It sounds like a broken record, but COVID-19 has significantly changed consumer behaviour, both in-store and online. Lockdown restrictions are being lifted, and more businesses and sectors are reopening, bringing some normality back to society, but how will it affect our shopping behaviour?
Social distancing, wearing face masks, and the use of hand sanitisers will continue to play a significant role in our day-to-day lives, which can impact in-store purchases. While the nation is eager to step outside their home and visit a shop, psychologically, we’re still going to be cautious and on edge. With this in mind, more people are moving to shop online to avoid busy and crowded places, which means online consumer demand and eCommerce are growing at an exponential rate.
How we search online affects how we structure a website and how we target audiences online.
We’ve moved into the era of organic search where users know what they’re looking for, which means they’re further down the buyer journey. So, it’s critical that we capture these people at the right time with the right keywords and targeted messaging.
Buyer intent terms are playing a more prominent part in search behaviour. Broad terms like ‘garden table’ are becoming a thing of the past. While these keywords are still valuable for category optimisation and shouldn’t be ignored by marketers, consumers are looking for more so they can make a price comparison before making a purchase. With the amount of information readily available online and visible customer reviews to help sway purchase decisions, eCommerce businesses must adapt to keep up with demands and avoid losing customers.
A buyer intent phrase is a refined, long-tail search term, for example, ‘four-seater wooden garden table’. Consumers haven’t got the time, or merely can’t be bothered to filter through hundreds of garden tables to find the one they want. They’d much rather cut to the chase, find the right product, do some comparison research, and buy.
From the last few keyword research analysis’ that our organic search team have done, we’ve noticed a difference in keyword trends. While search volumes for buyer intent phrases are lower than the broader terms, the intent and opportunities are greater.
Content marketing is another influential participant in targeting and capturing users online, but it’s how we write the content, that is most significant.
It’s not uncommon that we can’t spam keywords into content and expect to be in position one. It’s an automatic red flag from Google and something that we don’t advise doing. Granted, this might be best-practice a good few years ago, but in today’s world, it’s not.
Content must be naturally written. The target keywords must flow naturally within the copy. Brand tone of voice should be included to add more value and quality. There must be enough copy on the page to fulfil its purpose for organic visibility and to convert users.
When including keywords into the content, don’t be afraid to mix it up with secondary terms that are relevant. For example, if your primary keyword is ‘hand luggage’, ensure this is the focus term with the page copy, but include secondary terms such as ‘cabin bags’ or ‘cabin suitcase’ too (naturally written of course!). This will boost your search visibility online, expand your keyword pool and target a broader audience, which means bringing more visitors to the website and increasing conversions.
Including buyer intent searches and turning long-tail phrases into individual pages, for example, FAQ articles, can improve the quality of the content and improve your chances of obtaining a rich snippet (position zero) or ‘commonly asked questions’ on Google. Achieving this increases click-through rates, website traffic, keyword positioning, visibility, and conversions.
Every SEO expert will know that pages, whether that’s category, sub-category, product pages or blog articles must be optimised efficiently and target the most relevant keywords.
Page optimisation is the skeleton, and the content is the main body. The rest of the parts includes technical SEO checks and monitoring, such as site protocol, page speed, mobile usability, robot files and internationalisation. For a website to function correctly and successfully, you can’t have one without the other. Content and SEO is the greatest partnership in marketing.
Meta description also plays a more substantial role, and although it was not deemed as an essential, it is, particularly today. Metadata provides another opportunity to target keywords while improving click-through-rates. Although you are limited to characters, summing up a page in just 1-2 lines with a focus keyword or two, plus a call-to-action, will prompt the user to click through to the website. You have to remember that when a user searches for a specific keyword or phrase online, the meta description will be one of the first things they’ll see. So, it’s vital that it reads well, includes relevant keywords, a call-to-action and remains within Google’s recommended character limit. Whether your website is ranking on the top or bottom of page one, the meta description can make all the difference.
The Power of Google
Search behaviour will continue to evolve, so it’s critical to work in the now and prepare for the future. Take learnings from Google’s algorithm updates, as they too influence how content should be written based on user’s search behaviour and search engine demand.
Remember, Google holds power on how your website ranks, and it can quickly drop you if they feel you’re not complying by the rules or your content and optimisation is perceived as low-quality.
So, obeying the almighty Google and understanding consumer and search behaviour, will have a significant difference in how your website performs.
Contact PushON’s SEO and Content Marketing team today for more information, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us on 0161 820 7628.