Search Intent: More Powerful Than Keyword Research?

By | September 28, 2019


– What’s up everybody,
my name is Brendan Hufford. I’m feeling a little
bro-y here in the tank top and the sunglasses today,
but welcome back to 100 Days of SEO. Today, we’re talking about
something that I am staking my whole career on,
search intent. In this video I talk
about what search intent is, how to do it right,
most people are telling you how to do it wrong,
and why you should stake your career, your website,
and your business on it too. Let’s do it. (Whistles) What’s up everybody,
Brendan Hufford here. We are in my computer. In the next few minutes,
you’re going to learn why I think all the
current models for search intent really don’t help anybody. Why I think most content based
on those models can’t rank, and finally how
to create content that ranks, gets clicked,
and then converts. That’s what we want, we want
something that drives business not just keywords,
not just traffic. Now if you stay until the end
I got something super special for you, I do this in
almost all of my videos now. Watch until the end of
the video, I’m gonna make a pretty special
offer to help you for free with your website. Now shout out to all my
subscribers who hear me say this every single freaking video but just in case
you’re new here, I’m Brendan Hufford,
that’s me looking really cool. (laughs) Not really,
sweet Apple watch. But I’m Brendan Hufford,
I’m the founder of SEO For The Rest Of Us
and 100 Days of SEO. I’m also the SEO
director at Clique Studios where we help venture back
startups, global sports brands, local Chicago businesses. I’m also a former teacher,
a pretty regular dude and dad of three, shout out
to all the dads out there. And today, we’re going to
review something really quickly. I want to talk
about topical research. I just put out a
video on topical research, but in that video, one
of the things I said was is that the skills of SEO’s and copywriters are starting to overlap more and more and
I’m certain to get so many great ideas and just
great results for clients and even on my own
projects by implementing things that I’m learning from my
friends who are copywriters. – You’re not the only
one cursed with knowledge. – [Brendan] Because in that
video about topical research, I said the genius move really
is to match search intent, shout out if you got
the Cruel Intentions joke. So I want to review a bit
of content that’s come out around search intent. Now here’s one
from Josh Hardwick, I’ve had Josh on
the 100 Days of SEO project, think the world of Josh. If you look at this article,
it’s focusing on this four types of search intent,
this informational, navigational, et cetera,
and honestly, I think that that way of looking
at search intent is, (car horn) Wrong. I don’t agree with it. Here’s another
one from Sujan Patel. Oh look, what do you notice
again, here’s the same type of search intent matrix. (car horn) Wrong. Here’s another one
going back for, you know, a little bit earlier
in 2019 from Kane Jamison, (cheering) Yeah actually,
I actually like this one. It’s pretty good, and I will
explain why here in a second. But here’s one
from 2018 from Yoast. Oh what do we notice again? The four types of search intent. (car horn) Wrong, still wrong. Going back to 2012, here’s one from Nick Eubanks,
he wrote this for STAT. You know this is what,
it says Nick is the VP of Digital Strategy
at W.L. Snook & Associates, like this is so old, this is
seven years old at the time that I’m putting out this video. And he talked about
the same thing, look it, August 31st, 2012,
we’re still talking about this and if we go all the way
back to 2007, look at this. Rand Fishkin in
2007 was talking about navigational searches,
informational searches. We’re still using the
same model from 12 years ago. You’re telling me search intent
has not changed in 12 years? No, people are just writing
about it in the same way. We’re just accepting it as
the same canon and like look, do you believe anything else
from 2007 is still awesome? Do you think “leave Britney
alone” and Chocolate Rain are still awesome? Chocolate Rain is still
awesome, that’s still great. But like I just want
to put in perspective like what else
was popular in 2007. Now the reason
I like Kane’s article, is ’cause Kane kind of breaks
it down a little bit more in a transactional, branded,
visual, research, answer et cetera but again the problem is, I don’t think
these are really intents. This is almost like a
search results predictor. These are always the intent
of what people actually want and here’s the problem is
that it doesn’t translate into what to actually
create for them. If people are researching
or they want an answer, I want to break those
down and go a little bit deeper on creating things that
are gonna get clicked, keep people on the site
and then get conversions. Remember, watch all
the way until the end, I’m going to make a
pretty cool offer to help you. Here in the comments
of this YouTube video. So you’re asking yourself, “W-T-F Brendan, what do I write? “How do I- You’re telling
me about search intent, “how do I actually
match that intent?” Now here’s some
really interesting stuff from John-Henry Scherck
that really aligns, I think John-Henry is one of
the smartest people in SEO, really aligns with
what I’m talking about here. John-Henry says, “Everyone’s
talking about user intent “in relation to
content and keywords “but nobody’s
talking about context. “Context generally in
relation to the purchase journey “is just as important.” Lack of context is
why I think it’s hard to outsource authoritative
and authentic content, or customer product
focus content creation. Like you can’t
just have somebody else. You can’t outsource
your product’s content ’cause they don’t know about it,
they don’t have the context, they don’t have
the point of view, they don’t
understand the nuance. And what’s funny is John
says there’s nobody writing about this and I said I
feel like I’m the only one that’s talking about this. Now here’s where I got it from. I’m reading Breakthrough
Advertising by Eugene Schwartz and all my copywriters
right now are like, “Yeah bro duh, we’ve
known about this forever.” It’s a super old book. This Titans Marketing, you
don’t have to buy it for $400, it’s actually a low, low price
of $125 and people are like, “Oh my god why would
I spend $125 on a book?” Uh, how much was the last
online course that you bought, like 300 bucks? This book is way better
