How to Implement an Intent-Based SEO Strategy

In order for SEO to be successful, your website and the keywords you rank for must deliver on the intent of the user that chooses your listing in the search results. Since Google encrypted keyword data, this strategy has become more challenging, but the end result is still the same. I read many articles and blog posts talking about intent-based SEO and how you should group your content considering the intent of the audience you’re trying to reach. The theory is sound, but do you ever wonder how to really implement an intent-based SEO strategy?

The first thing you need to understand is that SEO doesn’t live in a vacuum anymore and success is only found when user intent is applied to a multi-channel marketing strategy. Google doesn’t just look at the content on the page and your link profile and decide if you should rank anymore. It is looking at signals anywhere it can find them, such as social media and user behavior signals. If you want to implement an intent-based SEO strategy, all the channels that reach your audience need to be integrated into the strategy.

The best way to explain implementation is through an example, because any intent-based strategy needs to be custom tailored to the business and the audience it is trying to reach. Let’s consider the National Hockey League (NHL) as an intent-based example. The marketing objectives of the NHL are multi-faceted and aimed at reaching an audience at very different levels of interest. For the sake of this article, we will stick to two types of audiences: non-hockey fans and die-hard fans.

The NHL wants to increase its fan base and beyond organic growth, it must implement a marketing strategy. Its intent-based SEO strategy is trying to reach an audience that isn’t currently interested in the sport but could be convinced otherwise. Building out content to attract new fans will likely center around video. Creating viral and quickly consumable video content showcasing the talent in the league would be front and center in this strategy. The video content can be in-game footage of amazing feats or even staged videos of stars performing eye-opening tricks with their skills. This content wouldn’t be successful in attracting new fans without applying a multi-channel marketing campaign to promote this content, though. The NHL would push this content through social media, television, and many other important channels at its disposal.

Another audience the NHL is trying to maximize is the die-hard fan. These fans spend more money on tickets and merchandise for their favorite team. They also help promote the sport virally, which goes beyond social media. Videos would still be the center of an NHL content strategy, but they would be geared differently for this type of fan. The NHL would work closely with each team to produce video content around specific players as well as inside looks at the teams themselves. Providing fans with advanced statistics and player information would be another content strategy to reach the die-hard fan. Again, a multi-channel marketing strategy would support this content but may lean more heavily on the local team markets.

As you can see, implementing an intent-based SEO strategy needs to be very customized for each business. We are all trying to reach different audiences and with varying levels of interest. Take some time and consider all the audiences of your business and what type of content would successfully fulfill the intent of these audiences. What strategies should you implement to reach specific audiences?

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