Search intent, keyword categorization and other crazy SEO stuff that matters when creating content


  • Understanding search intent or search behaviour can be challenging
  • Consider categorizing your keywords into informational, commercial and transactional
  • Ask the client for assistance to clarify which terms are actually relevant if you’re unsure


Matt:                                     When you build a page, some new content, how much effort, and importance do you put on the search intent? Because I think that’s going to grow as a strong influence on Google, that the intent is matching the search query on the page. And, just wondering how much you see as… Is that being important or growing in importance?

John:                                     I think intent has always been important. I think relevance matters most of all. For a lot of the content, if we… What type of content are we talking about, Matt? Product pages, service pages, traditional blogs?

Matt:                                     It could be anything really. Yeah. So, depending on who the client is, and what traffic I’m going after, sometimes it could be, I’m after some buyer intent search, where they’re looking for prices and things like that. So, the intent on that page is going to be different to, if it’s like a company selling products in a different… It might be, we’re trying to provide valuable information. And, it’s something I heard a few years ago that sort of … If you’re working on a company that sells chicken coops, right, you’re not actually they’re selling chicken coops, you’re… What you should be thinking is, this is a lifestyle website. And, we’re trying to improve the health and safety of animals, and that’s the intent that the information we’re trying to provide. And, we’re trying to help pet owners become better, more responsible with their pets, and help them look after them.

Matt:                                     And so, if you start building content and talking to your clients in that way, it’s going to resonate more with the client because they’re going to see that you’re a valuable resource, where you’re adding good information, and you’re also selling products that can help them do that. And so, when you think about how if you’re in the building industry, you’re helping someone create the house for their dreams. And, it’s not just I’m trying to sell some roof battens, or you know what I mean? You’re trying to help them make a good decision about living in the house that they’ve always wanted to, and this is how we can help. We’re an information service. And, we can guide you and lead you to make the right decisions. And, we can help you save some money, and show you the right products to use. That’s the approach I take in a lot of clients I’ve got.

John:                                     Yeah. It’s a great question. And, it can be really easy to overlook this. And, this is something that I feel like it matters a lot, I think. Before worrying about intent and going down to the… worrying about intent and going breaking it down to that level, I think you’ve got to go think about the level above that first. Right? And, think about exactly who you’re speaking to. Right? Who’s your ideal customer? And, this is something that… You’ve got to have this conversation with the client. Who are we talking to? And, I know that that might seem like an odd question, and it might seem pretty obvious. And, people might think, “Who the fuck… Of course, we’re talk… We’re selling chicken coops. We want people that want to buy chicken coops.” But, sometimes you need to actually stop and have a good think about that.

John:                                     There was an interesting discussion I had with John on one of the previous calls. I’m not sure if you had a chance to watch those videos where he was helping someone that sold turf on the Central Coast here. And, in and amongst the conversation… I can’t remember exactly who their target audience was, but it was along the lines of landscapers and groundskeepers within golf courses. Right? So, it could be… You know what I’m saying? When you actually stop, and give it some thought, and think about exactly the people who you’re talking to, once you’ve got that clear, then that makes delivering the message so much easier. Right? Because it can be real easy to sit down and say, “Well, we just want to sell fucking turf. Whoever wants to buy turf.” Right? In some industries it could be easier than others. That could certainly be true. But, I think, that should be a starting point. Okay. It should be really clear who you’re actually speaking to.

John:                                     And I make sure of that on Bring the SEO. I make sure that all of the content I create resonates with other freelancers that are providing SEO services, right, because I’m clear about who I’m talking to. And, I’ve certainly made this mistake before. I actually… If you go and read some of the content on my own business site, SEO Point, Matt… The message in some of that content… It’s not aimed at the right audience because some of my articles that I’ve published are aimed at people that are actually doing SEO. Right? So, this is something that I’ve even had to learn myself. Okay, who the fuck am I actually talking to? Right? And, I think that’s where you need to start first. Right?

John:                                     And, I know that, again, that might sound obvious. And, you can only imagine getting on a call with a client and saying, “Well, who are we actually speaking to?” And, they say, “We sell fucking red widgets. People that want to buy red witches.” But, when you actually break it down, and get it really clear about who the ideal customer is, that can help you, help guide you in terms of crafting your content and delivering the right message, which of course then leads to conversions, sales, customer inquiries, and so forth. So, that should be the level above.

John:                                     Now, the next level down is something that I talk about in the training, which is where I talk about breaking your keywords. And, this falls under intent. I’m breaking your keywords into informational… I categorise them in three separate ways. Informational terms, commercial terms, and transactional. Right? And, using chicken coops. And, I tried to scribble down some examples here, and hopefully, this makes sense. So, if you’re working with someone that was selling chicken coops, informational content might be something around breeding cycle of chickens. Right?

John:                                     And you see this topic content fucking everywhere. Right? You go to a site, an online store, and they sell office equipment, and they’ll have content on there, you know, five best ways to decorate your office. I mean that seems to me like warm and fluffy nonsense. Right? It’s informational. It’s not really transactional. That may attract buyers, but it fits more so into the informational category, or what I would consider informational.

John:                                     Now, the next one down, commercial, the commercial category. I would use an example like farming chicken coops. Right? Or, something that might indicate large scale operations. So, it’s not like, how many fucking claws do chickens have? You know what I mean? It’s more along the lines of, okay, well this is… if that’s our potentially our ideal customer profile, sells chicken coops. We want to sell to people that have got large scale operations that want to buy 10,000 of these fucking things. Then something like farming chicken coops, and I’m just using examples off the top of my head, might be something where that might fit into that commercial category.

John:                                     Now, the transactional stuff is where you get people that are really hot. And, that’s where they are tying in terms like purchase, buy, download, order. That sort of thing. So, like order chicken coops online, or buy chicken coops, or… Do you know what I’m saying? So, they’ve got transactional terms or modifiers within the actual search term itself.

Matt:                                     It’s like the funnel isn’t it? Top of funnel, mid funnel and bottom funnel.

John:                                     Yeah. I guess you might be able to think about it that way. But, at least being aware of that, I think, matters, being aware of that keyword categorization. And, that’s something that I haven’t always done, but I certainly do it these days when I do my keyword research. And, I go through this in the training, and I walk you through it. So, I’m not sure if you’ve watched the keyword research videos, but I try to categorise my terms, get rid of the stuff that isn’t relevant, firstly, but then categorise by where… commercial, informational or transactional…

John:                                     And, maybe sit in with the client and say, “Okay, these are the terms that I think that are worth chasing. Which ones do you think we should focus on?” Because sometimes you can go through that process, and they might look at the keywords and go, “Aww, no. That’s an air conditioning remote. We don’t sell those.” Because no one, and I say this a lot, no one knows the business better than the business owner. Right? So you can’t just make the assumption that, oh, this looks like a great keyword. Sometimes you need to go back. You’ve got to be careful though, because I know I’ve sent spreadsheets over to clients and said, “Can you give me a hand? Make sense of these terms,” and fuck me. They come back and say, “We need all of them.” And, there’s 80,000 keywords in a spreadsheet. You’re like, “Oh God. Why did I fucking ask?”

John:                                     But, I think all of that stuff matters, Matt. And, I guess that would fall under intent. It can be difficult at times to understand search behaviour intent, or the intent of what they’re actually doing because… I could be sitting here. I might’ve just visited my auntie’s place, and she’s got a really bad cockroach infestation at her place, and I come home here, and I search for cockroach spray cost, but I’m just looking for information so that I can pass that onto her. So-

Matt:                                     Yeah…..

John:                                     … it can be challenging.

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