We read a lot about SEO and ensuring that we use the right keywords in our content to ensure we come high up on the Search Engine Results Pages. But to do this, and get highly ranked, we need to know what the online searcher intent is.
Are they just merely curious, doing actual research, want to buy, want to recommend to a friend or something altogether different? People’s intentions are not always obvious, so, when writing content, we need to make some assumptions if our webpage is to match their actual needs.
Let’s take the example of someone looking at Fine Art.
If they type Fine Art into the search bar they are going to get a wide range of results.
In my case I found 179 million results and on page one of Google I was presented with the dictionary definition, a piece on Wikipedia, some courses at various unis and a Fine Art company not far from my search location.
These results will be, at least in part, based on my previous search history. No two people see exactly the same results.
To get ranked for a page where the search is so generic we need to write a piece of content that addresses something generic and informative but is at the same time specific. That’s quite a challenge. If it were me I’d probably go for a definition of fine art. Then I’d add something to the Wikipedia page that someone will link to my page … more about how to do this another day.
The Research Intent
If I then wanted to research the courses I might get more success by searching for Fine Art Courses.
In this case Google even suggests some alternative to my Fine Art Courses search. E.g. London, UK and online. It then displays a load of ads, a snippet about A BA at Falmouth then a series of courses based on what is most relevant to my search.
Clearly very focused content on a particular fine art course will do the trick here. But there are a lot of competitors and the art is in writing the copy that answers the searchers true intent. The use of synonyms and other closely related terms will help immensely. Google knows which pages give good user experience, has analysed their content and will expect to see related content. For example a page on fine art courses is likely to contain the words, module, programme, art history etc. Therefore it will expect you to at least some of these words and phrases. That is not to say you have to use all of them but if your page is going to be highly ranked it is likely to have some of these.
The Purchase Intent
Now I see a totally different set of results .. based on my new intent.
The results are about sale rooms, with ads from saatchiart, the Royal Academy and respected art dealers.
Then we have the organic results where the page content is about buying fine art. Notice the first organic result is from a website called www.buy-fineart.com
This isn’t a coincidence. Content is certainly king but calling your site something that aligns with the search term provides a big advantage.
So to get highly ranked here you need to write content that contains some of the keywords they use. Words like purchase, sale, sold etc are obvious ones. Any page with none of these words is highly unlikely to be ranked high.
The Black Art of Content
The real trick with content is to get the right mix of words and phrases whilst being even more focused than your competitors. It is a black art .. but extremely satisfying and rewarding when you crack it.
And of course you need to write for people and not search engines. Otherwise even if your page were ranked visitors would soon be turned off by content that felt unnatural i.e. written for a robot!
Another point to consider is the fact that, although we need to be concise, where visitors use different keywords but clearly have the same intent, we need to produce one page of content. Intent is what we should be focusing on. We need to consider all the keywords that share the same searcher intent, where the searcher is trying to essentially accomplish the same thing.
So phrases like, buy fine art, purchase fine art and possibly fine art auction, all have the same searcher intent. Although it could be argued that fine art auction would also fit phrases like sell fine art. I said it was a black art!
The above works for any type of page content .. not just fine art courses. Get this right and add the right meta tags to guide Google and you can beat 98-99% of your competitors with no further effort.