You may never have heard of the term ‘keyword intentionality’. In fact, if you Google the term you won’t find a single occurrence of this phrase anywhere on the internet. This is rather surprising to me considering the importance of the concept. Keyword intentionality simply refers to the practice of being intentional about the use of certain keywords in order to achieve success with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In this article I’d like to examine a case study from my own business, and outline what I have learned about the importance of being intentional with the use of keywords for SEO.
Blog Post at Top Position on Google
I have a blog on my business website and normally post to the blog about once a month. Over the last year I’ve been much more focused on writing useful content for publication on other sites than I have been on my own blog. Yesterday morning I published a new post entitled Graphics Card Preventing Computer Startup. I then submitted it to Google for indexing using Google Search Console. After a few hours I performed a Google search for the term ‘computer startup problems brisbane’ and found, to my surprise, that my post was ranking at number one on Google.
This was a pleasant surprise indeed. I then tested a couple of variations of my search phrase. For the term ‘help with computer startup problems brisbane’ my post was ranking at number four. For the term ‘I need help with computer startup problems brisbane’ the post was at number seven. These were both satisfactory results. However, for the more general search term ‘computer startup problems’ my post was nowhere in sight as results were displayed from authority sites all over the world.
When writing my post I had intentionally included references to Brisbane as this is the city in which I operate. However, nowhere in the article had I used the phrase ‘computer startup problems’ together with the word ‘Brisbane’. In fact nowhere in the post itself had I even used the term ‘computer startup problems’.
Title and Meta Title
I had chosen the title ‘Graphics Card Preventing Computer Startup’ for my post because this title describes the content of the post. However, I had surmised that it’s unlikely that anyone would actually perform a Google search using this term and hadn’t used this title as the HTML title tag (meta title).
People are more likely to search for an answer to a problem whereas the title I chose provides the problem and the solution in one phrase. In fact a Google search for this term resulted in my post appearing at position seven in the search results. This demonstrates that it’s not a particularly competitive search. Adding the word ‘brisbane’ to this search moved my post to the top position.
For the HTML title tag I decided to use a term which would be much more likely to be used in an internet search. Someone with the issue addressed by my post has a computer which has a problem with starting up. I considered that the most likely search term they would use when seeking a solution would be ‘computer startup problems’. My post would then appear in the search results with the meta title ‘Computer Startup Problems | Norm’s Computer Services’. Together with my meta description I would have hoped that this was sufficiently appealing to generate clicks for the post, resulting in business for me.
For my meta description I had written,
‘I’ve come across quite a few computers which would start up successfully but then shut down again very quickly. I’ve often found this issue to have been caused by the graphics card.’
I must admit that I often struggle with formulating good meta descriptions for blog posts. As it happened, Google ignored my meta description. For the search term ‘computer startup problems brisbane’ the meta description displayed by Google was,
‘Graphics Card Preventing Computer Startup. Updated: in an hour. graphics card problems brisbane. Some months ago I was contacted by a …’
I would actually consider this to also be sufficiently appealing to a potential client and I have no problem with Google changing my meta description.
For the search term ‘help with computer startup problems brisbane’, Google used the meta description,
‘I’ve come across quite a few computers which would start up successfully but then shut … graphics card problems brisbane … I’m here to help.’
It’s interesting that they had located the word ‘help’ in my post and used this in the meta description.
So what can we learn from all this, and how can it assist us in writing better content for SEO?
Intentional Use of Keywords
I must admit that I’ve often been somewhat blasé about intentionally incorporating keywords in my content. This has probably been an overreaction on my part to keyword stuffing, and to seeing so many articles on the internet containing unnatural anchor text links.
It is essential to include keywords in your content which are likely to be included in search terms used by potential clients. However, this doesn’t mean filling your blog posts with exact match phrases for what you expect people to type into Google. This leads to keyword stuffing and to creating content which doesn’t read naturally.
As you can see from my example, Google was intelligent enough to put my HTML title tag together with the city in which I operate, even though they didn’t appear together in the text of the post. I simply wrote the piece naturally and mentioned Brisbane once close to the beginning, and once more towards the end. Google also homed in on my use of the expression ‘I’m here to help’. These are actually the final words in the post.
Blog Posts as Traffic Funnels
This experience has also reiterated to me the value of using blog posts as traffic funnels for my website. I have often focused most of my SEO activity on my product landing pages. This is valid and necessary. However some of these rank well on Google and others not so well.
I am continually frustrated by my inability to rank well for the term ‘computer repairs brisbane’. In fact I would consider this to be one of my two or three most important search terms. Yet here I’ve been able to publish a blog post with a somewhat more focused variation of that term, and I have immediately reached the top position on Google.
Refreshing Old Blog Posts
As a result I have revisited my previous blog posts to intentionally add appropriate keywords. This included adjusting meta titles and the titles of the posts themselves. In particular I ensured that each post mentioned Brisbane and anything else which can localise the post. My business is a local computer repair business, and won’t benefit from acquiring significant traffic from outside my own geographical area. After updating the posts I have resubmitted them to Google for re-indexing.
I do hope that you’ve found this mini case study helpful. As stated earlier, I was very pleasantly surprised to see a new blog post immediately rank at the top position on Google. It has given me a renewed focus on the intentional use of appropriate keywords, and on the use of blog posts as a traffic funnel for my business.