than any online course. You should absolutely buy it. But in here,
Schwartz breaks down a really interesting funnel
and something that I feel like really maps to search
intent and awareness. So here’s what that looks like. If we imagine like a funnel,
it’s not really a funnel, but if we look at this as like
more generalized keywords, and kind of search intent at
the top, down to more specific, here’s how Schwartz lays this
out and here’s how I think you should lay it
out for your content. So at the top is somebody
who is problem aware, right? The problem aware level,
they know the problems
and pains they have. They’re Googling those
problems and those pains, they need to know a solution
like yours exists, right? And to sell them, now
here’s a confusing thing, I actually had
somebody tell me that they didn’t follow some of my
advice ’cause they were like my page doesn’t
have anything to sell. When I say to sell them, this
is written by Eugene Schwartz, someone who is like a
conversion copywriter, that actually do want to sell,
I don’t want to sell, I just want to get
them to take action. Taking action might
mean reading another article at this level,
opting in for lead magnet, joining a newsletter, buying
a low-tier product, et cetera. Maybe joining a
Facebook group or a Slack group. So at this level, the problem
aware level to sell them, meaning to get
them to take action, you just have to empathize,
you have to show you get their pain.
The problem where level would be like somebody
Googling back pain. A little sip of coffee here… Oh it’s delicious. You have to show
them you get their pain. So they’re Googling back pain,
we just want to empathize with them about
how much it hurts, and how debilitating is it,
and how frustrating, and there’s all
these different solutions. And once you
empathize with them enough, then you can show a
solution like yours exists. Let’s say you have
a website about yoga and you have
a really cool article about yoga for back pain. We want to push
them to that article. That’s the call to action at
the end of a problem aware. Too often people try to
jam their product in there and their course and their
solution, they don’t give a crap about a solution and convincing
them we just want them to understand that our
solution exists and then maybe send them somewhere
to learn more about that. Now, the next article, the
article we’re probably going to send them to, is now
they’re solution aware. Huh, this says yoga could be
one option for my back pain, so they know that
that solution exists and what they need to know is how the solution
solves their pain. So in this level of awareness,
they need to know exactly what are the
mechanisms of doing yoga, maybe some examples
of people who have solved their back pain with yoga- – Pull your bellybutton in
and take weight off your leg, like that’s somehow
physically possible- – [Brendan] How that
solution solves their pain. For example, if they’re trying
to increase their revenue and you have a company
that does email marketing, maybe showing how
better email marketing would solve their pain of
like a downturn in revenue. This is where they need to know just how it solves their pain,
right, not specific, we’re not pushing them
because to sell them here, we just show them
how our solution works. Just show them how it works. It’s not convincing them,
this is not a sales pitch, ’cause where we
want to push them now that they’re product aware. So at the top it was
like I know I have problems then the next level
deeper I know there’s some kind of solutions and they’re
Googling for these solutions. Now at the product aware
level, they know your solution solves their pain, they know
yoga can help their back pain. What they need to know is if my specific solution,
now here’s where we start getting a little bit more sales-y, they need to know if my
solution is best for them. If we were to make
up a search term here, at the product aware level,
this is people Googling, ConvertKit versus MailChimp.
This is people Googling yoga versus stretching
for back pain, right? They need to know if
your solution, if your course, if your coaching,
if your whatever you offer, if your software
is the best for them. And to sell them, you have to
prove you’re the best option. You have to prove, and
this is where we start getting into really good case studies,
testimonials, you want to go
heavy on the proof here and proving
you’re the best option. Now the deepest level,
these are people who are the most
aware of what you do, they already know
it’s the best for them. They know, they’re convinced. They’re convinced
that this is my solution. And what they’re
Googling is stuff, they just want to know the deal. This is people
Googling ConvertKit pricing. They know that
ConvertKit is a good solution, they’re just at that
final buying decision. They want to know the nitty
gritty details of something and they just
want to see the deal. So you got to show it
to them at this level. Now by creating
your content mapping, you have to reverse engineer. The easiest way to do this
is just to Google something and look at what
the results are, right? Look at what’s
already ranking and consider, what are they really looking
for when they’re Googling? We all look at keywords,
we do keyword research, but the problem is
it’s so shallow, right? Like John-Henry said, it doesn’t
have the context necessary to actually create
content that’s going to convert, that’s going to
actually build your business. This is how you create content
that maps to search intent, that will rank, will
get clicked, and then will keep people there
and get the conversion. Whatever that level of
conversion is, even if it’s at problem aware, getting
them to read another article, solution aware,
pushing them to a product page, et cetera, et cetera. I hope this has been
super helpful for you. Me and Thanos here,
we want to make an offer to you, share your
site comments below. I’ll help the first 10 people
with how you can leverage search intent for more
traffic and conversions. I want to actually
get in the comments, I want to show you I
know what I’m talking about, number one, but I also
want to genuinely help people. I want you to see the
power of search intent in what I’m sharing here. So leave that in
the comments below. I’ve been Brendan Hufford,
don’t forget to work hard, be nice to people,
and don’t get too lost trying to create
something that matters. (easygoing jazzy music)

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