How to Create Content to Match Users' Search Queries
Did you know that 15 percent of all search queries at Google are new and have never been seen before?
That is an incredible statistic and one that should speak volumes to search, content and digital marketers. What's the message they should be receiving? With nearly one-fifth of all search terms pretty much uncontested, there is an enormous opportunity for SEOs and webmasters/digital marketers to develop and optimize creative, informational and transactional content experiences. By optimizing predicatively for these experiences and focusing on what are often more long-tail search queries that define them, there is a greater opportunity to achieve awareness (positions) on the search results pages.
Let's explore how to create content that will match users' search queries and greatly expand any company website's digital footprint on search engine results pages.
Get Creative (Entertainment):
It's difficult to define "creative" content but for our purposes, let's consider it any content asset that does not fit neatly or directly into informational or transactional search queries, but fulfills some underlying alternative interest of the user. Say for example that your company sells a workforce management solution and the aim is to control more of the search results that match queries conducted by those in the C-Suite (Chief Executive Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Technical Officer, etc.). Having a firm understanding of the user personas of those interacting with a brand or product will reveal the audience makeup and perhaps some specifics about their behaviors (e.g., they wake up early or take multiple vacations each year) which can be exploited to entertain (capturing their attention) to optimize predictively. The content a digital content marketer might develop would be "morning routines of business executives" or "favorite vacation spots of the C-suite." That type of content may not directly lead to a sale but it does position a brand with the right audience - and that's really the first step to success.
Maintain an Informational (Educational) Focus:
In terms of the sheer volume of exposure opportunities, nothing compares (in terms of achieving expected levels of performance) to optimizing for the experience of the information-seekers. As users enter the middle of the funnel (anything beyond the awareness stage), their search query behavior changes in a way that exposes numerous opportunities for those looking to capture more search engine real estate. Mid-funnel searches are often categorized as educational because it fulfills more generalized information demands of users (e.g. "How does ###keyword### work?", or "What are the benefits of ###keyword###").
Transactional (Purchasing Inevitability)
It's difficult to optimize for the transactional phase of the user experience if there's been no effort concentrated on the creative/entertainment and informational/educational phases of the user experience - which set the foundation of this, the final and arguably most important part of the user's search-related journey. In the transactional phase the aim is to provide an experience that eliminates conversion challenges (e.g., conveys trust). One strategy might be to optimize reviews (product reviews on site and on key channels) and the review experience, another might be to do the same with comparison related content, or those searches related to consumers use of sale-related queries (discounts, coupons, promotions). Optimizing for these eventualities is perhaps the most straightforward and direct of these various tactical content development approaches, but it's also the most competitive.
Creating content that match users' queries (particularly in a digital world where 15 percent of searches have never been seen before) is indeed challenging, but it is also quite rewarding. With greater demand for quality content, enterprises concentrate their efforts on optimizing predictively (based on the demands of users and the phase of the buyer journey) are those best positioned for success.