How User Intent Shapes Web Marketing Strategy
For a moment let’s say you own a company that sells surfboards. Your goal is to drive as many visitors to your website as possible, but you want to make sure that they are the right ones. Perhaps lately your analytics have shown an increase in traffic, but that hasn’t equated to more surfboard sales. If you understand the user intent behind searches and apply this to your web marketing strategy, you may be able to bring more relevant traffic to your website and increase conversions.
There are multiple stages to the buying process, and it is important to deliver relevant content at each stage. Generally consumers explore a potential purchase or solution on a broad scale before they engage in more detailed research and comparisons. Their search language tends to become more specific as they get closer to making a buying decision, and they use different terms. Consider the intent behind searching for “beginner surfboard” as opposed to “best priced surfboard” coupled with a specific location.
When your website receives a visitor who is early stages of the consumer journey, it is important to be a source of inspiration and also to show that your company is a reputable source that can be trusted for information. Content that helps to educate potential customers shows that you are a resource and may encourage them to revisit your website. Following the awareness stage, however, this type of content becomes less relevant. When you receive a visitor who is researching, comparison shopping, or who has ultimately made a decision to purchase from you, the information that you deliver will be need to be quite different to meet their needs.
With consumers using mobile devices to engage in short bursts of search activity, as opposed to longer desktop sessions, the number of potential times that they will interact with your website has increased. We used to think about a linear path to making a purchase, but consumer behavior no longer follows this pattern generally. Your potential surfboard buyer is researching all the time, as she waits in line at the store, sits in traffic, or takes a break from work. Consumers are making decisions in incremental steps, and it is important to deliver the type of content they are seeking at that particular moment.
Semantic understanding of website content and search is the direction we are headed, and it ultimately will deliver more relevant results to users. While Google and other search engines are not there yet, algorithms are becoming more sophisticated. Your web marketing strategy will be more creative and effective if you consider the user intent behind a search term and the actual meaning of a particular query. Keyword research will reveal terms to target with your website, landing pages, and ads, but engage in further analysis to determine what information will meet the needs of people searching with those particular terms. Allow user intent and its relationship to the consumer journey to help you reach potential customers every step along the way.