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SearchLeeds 2019 - Rory Truesdale - Intent optimisation: Why it matters and how it can improve your SEO results

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Searcher intent is becoming one of the most talked about topics in SEO, and it’s easy to see why with Google getting better at understanding intent and ranking sites it sees as aligned with that intent. Rory shares tips on identifying SERP intent at scale, automating the process of categorising keywords by intent and sharing advice on how you can optimise your pages to ensure they are clearly aligned with the intent Google favours.

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SearchLeeds 2019 - Rory Truesdale - Intent optimisation: Why it matters and how it can improve your SEO results

  1. 1. Intent Optimisation Why it Matters & How it Can Improve Your SEO Results.
  2. 2. • Why does intent matter? • How to analyse & optimise for intent • Does it work? Intent Optimisation AG E N DA
  3. 3. About Me SEO Strategist Ror y Truesdale • 11 years in SEO, PR & Content Marketing • SEO Strategist at Conductor • EMEA SEO lead for WeWork • Specialising in understanding search intent @RoryT11
  4. 4. WHY DOES INTENT MATTER?
  5. 5. Whitepaper Peer reviewed academic papers unveil insight into how a search engine might classify intent: “Classic IR […] is inherently predicted on users searching for information […] the need behind a web search is often not informational – it might be navigational or transactional […] global search engines evolved to deal with web-specific needs.”
  6. 6. Google Quality Rater Guidelines In the Quality Rater Guidelines, Google specified 4 intents: KNOW The goal is to find an answer to a question DO The goal is to download, to buy, to obtain or to be entertained SITE The goal is to find a specific site or page VISIT The goal is to visit-in-person a business or organisation KNOW DO VISITSITE
  7. 7. IT’S TOO BROAD The problem with this?
  8. 8. Look at the Model Proposed by Kane Jamison Intent Classification Summary SERP Signals Research Intent Searcher looking for more information Featured snippet, people also ask results, knowledge carousels Answer Intent Searcher looking for a quick answer Scorecards, in-SERP calculators Transactional Intent Searcher looking to buy a product Google shopping results Local Intent Searcher looking for a local answer Map pack, map in knowledge panel Visual Intent Searcher looking for visual inspiration Image pack Video Intent Searcher looking for video content Video pack, video thumbnails Fresh/News Intent Searcher looking for the latest news Top Stories in the SERP, Recent tweets Branded Intent Searcher looking for a specific brand Large sitelinks, one site owning page 1 Split/Fractured Intent Searcher may have a number of ‘intents’ Mix of the above in one SERP Source
  9. 9. SIGNIFICANTLY EASIER TO CLASSIFY A SERP Much better!
  10. 10. WHY WOULD THIS BE USEFUL? Hold on…
  11. 11. Coworking space London
  12. 12. SERPs show us the intent Google favours • 8 of the top 10 organic results are ‘research’ intent pages • Lack of transactional pages tell us what Google thinks user want to find • Are we likely to get a transactional page ranking? Research Research Research Research Research Research Research Research
  13. 13. Office space London
  14. 14. Notice how the intent shifts? • 100% of page one organic results are transactional pages • This is clearly the type of search we need to target with a transactional page Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional
  15. 15. • Every searcher has a specific intent when they use Google • Google tries to surface results it thinks are relevant to that intent for specific queries • Aligning landing pages to that intent can improve ranking performance • It can also improve conversion and engagement performance for those pages What does this mean?
  16. 16. How can we apply this to our SEO campaigns? What intent does Google favour? How are competitors optimising for that intent? How can I better optimise my pages for intent & rank higher?
  17. 17. I want to help you do this at scale
  18. 18. Analyse SERP Features Tactic 1
  19. 19. Use a tool that shows SERP features broken down by keyword AHREFs You can also use: SEMrush
  20. 20. Export this and start mapping SERP intent in your vertical by keyword There’s a great guide by Kevin Indig to walk you through this: https://www.kevin-indig.com/user- intent-mapping-steroids/ Source
  21. 21. Understanding the language in the SERPs can be an even more powerful way of analysing intent This is a good place to start…but can we do more?
