techniques including content marketing, video marketing and others, which works best? Or it has to be a combination of different techniques?
I believe that each technique has its own salient points, and can offer that little extra edge to the brand. So yes, I feel that the right combination of multiple techniques and tactics, both organic and paid, can help brands achieve their digital goals.
I would also like to state that there is no set digital formula for success, and the combination of the different techniques can best be decided only after an in-depth analysis of the company’s goals.
How has Covid-19 impacted your business?
This pandemic has not spared any business, it seems. Even digital agencies like ours have been affected, as most of our clients are experiencing a massive slowdown and some of them have even had to temporarily stop their operations since months. In times like these, just getting by becomes a challenge, let alone spending on marketing and future growth.
In the case of Rank My Business, I am proud to say that we have successfully managed to retain over 80% of our clients, and continue to help them with their digital activities. These clients understand that this is the best option for them in the given times, as everyone is now spending more time online. It is actually a good opportunity for brands who aren’t active online, to continue being active and put out engaging content that will help them stay connected with their customers and prospects.
Lastly, for our readers who want to have a better online presence, what suggestions would you give?
As I shared earlier in this interview, one of the keys to digital success is having a balanced strategy for all digital channels, and be consistent in your efforts. Focus on improving you online user experience and look for ways to offer more value, wherever you can.
7 Amazing Tips for Setting up Office Supplies at Home
A brief guide for North America Shipping
An Interview with Criminal Defense and Family Attorney Alexander Petraglia
Interview1 year ago
An Interview with Joel Arun Sursas, Head of Clinical Affairs at Biorithm, Singapore
More1 year ago
6 Promising Up and Coming Fashion Companies
Interview8 months ago
An Interview with Russell Jack, Southland-based Yogapreneur and Mindfulness Teacher
More3 years ago
Factors to Consider When Planning Your Office Design and Layout
Other Internet Tech3 years ago
How to become an IPTV reseller? A beginner’s guide
More3 years ago
IPTV business for beginners
Business Ideas3 years ago
50 Small Business ideas with low investment
More3 years ago
Advantages of Using Ride-hailing Services for Transportation