by Shannon Henrici, WLS SEO Director

I have been in SEO for over 10 years now. A lot has changed, but one thing still remains constant. Google’s goal is to provide users with the most relevant, highest quality results based on the user’s query. Therefore, it is important to always keep your audience in mind. Gone are the days of focusing on a set of keywords and watching the rankings go up and down like the stock market. Now we focus on what a user expects or wants to see when they perform a search, the searcher’s intent. 

The first thing I do when I am asked to look at a site is try to get in the mindset of the target audience. What questions are they asking? I love a good buyer persona. The practice of doing a buyer persona is not just for inbound marketing, it also helps with SEO.  Understanding your audience is the key to finding the right keywords. 

Another good reason to think like your buyer is to understand the terms they use for your service or products. This is key. I can’t tell you how many times I have to remind business owners to use laymen’s terms for their services or products. The potential buyer uses terms to search based on their knowledge and understanding. They may not know the technical names or jargon specific to the industry. 

A good example is LVT. Those in the flooring business know exactly what that means. It stands for luxury vinyl tile. Most buyers don’t know the term and don’t use it to search for vinyl flooring. I didn’t know what it was until I started working in the flooring industry. If you don’t use laymen’s terms, you will lose a large percentage of your market that don’t know what LVT means. 

When I have a good idea of what keywords make sense for the industry, I will actually go back to Google to perform the queries. I like to see the search landscape for the keywords I am evaluating. Google has mounds of information on searches. More than any one company could ever hope to have, and they provide this information for free if you know where to look. The three places that I focus on are “People Also Ask” boxes, “Google Suggest” and “Related Searches”. 

“People Also Ask” boxes give you some insight into Google’s understanding of any topic. As you click a question, further questions are revealed that are related to the topic. See the example below: 

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After clicking on a few questions, this is the result: 

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Google has just given you the table of contents for your next blog article on buying flooring. 

“Google Suggest” is another gem. These are the terms that you will find in the autofill feature when you are typing in a keyword and at the bottom of the search results. The options provided are from popular related searches for the keyword typed.  See the images below: 

Google Suggest

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“Related searches” are at the bottom of search results. These results are from the searches performed by other users based on popularity and even current events that are related to your search term.  See below:

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Google doesn’t just make up these results. These search predictions are possible search terms related to what you’re looking for and what other people have already searched.  

Now that I have given you a little insight into finding the right keywords. In my next article, I will show you how to use them. Stay tuned to learn how to optimize your site with the right keywords.

Shannon Henrici, WLS SEO Manager