I’m getting ready to buy a car, but if I simply search for the word car, I’m not telling you much. It’s a very general term and it could mean thousands of things. You don’t know if I’m interested in new or used, buying or leasing, and even the search results are all over the place. This is why looking at individual words or very general words can be deceiving. While the word cars is searched on the most of any word in the car category, it offers very little in terms of relevance.
We honestly don’t know what the searcher means with this single-word search. It could be a BMW. It could be a local dealer. It could be a kid looking for a poster for their room. The only way to get intent is to look for more words, so when someone searches for low-mileage used BMW in Springfield, now we get the intent.
We get the where, what, and the brand, and now that, we can work with. The more words used in a search phrase, the more intent that it communicates.
When you know the intent, you can use those words to optimize, label, and integrate into your content. It starts by making a seed list of search terms. A seed list is oh, about 10 to 15 words or phrases that describe your business.
In this course, I’m going to use the example site of Explore California, and I’m going to start my seed list simply by describing the tours, products, and services that they offer. It’s mainly hiking, backpacking, biking, and nature tours.
Think about these words from the standpoint of the searcher. What are they looking for? Then look at your list and see how the searches progress from simple to lengthy. The progression shows us how searchers may modify or adapt their search and refine their term in order to get the results they need.
The progression will also show you the stages of a searcher’s thinking. Start by asking, what non-branded searches bring people to my site? Then, do those searches lead to other searches? In my list, I’m starting with a general search, California hiking, and it can lead to many other detailed searches.
Now I call this the Disney effect. You see, people start by searching for a Disney vacation and that leads to searches about flights, hotels, restaurants, what to do, what to see, what’s nearby, and other recommendations. One search triggers dozens of other searches throughout the life cycle of that search phrase. In this way, work through the needs of your prospect.
What need triggers their initial search? Is your product that search or is it the result of other searches? Are there other triggers that start their progression and how they work their way to your product? Here’s your assignment.
Come up with a seed list of 15 to 20 non-branded keywords that you think people use to find your website. This is based on their need. How would people find you?