If are familiar with the concept of SEO and targeting specific audiences based on demographic or psychographic profiles, all of that is a wash when you consider targeting consumer search behavior instead.
This by far is one of the most underutilized components of market research. The idea is not to target keywords but to target behaviors and respective markets based on those keywords.
The notion is simple, if a consumer is using a broad match level keyword like car or engine, the search results they are looking at are not the most suitable for conversion.
In fact, targeting broad level phrases like this entices a different type of individual, mostly someone interested in educational endeavors vs. making a purchase.
However, by essentially drilling in to the search behavior of the typical motivated buyer, you can uncover treasure troves of keywords, modifiers and secondary / less competitive keywords and modifiers which you can dominate with less effort while building relevance and traction for the more competitive 2 and 3 word vertical keywords that reside at the summit of search intent.
Just consider this intercepting intent and funneling visitors to your website based on the correlation of relevance that exists based on your on page focus. The takeaway here is, if you understand behavior, action words and the verbs people use when they use search engines, then you can craft you pages, keywords and content in such as way that it is inherently conducive to conversion.
I have alluded in the past to ignore the long tail at your own risk, but under the same logic, never targeting the more competitive keywords (because you don’t know how) or you assume they are just too unrealistic to acquire.
Trust me, competitive keywords are worth it, the long-tail is great (groups of 4 key phrases or more), but having a top 3 spot for a competitive keyword can develop an entirely new perspective on traffic and conversion.
Like a faucet that never stops running, competitive keywords have a seemingly never-ending stream of traffic that if courted properly (with conversion paths or landing pages) can be a complete game changer for any businesses online marketing strategy.
Pages can rank for more than one keyword, in fact the idea is to use occurrence and co occurrence across multiple pages (like a thread of relevance) to cement keyword positioning *singular, plural instances as well as tactful modifiers.
Suggested reading on this topic is:
- Search Behavior and Why Ranking Above the Fold Matters
- Keywords and Modifiers, How People Find your Website
Stop Targeting Keywords Target Behaviors
- Courting Keywords & Finding the Most Important Keywords
- Search Behavior, Relevance, Retrieval and Intent
- SEO and Intent Where Search Meets Results
There is no reason to recreate the wheel for your website, just find a vein of traffic and tap into it. Remove rigid constructs and use keyword research to dig into to modifiers, verbs and actionable keyword clusters to hit the mother lode when it comes to driving relevant traffic to your most cherished pages (day in and day out).
Eventually for every keyword with traction, it will stem into 10-20 more variations over time. The key is to get started somewhere, at the head of the most relevant keywords, in the mid-tail or the long-tail of search.
Behavior is the missing link between you website ranking or tanking online, and if you can model your site based on keywords with traction, you can then polish off the most important thing next – post click marketing and conversion…