By categorising and organising your keywords into keyword groups by user intent, you can start to understand the buyer journey and map your content accordingly.
By seeing which groups of keywords and related pages are higher up the buyer funnel you can match your on-page content to the users’ needs and give Google and its users what they want.
Once you have these groupings, all you need to do is understand the “Smell of the SERP”. This is a term first coined by a leading French SEO and friend of Authoritas, Laurent Bourelly.
It conveys a simple notion; what does the SERP smell like for a particular keyword or set of related keywords? What type of pages is Google showing in the top ranking positions and does your content match?
Take these two examples:
Example 1: If you want to rank well for users searching for queries related to ‘best family cars’ then you’ll probably find that Google is favouring high quality articles written by automotive experts from well established industry publications, motoring websites and newspapers with motoring sections that contain long paragraphs, interspersed with high quality images and videos. If you want to rank well for these queries then you need to ensure you have the right kind and format of content and layout to match.
Example 2: If you want to rank well for users searching for queries related to ‘second hand SUVs’ then you’ll probably find that Google is favouring category or search listing pages from well established classified sites. If you want to rank well for these queries then you need to ensure you have the right kind and format of content and layout to match.
If you find that some of your key landing pages are ranking well for one group of keywords and not so well for other small clusters of keywords, then this could be a good indicator that your smell is off!
You may be better off creating a new page(s) with the right content types and layout to target the keywords where your site and page is deemed relevant enough to rank reasonably well, but the page quality does not quite necessarily match the users’ needs well enough to rank much higher for these terms.
We’ve all seen many instances of SEOs optimising eCommerce category pages with additional text to try and improving its ranking and whilst there are many cases of this working to some extent, John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google has warned against adding so much content that you risk confusing Googlebot’s analysis of your page type by mixing informational and commercial research/transactional intent too much.
Tip – So don’t overdo it. But with a greater in-depth understanding of the user intent of your keywords, how this maps to your pages and what type and formats of content Google really wants in each micro-topic, you are well set to build a great SEO and content strategy.