Understanding Keyword Classification: The Soul of SEO

SEO experts around the world are obsessed with just one thing. How can they learn as much as they can about their target audience? And, what they should do to deliver the best search experience? Well, to do this you need to answer a few questions diligently.

  • What is it that people are searching? Is it a keyword? Or is it a file? Or is it a label?
  • What is the location of these searches?
  • When do they search? What time?
  • What type of target audience is using commercial search engines?
  • What is the device they are using to conduct the search?
  • What drives people to search online?

Answers to these sorts of queries can be generally found by Keyword research, advertising data, and web analytics. However, this does not give us the complete picture nor does it answer all the questions. We need to understand and interpret the data in its correct context.

Generally keyword research tools do tell us what consumers are looking for and what kind of keywords are they typing in the search boxes. However, we are still ignorant about the context of the key phrase typed. It is therefore essential for SEO experts to rely on other means to know about the search context.

Some mistakes that we do as search engine optimizers are that we often take into account our mental frame of reference while deciding keywords without understanding the searchers context and classify the searchers query wrongly. The ideal way forward is to classify each query correctly.

When a searcher types a product or a service then it should be classified as an Ad hoc query. For example a searcher may just type “mountain bike”. Here the searcher is not looking for a specific brand but general information on mountain bikes. The searcher would like to see as much relevant information on mountains bikes as she can. As you can see the searcher has not specified when she intends to purchase the mountain bike and whether she will do so online or in a physical store. Therefore it is clear that this search is not a search which indicates the transactional intent of the searcher.

Another thing to consider is that the searcher might use plural or singular form for the keyword. When plural is used it means that the searcher intends to have a list of items. This type of search can be classified as informational intent.

All this means that we as SEO professionals are second guessing what type of information the searcher wants. Had we been present physically when the search was conducted we would have easily determined the context of their searches.

To put it simply search engine optimizing means optimizing a website for users while understanding their intentions, contexts, behaviors, and the environment in which they conduct the search. This way an effective SEO program will address all issues from a searchers point of view and not just optimize content for the search engines.

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