How to Match Your Content Marketing to Search Intent with JP Sherman @jpsherman #VCBuzz

How to Match Your Content Marketing to Search Intent with JP Sherman @jpsherman #VCBuzzThere are certain aspects of digital marketing we’ve been talking about for ages, yet they have become a “trend” only recently. One of such concepts is “search intent”

We’ve known for ages that search intent is important because we want to match a page content to the user’s desired action. But somehow it’s only recently that we’ve started taking it seriously.

Why so? Let’s discuss!

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About JP Sherman

John Paul (JP) Sherman is a fifteen year veteran of Search, Findability and Competitive Intelligence. As the Search & Findability Manager for the @RedHat Customer Portal, he bridges the intention gap between tens of thousands of technical and support documents and the customers looking for them in Google and Red Hat’s internal search platform.

Connect to John Paul (JP) Sherman in Linkedin

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

So, I’ll start this off – i was US Army PSYOP where I did ops like malaria prevention * information dissemination was critical – that’s where I learned how to blend messages & tech to reach people.

I then went to college focusing on evolutionary biology – behavioral science fascinated me so i took that education & translated it into the digital space.

Q2 What is search intent and what does it have to do with SEO? What are different types of search intent?

I view search intent as matching the acceptance vs. rejection criteria in a user’s mind to the search results – with the result being a pience of content being consumed and an action (conversion) taking place.

I view search intent as matching the acceptance vs. rejection criteria in a user’s mind to the search results – with the result being a pience of content being consumed and an action (conversion) taking place.

A fun thing about search intent is that it’s rarely a single phrase, looking at keyword data from google or sitesearch can reveal different ways people look for the same thing.

For example, sometimes intent has NOTHING to do with the words – a search for “bike tires” in LA could mean road bike tires, in CO Springs, could mean mountain bike tires – sometimes location is a signal of intent.

So when you look at groups of queries how can it help w/ SEO? it can create more information about how to craft content around a central topic – enhancing your expertise.

Q3 How to identify a search intent of a particular search query?

Some queries are clear – these are your “high intent, low volume” queries – like “stream The Clash” the intent is clear. but a query like “shoes” is less clear – more info needed.

When you recognize your “low intent, high volume” queries, that’s where it gets challenging – Google provides things like “did you mean” or “people also searched for” to clarify a searcher’s intent.

There’s also disambiguation – the query “Halo” could mean a video game, a GI Joe character, a Beyonce song, a type of galaxy or an angel – a good way to handle that is through click through data and/ or sitesearch UI/UX improvements.

Q4 How to optimize your content and landing pages to better match search intent? How to identify landing pages that are currently not doing a good job giving users what they came for?

I see more evidence that the direct query to landing page strategy is working less with Google’s E.A.T. philosophy (expertise, authority, trust) & I focus on internal linking of content to create topical hubs that show breadth of knowledge.

I look at topical gaps of knowledge in my site – add that to content creation pipeline – while making sure my internal linking is strong & my structured markup () is sending right signals to Google.

The number of schema Google supports is always increasing, plus other engines support them too – you will never hurt your site by having good structured markup 🙂 #vcbuzz also, schema’s not a direct ranking signal, but an indicator of entity recognition.

When it comes to measuring the efficacy – conversions are king. however, for knowledge sites measuring if a user read it can be tricky. i generally look at time on page & sitesearch “back clicks” to signal poor performance.

I haven’t heard that strategy before, but that makes a LOT of sense… Thank you Kristin!

Q5 What are your favorite keyword research tools?

Keyword research tools i love using:

  • semrushchat
  • moz
  • answer the public
  • sitesearch keyword data

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