To maximize the real benefits of your SEO efforts you must focus on the quality of your traffic instead of just the quantity of your traffic. The simplest way to begin to shift your mindset is to start by understanding how your target audience is searching for your products and services. Once you understand that, you can strategize how to position yourself in front of them and deliver the information that they are looking for.
In this blog, I will examine how to make user search intent the focus of your SEO strategy, how to generate quality traffic, and how to measure that quality traffic.
Search intent is the SEO equivalent of the timeless buyer persona marketing exercise. It is imperative that you understand who your audience is, how they search, and how you can best deliver that information to them.
From Google’s point of view, they want their users to have the best experience possible when someone uses their search engine. The best way for them to do this is to make sure the search results they retrieve match what the user is actually looking for.
Build Your Keyword Strategy Around Search Intent
Start off by asking yourself what problem you are solving for your target audience. By putting yourself in the searcher’s shoes, you can begin to develop a seed keyword list. Using this list, you can then carry out additional research and develop a wider scope understanding of your topic.
A smart place to start is with www.answerthepublic.com. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this tool, you can search words or terms on their site and see real questions and queries that are being searched on Google. This eliminates guessing on your end and allows you to develop content that answers actual questions being asked by searchers. Go through your seed keyword list and do this for each one and then develop a content strategy that is tailored to your audience.
In addition to this, you should always put these words, terms, and questions into Google as well. This will allow you to see the related searches on Google which gives you more insight on what is being searched.
Lastly, make a list of 3-5 of your biggest competitors and use tools like SEMrush and SpyFu to see what keywords they are visible on.
Once you gather all of this data, you can use it to make your full keyword list and create quality content that your audience will actually want.
Taking A Quality Approach to Content Strategy
Every piece of content on your website should be focused on answering the searcher’s question or solving their problem. Keywords should be how you position yourself in front of the user, and your content should be the information that they want and need.
Since our attention spans are at an all-time low, it is imperative to develop content that is SEO focused, and also easy to read.
Here are a few best practices to remember:
Use Impactful Headlines
Reinforce your message by using impactful headlines within your content. Big bold header text will jump off the page immediately and let your reader know that you do in fact have the answer to their question.
We all absorb information differently, and most readers want content delivered in a variety of ways. Utilize images, charts, graphs, videos, and anything else you can to add flair and personality to your site.
Break Up Your Content
Since readers have short attention spans, big blocks of text will send them running to the hills, or at least back to the SERP. According to HubSpot, 43% of people admit to skimming blogs. Keep your information easily readable.
Take Aim at Featured Snippets
If your content gets picked up as a featured snippet and put into position zero along with the first position you will see 31% more traffic according to Smart Insights. To do this remember to answer direct questions, and create content with tables, bullet points, steps, and numbered lists.
To do this remember to answer direct questions, and create content with tables, bullet points, steps, and numbered lists.
Generate Quality Traffic with a Strong Linking Structure
Internal linking adds value to your readers because they have easy access to other resources and information related to their original query. In turn, it also adds value to you since the more time on your website and the more pages they visit the greater chance that they will carry out some sort of business action.
Here are a few best practices:
- Link content to other content
- Use descriptive anchor text
- Add links when refreshing old content
Improving SEO from a UX Perspective
The user experience shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to your SEO approach. From a technical standpoint, having fast load times, an easily navigable website, and not having error pages will improve the users experience on your website. The last thing you want to do is to drive traffic away with easily avoidable technical issues.
Utilize any number of the available tools and ensure that your website is fast moving and easy to use for all of your visitors.
Measuring Quality Traffic
To this point, we’ve covered all of the best practices and planning that goes into your new quality traffic plan. Now we need to track and analyze how these new strategies are panning out for us.
Let’s start but identifying a few important metrics to keep an eye on. Important metrics for quality include bounce rate, average session duration, average pages per session, and keyword rankings. Again, we don’t want to focus on how many people are visiting our site but instead look at what traffic is helping our business.
Knowing what the key metrics only matters if we know how to measure their success. Here are few data points to measure against.
- In a recent study by Little Data, they found that the average pages per session was 3.0.
- For bounce rate, an excellent percentage is 26%-40% (RocketFuel).
- For average session duration, the average is between 2-3 minutes according to a recent study by databox.
If you are in these ranges, or hopefully exceeding them, then you are in optimal shape. If not, then keep working on the tips from earlier into you find your self with results like these.
One easy way to keep track of your metrics is to set up goals in Google Analytics and track not just averages for these metrics but also how many people a month are registering quality visits. Look at what pages are performing best and make sure that you have lead capture forms there. Traffic is only as good as what we can do with it.
By tracking your keyword rankings and understanding what words you rank well for and what other ones you do not, you can use the strategies I’ve described above to improve your rankings If there are certain words you really want to (or need to) rank for, you can use these insights to create and execute a plan to resolve this.
SEO is not an exact science and testing and analyzing results is an ongoing process. Hopefully, this approach of focusing on your end-user and aiming for quality traffic will help you and your business elevate your SEO results.
For more details on the missing ingredient in your SEO strategy, watch this free on-demand webinar now.