Has it ever occurred to you that you may have keywords on your site that are misleading to search engines? Or that you need to take a look at all of the keywords you are trying to rank for, and think about the different meanings and contexts that those could be taken in that are unrelated to your actual product, and then eliminate other seemingly unrelated words that to a search engine could be misconstrued as an indication of one of those other contexts?
At SMX West last week, WebProNews sat down with Bruce Clay of Internet Marketing firm Bruce Clay, Inc. who made some interesting points about understanding searcher behavior, intent-based search, and how that should affect keyword research.
Note: We talked to Bruce about quite a few search-related topics, but this subject is focused on more toward the end of the video (about 20 minutes in).
Clay talks about Google delivering more personalization in search results, taking into consideration things like how prior queries influence future queries. "Ranking is going to be less of a measurement," he says. "We're going to be focused on more the traffic."
"When I decide I'm selling a hammer, I have to actively go out of my way not to have certain things appear in my site, because the search engines could be confused about what I'm talking about....I don't mean the Armand Hammer Art Museum at UCLA. I don't mean a bowling ball...you know, the things that show up for hammer are all over the board," says Clay.
"One of the things that I think is important, and that we've been working on is how do we actually do keyword research without knowing the behavioral aspects our personas that are actually going for our product? You have to understand personas now a little bit better - what kinds of things are they likely to search on, in sequence - before they type in hammer...so if they're on an arts and crafts site, and then they type in hammer, I ought to understand that behavior in sequence, so that I can better do my keyword research and determine how I'm gonna put the words on my page. I don't see a lot of people even thinking that way."
Personalized search is nothing new. Google's been personalizing search results for some time, based on various indicators, and it appears that Google is looking for more ways to deliver users a personalized experience (whether they want that or not).
Between personalized search and other sources of information infiltrating search results pages, traditional SEO is becoming harder to accomplish, and Bruce says, even ineffective. That's why it may become increasingly important to focus on relevant elements of the SERP for queries you hope to be found for.