  22. 22. Use a Custom Search Engine (CSE) Tactic 2
  23. 23. Create a dedicated CSE for each of your most valuable keywords - Set a CSE up at cse.google.com - Extract top 100 URLs for a target keyword - Use the SERP Redux bookmarklet to extract the URLs
  24. 24. In the Settings for Your CSE, Enter ONLY the Pages Ranking for Your Target Keyword
  25. 25. What changes vs the live SERPs? • If your page ranks higher in the CSE you might have a technical/authority problem • If your page ranks lower in a CSE, you know you have to improve the relevancy of that page • In your CSE results look for occurrences of words or phrases that signify a specific intent F i l t e r y o u r C S E r e s u l t s b y ‘ r e l e v a n c e ’
  26. 26. “office [KEYWORD]” AROUND(5) “rent [MODIFIER]” Use this Advanced Search Operator in your CSE to identify how closely a keyword and ‘intent modifier’ appear in competitor landing pages In your subset of pages, this operator looks for pages where the word ‘office’ appears within 5 words of the term ‘rent’
  27. 27. A Google patent entitled ‘Document ranking using word relationships’ tells us why this analysis would be useful Source • Google can look at the closeness of words on a page to better understand how it matches the query intent of a search • Proximity of words or phrases that explicitly indicate the intent the page satisfies could be valuable to Google as part of this process
  28. 28. • Look for competitor landing pages more closely aligning keyword and intent than your landing page • Are there patterns you spot between the query term and intent modifier proximity? • If you notice this then aim to replicate that structure – it will more clearly signal to search engines what types of query your page should be ranking for What does this tell you?
  29. 29. USE A CUSTOM SERP EXTRACTION Tactic 3
  30. 30. Remember this screenshot? • Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to analyse SERP-displayed titles and descriptions at scale to help us understand intent? • We can with a custom SERP extraction! Trasactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional Transactional
  31. 31. SERPs are web pages with HTML You can crawl and extract all the content contained within that page
  32. 32. WARNING! You might annoy John Mueller I’ve written a guide about this tactic and it made John Mueller mad: https://www.searchenginejournal.co m/scrape-google-serp-custom- extractions/
  33. 33. All you need are the ‘SERP URLs’ for your keywords Luckily this always follows the same pattern Keyword = SEO Custom Extractions Google SERP URL root = https://www.google.com/search?q= Crawlable SERP URL = https://www.google.com/search?q= SEO+custom+extractions
  34. 34. Here’s a tool that does it for you! Access the tool
  35. 35. How to use a custom SERP extraction Upload your SERP URLs as a list into Screaming Frog
  36. 36. Set up a custom extraction using these XPaths (extract only text): Page Title: //*[@id="ires"]/ol/div[*]/h3 Description: //*[@id="ires"]/ol/div[*]/div/span How to use a Custom SERP Extraction Specify a Google search URL for a keyword you want to analyseTells Screaming Frog to extract the page title and meta description for each URL No SF access? Use this bookmarklet to do the same thing manually for each keyword.
  37. 37. Shows results like this…
  38. 38. Export & analyse the results in a spreadsheet like this…
  39. 39. =IF(OR(NOT(ISERR(SEARCH(“best",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEA RCH("what",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEARCH("who",C3))),NOT(I SERR(SEARCH("when",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEARCH("why",C 3))),NOT(ISERR(SEARCH("whose",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEAR CH("whether",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEARCH(“how",C3))),NO T(ISERR(SEARCH("tips",C3))))=TRUE,“Research",IF(OR(N OT(ISERR(SEARCH("buy",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEARCH("sale ",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEARCH("let",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEARC H("rent",C3))),NOT(ISERR(SEARCH(“lease",C3))),NOT(ISE RR(SEARCH("get",C3))))=TRUE,"Transactional","Intent not found")) Use this formula to assign an intent to each extracted title and description Remember – this is just a structure – you will need to tweak the words in green to make them relevant to your vertical SERP URL Title P1 Intent P1 Title P2 Intent P2 Common Intent https://www.google.co.uk/search?q =office+space+london Office Space & Desks to Rent in London | Hubble Transactional Office Space & Business Space To Let & Rent In London | Workspace Transactional Transactional https://www.google.co.uk/search?q =office+space+manchester Office Space to Rent in Manchester - Gumtree Transactional Office Space, Serviced Offices to rent & let in Manchester | Bruntwood Transactional Transactional https://www.google.co.uk/search?q =coworking+space+london The 10 best London coworking spaces Research Coworking London - a directory of co- working spaces in the british ... Research Research https://www.google.co.uk/search?q =coworking+space+manchester Overview of the 10 best co-working spaces in Manchester | EU ... Research 15 Best Coworking Spaces in Manchester | 2018 Prices & Reviews Research Research
  40. 40. Use this formula to calculate the most common intent in your SERP SERP URL Title P1 Intent P1 Title P2 Intent P2 Common Intent https://www.google.co.uk/search?q =office+space+london Office Space & Desks to Rent in London | Hubble Transactional Office Space & Business Space To Let & Rent In London | Workspace Transactional Transactional https://www.google.co.uk/search?q =office+space+manchester Office Space to Rent in Manchester - Gumtree Transactional Office Space, Serviced Offices to rent & let in Manchester | Bruntwood Transactional Transactional https://www.google.co.uk/search?q =coworking+space+london The 10 best London coworking spaces Research Coworking London - a directory of co- working spaces in the british ... Research Research https://www.google.co.uk/search?q =coworking+space+manchester Overview of the 10 best co-working spaces in Manchester | EU ... Research 15 Best Coworking Spaces in Manchester | 2018 Prices & Reviews Research Research =INDEX(C3:U3,MODE(MATCH(C3:U3,C3:U3,0)))
  41. 41. • It looks beyond SERP features and starts to analyse the language of the SERPs • The language used in the SERP-displayed titles and descriptions can give more accurate insight into SERP intent • Use this to map your target keywords to an intent – then ensure your target landing pages are optimised for that intent What does this tell you?
