Picture indicating SEO.

How HR Pro’s Can use Search Intent for SEO

Winning the search engine optimization (SEO) game gets more difficult all the time. People can find so much information on the web, it gets overwhelming. Competition for their attention keeps getting stronger. Finding the way to get your audiences’ attention has never been more critical to success and growth. Mastering the ever-changing SEO landscape has never been more difficult or more important.

When businesses think of SEO, they think about using keywords on their websites. Marketers make sure they use keywords the general public is using. Today we also consider the key phrases that people search for instead of individual words.

Search bots now recognize context around the content. Now when you search for a key phrase, search engines can return related results that don’t necessarily have the keyword or phrase on the page. Keywords are still important, but how they are used is more so.

When creating your strategy, you should reflect on your visitor’s purpose. Researchers want to accomplish one of four goals (sometimes more). Those goals are

  1. Research something
  2. Compare items
  3. Buy a product or service
  4. Succeed with something

Let’s look at these goals through the standpoint of a potential client buying software for their Human Resources department.

Research Intent for SEO

In this early stage, your prospect, Tim, needs to make hiring new employees easier. His recruiting staff is swamped with resumes and applications,  averaging 250 per job listing. Communication between staff and HR is cumbersome and slow. Filing systems are antiquated and confusing.

Tim needs a way to make this process easier. He needs an applicant tracking system (ATS).

At this stage in the buying process, he is looking for information. Tim needs to know if a software application can help them. He wants to understand if there is a system that can help him track job postings and responses. Improving communication between hiring managers and the HR department is important. Tim is looking for a way to make their job easier and more efficient.

You should provide helpful content pages that share the advantages of an ATS. You may want to answer the question “What is an Applicant Tracking System?” Or “What does an Applicant Tracking System do?”

The key to success is to find ways to provide Tim with the information he needs to understand that software can be a solution. Your advantage is that you answer his questions without ever sending him a “sales” message. He’ll come back to you for more information and you get to build trust with Tim.

How to Use Compare Intent in SEO

Okay, Tim has learned a lot about ATS’s from your website. He’s excited about buying one for his team. Now he’s looking at specific systems and software.

Because Tim learned so much about ATS’s from you, he’s picked up useful words and phrases to use while he searches for providers. Now it’s time you make sure you have webpages that use those same words and phrases to teach him about your system. You want to share the features your product has, especially the awesome ones you know your competitors don’t have. Don’t forget to share the benefits he get’s if he selects your ATS.

Maybe your system integrates with a third-party email system, the one his company uses. You’ll want to make sure you share the time and effort that can save his staff when communicating with each other. And the easy-to-locate email history for that position.

Remember, at this point he is still looking for information. You need to ensure your content focuses on providing Tim the information he needs to feel like he can make a smart choice.

Scale used to compare two items.

Answering the Research Intent

As Tim moves past his need for information he starts looking to buy. He’ll probably search for questions like “What is the best applicant tracking system for small businesses?” Or he’ll search for ATS reviews.

You want to know what information Tim will find on the web. Will he find your company listed as one of the best ATS’s? If that answer is “no” you have work to do.

You need to know your rating and how it compares with your competitors. When Tim is looking at the web for reviews, he should be finding your company listed with 5-star ratings for your prize features. A strong SEO process can help make that happen for you.

Success Intent – the Last Part of the Journey

The final stage of the buyer’s journey is the success stage. Tim was wowed with all the information you shared with him about ATS’s and how one could help him. He loved the benefits you offer that others didn’t and decided to buy your ATS to help him make his hiring process easier.

Now Tim is back on the web, on your site specifically, looking for ways to succeed. He wants to post new jobs by using features in your ATS, so it tracks positions and creates records for him. He wants to show his staff how to use the email features, so they all talk about a potential hire with one another easier. His staff has run into a glitch and need to know how to fix it.

You want Tim to be able to look for these questions and have search engines return your answering results. It’s more about knowing what questions Tim will ask and then providing answers Google will find.

Final Thoughts

Perhaps this is another helpful way of looking at SEO and keywords. Keywords will provide the dots in the picture. Key phrases are several dots clustered and connected. Google will look for the sites that connect those dots to create the picture.

SEO is a complex idea to master. Just remember, if you keep your prospect in mind, know and understand them, and write to them then you win the biggest struggle with SEO.

As internet users become more savvy in their searches and demand better content, it’s critical that businesses build websites that address researcher needs and motivations. Keywords are important, but the context is more important than the keyword.

I hope you find this information helpful. Let me know in the comments the questions you often have that websites don’t answer.

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