[Micro Guide] Explaining search intent

SirLouen

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During the last years, I've had (and still have) the (bad) habit to watch some SEO courses in my spare time with the great premise of "being always learning"

The thing with this is that SEO courses tend to have 90% of imagination and 10% of trustworthyness. Specially those that have not ever conduct a single experiment in their life.

One of the most interesting topics regarding positioning is the search intent missconception relating to keyword analysis, something that I've found that by most instructors it seems to not be clearly understood.

To understand search intent, we have to be in the query issuer shoes for a moment, leaving apart our purposes or our clients purposes. This could be difficult, but performed in other industries can help us better tha if we try to imagine this with our own industry.

1. Let's put an example.

Let's say that our client is a camping called "Tulsa Camping" which has been recently created (without a big history of the well-known historic tulsa camping"

Seems legit that we try to position our client's camping in first place for such a keyword combination: "tulsa camping" or "camping tulsa".

The problem is that Tulsa, is a big city, in Oklahoma with a lot of campings, some of them, very well known by people that like to do camping regularly.

So, technically associating a new brand "tulsa camping" with a query intent "tulsa camping" seems to be a weird idea. But for some reason, people has this idea, as naming their attorney buffet, "Tulsa Attorneys"

2. The issue

The issue is that if you think in the feet of the query issue, things change A LOT.

I'm a RV fan which I'm travelling through Oklahoma and need to do a stop in Tulsa. Thinking on this I may search for "tulsa camping".

3. What is the type of search result I will prefer the most?

A) Google Maps seems to be growing, in multiple aspects: reviews, photos, and a full interface that tries to give a hotel-booking-experience all the way with huge advertising features. Which seems legit to be in first place, specially considering that is owned by the query provider

B) Camping specialized sites, namely, directories. Those with reviews, preferred.

C) A single camping? Only if it has a huge reputation but never in top 5, please.

Now we think:
"Which could be the page PA/UR of a camping specialized site for a city like Tulsa?"
Or even worse... for a remote city with 10K population.

The SEO instructor may suggest: Analyze the competition before you launch the project

4. Here is what happens if you analyze the competition disregarding the search intent

Position 1: Google Maps, generally disregarded
Position 2 to 5: Directory results with low PA/UR
Position 6 to 10: Possibily some campings pages without a SEO manager, with hardly no links and a semi-professional site with hardly no infor about the camping

Result of the analysis: Low competition for "tulsa camping", great niche kw to start with.

5. The mistake

And here is the big mistake: If you don't care much about ranking in positions 6-10, targeting this type of query is adequate.

You may outrank all those non-professional camping sites if you introduce a good content and put some links in your site. With a little big of extra effort you may go up to position 4-5. Forget about positions 1-3 forever. You may get a 30 DA 30 PA site with a good job that could easily compete with those low PA sites. But you may never outrank directory results with a HUGE lower value in terms of content + links + anything you care about SEO

Why? Because your search doesn't satisfy point 3, the type of search result we may expect

So despite you simply have everything, your CTR will always be pain awful. And if you manage to increase your CTR, your bounce rate will be absurd. Because people are looking for options when search for such a broad query.

This rules can be broken with enough effort and dedication, but generally the ROI will be destroyed in the process.

6. Conclusion

Most of us, have been brain eaten with "target the keywords that have the greatest conversion", (i.e, is better to go in first position for "buy (your product type)" than just "(your product type) review", because the intent is different and people are not drawn to buy).

But this doesn't apply to any kw research.

Now with Google My Business the rules change and "camping tulsa" with your camping fully optimized could be a great idea, but in G Search, it's if not the worst, one of the worst idea.

So start thinking out of the box, and in case, you are really commited to Tulsa, then focus 90% in GMB. That is the real thing that is worth investing your time for the given keywords. Or think that maybe that search engine that have to be "broken" is the search engine within the aggregator (tripadvisor, campgroundreviews, ...) within this niche example. Maybe you may discover, that a simple investment on those sites is way more profitable than a huge effort on ranking your own site, rowing upstream of the query intent, all the way through.
 

topakins

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Yes, one area of problem for me in keyword research is searcher's intent. And it seems the more I read the less I understand. At least, I can take away some things from your write up. Thanks.
 

TheVigilante

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Not many keyword research guides talk about this!

Great job!
 

Purush

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You touched different angle of KW research. good one.
 

Sburator

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Excellent guide. Thank you very much.

Just to come with a solution to your challenge - in theory, you should create a beter directory, with more information, reviews & links to get to the 2nd position for your querry.

Basically, same/similar website type - the type visitors would expect/are looking for - but better, bigger & stronger. Is that correct?
 
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SirLouen

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Basically, same/similar website type - the type visitors would expect/are looking for - but better, bigger & stronger. Is that correct?

There are multiple techniques. You could do for example a review of "Best campings in Tulsa", yourself in the top which highly satisfies the query. The problem is that you will need to put the competence also in the list. And generally is very feared to do this. But could be a good deceiving strategy done well.
 

Dreams411

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Keyword research plays a very significant role in SEO. Nice write up.
 

tidelow

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Thanks for sharing the insight. I agree, accurately targeting search intent while doing keyword research is very important.
 

jul3s

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watch some SEO courses in my spare time with the great premise of "being always learning"

This is exactly why I read your post - always be learning! :D For someone that has ZERO knowledge about SEO, kw research, etc. your post makes so much sense. I’ve learned something new! Thank you.
 
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