  42. 42. ANALYSE THE SERP DISPLAYED META DESCRIPTION Tactic 4
  43. 43. The SERP displayed meta description gives insight into what Google thinks will trigger a searcher to click through to a result…
  44. 44. I used a Conductor Market Share report to get the top 30 ranking meta descriptions for these keywords Keyword Summer dresses Beach dresses Holiday dresses Maxi dresses Summer dress styles Beach dress styles Holiday dress styles Maxi dress styles Summer dresses 2019 Beach dresses 2019 Holiday dresses 2019 Maxi dresses 2019 You might want to target those keywords to an ecommerce category page…but would that be the best approach? Need an alternative? Use the Scraper Chrome extension to get SERP displayed meta descriptions
  45. 45. For each keyword, take your SERP meta descriptions – use the Cleanse Stopwords tool to remove stop words Source
  46. 46. For each keyword paste your cleansed meta description copy into this NGram Analyser tool Source Sound complicated? All this does is counts the co-occurrence of words, or sequences of words, in your inputted text.
  47. 47. Let’s take a look at the results.
  48. 48. Look at the frequency of ‘transactional’ intent keywords for ‘dress’ head terms Keywords Summer dresses Beach Dresses Holiday Dresses Maxi Dresses
  49. 49. Notice how the trend changes to ‘research’ terms when we add ‘styles’ or ‘2019’ to a query Keywords Summer dress styles Beach dress styles Holiday dress styles Maxi dress styles Keywords Summer dresses 2019 Beach dress 2019 Holiday dress 2019 Maxi dress 2019
  50. 50. • Deeper dive into analysing the language of the SERPs to accurately classify intent and provide insight into what user’s actually want • Provides a list of useful terms or features that you can incorporate into landing page content and design to better align them with intent • Not just for on page content – think about other ways to use these ‘hints’ to improve the semantic relevance of a landing page What does this tell you? One more thing…
  51. 51. Google patent on phrased based indexing provides valuable insight “[…] a document with a low frequency of query terms but a plurality of related phrases for the first phrase ranks higher than a document with a higher frequency of query terms but with no related phrases.” Source “[…] ranking the documents in the list based on a quantity of related phrases determined for each document, so that documents with more related phrases are ranked higher than documents with fewer related phrases”
  52. 52. Why is this relevant? Is there a way to scale up analysis to identify correlation between co- occurrence, proximity and ranking position? Does the co-occurrence of words or phrases in SERP-displayed meta descriptions provide insight into what those ‘related phrases’ are? That would be very cool!
  53. 53. DOES INTENT ANALYIS WORK?
  54. 54. We did this for one of our clients and saw: • Increase in visible MSV by 24,000 per month • Tracked keywords improved an avg. 27 positions • Increased ranking position to at least page 2 for 356 tracked keywords • Just one category – great potential to scale up YEAH!
  55. 55. • The language in the SERPs can provide powerful insight into how Google is interpreting user intent for a query • Analysing this language can help you more accurately assign intent to a keyword and help you understand how you can structure a page to optimise for intent • This analysis can have value beyond intent – potentially helping you understand ‘user desire’ and identify ‘related phrases’ that Google might look for when ranking a site for a query What to take away
  56. 56. http://bit.ly/seo-intent-leeds Get the slides!
  57. 57. Thanks for listening!

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