Recommendations for building an intent-based SEO strategy.

This information has been prepared for Qumulo by Kristi Whitman.
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Introduction

In 2018, effective search marketing requires deep understanding of the customer and their journey, strategic selection of intent-based keywords, and careful alignment between traffic acquisition and conversion optimization.

The result is better ROI, better customer experience, and more scalability for your business. You are not only attracting higher-quality traffic, but you are converting them to customers at a higher rate.

Overview

This is a brief overview of a search-intent SEO strategy.

Discovery and Goal Definitions

Search marketing initiatives should support the greater business objectives. Take the time to document the overall strategy for the company and how search marketing will support that strategy. Also define how search campaigns will be measured.

Audit

Conduct a full audit, including technical and on-page SEO, as well as content. 

At this stage, we are looking at:

  • Current ranks
  • Current traffic (segmented)
  • Metrics such as domain authority, search visibility, page load time, trust rating

We’re also looking at our systems and tools to make sure we have everything in place to execute a digital strategy.

  • Google Analytics health check-up
  • Website access (CMS, etc)
  • Marketing automation
  • Tracking and integrations

Research & Competitive Analysis

 “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Keyword research

Keyword research is an important part of the process, but it’s often done incorrectly. Just as content marketers align content pieces with the buyer’s journey, we should also define most valuable keywords for each stage.

  • Which words are more likely to bring in top-funnel traffic that can be nurtured?
  • What questions do people ask when they are at this stage?
  • What criteria matter most when someone is nearly ready to make a purchase?
  • Which words are more likely to bring in someone with intent to buy?

Competitive research

Once keywords have been defined for each stage of the buyer journey, the next step is to determine competition.

For high-volume keywords with tough competition, paid traffic may be the best option. However organic shouldn’t be ignored for top-funnel keywords. At this stage, we are looking for content opportunities that are both attainable and fill a gap for searchers. This might be a topic for which there is not yet a definitive, comprehensive guide from a credible source. Or maybe the top ranking content has a lower domain authority, so there’s an opportunity to win that spot. Or it may be a topic where the current top ranking content is several years old. The gap analysis step is an important one that is often overlooked.

Lower-funnel keywords should drive traffic to content that emphasizes unique value prop (to stand out from others) and compelling CTA (to convert).

It’s also recommended to continuously track search-related metrics for competing sites.

Action Plan & Tactics

This stage includes all action items related to search.

  • On-page optimization (rewrite title tags, write unique meta descriptions, add rich alternative text to images and graphics).
  • Make content recommendations and strategy based on gap analysis.
  • Create priority list and ideas for testing.
  • Fix technical issues or tracking.

Tracking & Ongoing Optimization

KPIs and reporting should also separate top-funnel efforts from lower-funnel. Here are some examples of what should be monitored:

Top-funnel metrics:

  • Keyword Ranks
  • Pageviews
  • Segmented traffic
  • Blog subscriptions
  • Bounces and exits
  • Pages viewed per session

Lower-funnel metrics: 

  • Downloads
  • Demo requests
  • Free trials
  • Appointment requests
  • General leads

Sample recommendations for Qumulo

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On-page optimization for key terms.

For ex: No. 17 rank for “file storage company” with SEO score of 69%. On-page optimization will increase this score to above 90% .
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Build links by encouraging customers to write a review on G2Crowd or Capterra.

This can be done through an inexpensive incentive campaign. These sites have high domain authority, so the links are valuable.
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Take advantage of featured snippets.

Investigate opportunities for information boxes or featured images. For example, the first Google image result for “distributed file system” is from an outdated site with a much lower domain authority.
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Make "ego bait" for influencers.

Encourage more link building by writing a blog post that highlights key players in your industry. Then send them the link. They are likely to share it or link to it, and you are still providing relevant content to your audience.
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Define commercial intent keywords.

See example below of a simple keyword that has been expanded to include modifiers that signal intent to buy.
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Write and test meta descriptions for Google snippets.

At least 117 pages on the Qumulo site are missing descriptions. Meta descriptions are important for click-through rate.
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Build link equity.

Qumulo has less internal links than most competitors. Add internal links throughout the site to build link equity. The Qumulo blog is a great place to start. From blog posts, link to related product pages, case studies, or other blogs.
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Use rich snippets to show high ratings.

Qumulo has high ratings on Garner Peer Insights and Google. Use rich snippets to showcase these ratings (via Schema). Rich snippets will make your pages stand out from competitors on a search results page.
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Don't ignore local SEO.

Segment traffic by industry and region to determine if there are local SEO opportunities.

Here is an example of a simple keyword that has been expanded to include modifiers that signal intent to buy:

INFORMATIONAL COMMERCIAL LOCAL
scalable storage affordable scalable storage scalable storage seattle
buy scalable storage solution
scalable storage cost
price for scalable storage
scalable storage cost
best deal scalable storage
scalable storage reviews
compare scalable storage systems

Domain authority

How Qumulo compares to other companies in this space

  • Qumulo
  • Pure Storage
  • Dell EMC
  • Nutanix
  • Rubrik
  • XtreemFS
  • Snowflake
  • Scality
  • MooseFS
  • Upcloud
  • DDN Storage

These are just a few examples.

Let’s talk if you’d like to hear more!

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