A great way to build and expand on a keyword strategy is to use Consumer Intent Modeling. The concept of consumer intent modeling is not really new but it is unique to many small to midsized companies. Essentially understanding consumer intent means having a good idea of the needs and wants of your target audience as it relates to your products.
It is so surprising how often marketers spend time promoting their products based on what they think their customer or audience wants to hear. Unfortunately, this often appears very one-sided in its approach and can alienate the target customers. Please remember this: “you are not your target audience”. This is one of the best reminders for getting and keeping the right mindset for marketing anywhere but especially on the web. Successful marketers go to great lengths to research and understand the mindset, attitudes, needs and behavior of their target audience. They are great marketers because they speak directly to these needs and desires with compelling messages and calls-to-action.
When looking for ways to capture consumer intent, marketers can turn to a number of industry sources detailing everything from consumer trends in retail categories to specific buying patterns that are broken out by age, income, location and a myriad of other variables. One of my favorite sources of consumer data is Comscore. Comscore has done an amazing job of capturing a high level of consumer preferences. When I worked at Ask.com I was able to test out a new search analysis tool that tracks keyword search behavior from the Comscore “panel” of something like a million users (I forget the exact number). Using this tool I was able to see what users were typing into search tools and then drill down into the demographics of these users. Unfortunately, there was no budget to support the use of this tool but I just loved the ability to see specific searches in every category I reviewed.
I once spoke with a particularly good SEO/web producer by the name of Aaron Tooley. He shared with me that he was not as excited about search terms that were highly popular. What he cared about was the more narrowly defined search phrases that fit nicely into his target content. He knows that he can rank well for his rare terms and that his pages both rank for and have the best conversions.
What we are talking about is taking a strategic look at the terms for which we need a site to rank. There have been a number of times where we look at a site that focuses primarily on what terms the company wants to promote thereby missing the terms used by the target customer.
Another tool to help learn about consumers is Quantcast. This site also collects traffic and search behavior data and adds in the demographic data. You can see how this works for free by visiting the site and entering a site URL.
In this example for Pandora.com the site has added in the tracking pixel that allows the site to be measured directly. The interface provides some very interesting traffic and demographic data that can help to confirm assumptions about the targeting of media and content. What the SEO manager will be looking at is all of the ways to leverage terms that resonate with the target demographic. This data shows that the Pandora.com site is a big hit with young singles that are probably in college or right out of highschool.
As you can see there are a number of ways to understand consumer intent and leverage it for your keyword targeting. You can look at this sort of like hunting in that good keywords especially the ones with a high conversion ratio are the target.
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