Target Consumer IntentWhat Is Your Target Consumer’s Intent!?


Simply put, building content that targets consumer intent with ANSWERS produces MUCH BETTER business results! But what is the target consumer intent? How can we anticipate what that intent will be and then be there with the right answers when they search?

Nobody wakes up in the morning with their credit card and says, “just let me buy something.” That’s not the way that it works, certainly not today. Especially not for more serious product or service purchases, where the consumer wants to build confidence … pre-purchase.

Nowadays, they use their PCs & phones, in short bursts (= micro-moments), to explore and research what they will eventually want to buy. Many brands still make the mistake of waiting until the “I-want-to-buy” moment to make their pitch. To slug it out with everyone solely prepared for the “I-want-to-buy” part of the purchase funnel is the hardest place to compete! 

A better strategy is to reach them before the competitor does, such as during the “I-want-to-know” moments, to establish confidence & brand affinity! Start at the top of the funnel, where the largest addressable audience is available, and a pipeline of highly qualified leads can be built! Establish a position as the authority, and consumers will have this in mind as they progress on their purchase path. Tip: think about what the long tail of search is and serve it well! 

Consumer Search: Navigational, Informational & Transactional

Consumer searching is generally one of three things: they are navigational, informational, or transactional in nature. Based on this, we as marketers must strive to meet their intent with the right responses, and that is done with our useful informative content. And yes, the content needs to be indexed by the search engines, but this works for marketers because it works for the consumer!

In a time where consumers believe they can research anything they want, we need to consider earning their trust with the answers they seek! Why? Because consumers can be more loyal to an immediate need than they ever will be to a particular brand.

Brands Beware- NOT About You, It Is About Them!


According to Google, when conducting a search on their smartphones, 65% of those surveyed say they look for the most relevant information regardless of the company providing it. 51% of those same smartphone users purchased from a company/brand other than the one they know because the information it provided was useful. For the marketer, it means that investigating intent will help to focus on more specific consumer information needs. Look into things like searches relevant to the product or service category offered. Look for searches that are trending.

Ask yourself if you are truly serving the questions you would ask when YOU search!? Identifying what’s most important to them and prioritizing the creation of answers for those intent-rich moments, where decisions are being made, and preferences are established, is the key! When you provide helpful content in these moments, customers are more likely to keep you in mind as they progress on their purchase path.

What Are ‘Intent Questions’ We Should Anticipate?


  • Think: what do they want to learn about your products or services?
  • Why or under what circumstances would they want to learn about my products or services?
  • What are they doing with my products or services (e.g., baking cookies, buying a home, recovering from an injury)?
  • Would education and/or instruction, maybe even ‘how-to’ instructional content’ support them?

In terms of your content, are the answers to their questions available on your website?

Understanding Google’s Definition of Micro-Moments

Google introduced the concept of micro-moments broken down into I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, and I-want-to-buy moments to help marketers think about consumer intent. Again, 51% of smartphone users surveyed purchased from a company/brand other than the one they know because the information it provided was useful. Each of the different moments reflects different flavors of intent and calls for a specific content response, so the next step is to map out what keywords & questions (Keyword + Where Which, Who, Why, What, How, and Are) consumers will use in their path to conversion.

  • Example I-want-to-go question searches could ( in the moment ) be “What to Do in San Francisco” or “Where to Stay in Miami.” Or maybe people are looking local and are considering buying a product at a local store. Serving this moment means taking your physical business address into their consideration at that moment. ‘Near me’ searches have grown to the degree that 82% of smartphone users say they use them to find a local business.
  • Example I-want-to-know moments are likely more exploring or researching than they are purchase moments. Useful information, maybe even inspiration, is the answer, whereas this is not a moment for the hard sell. Google says 66% of smartphone users search on their smartphones to learn more about something they saw in a TV commercial.
  • Example I-want-to-buy moments are huge, of course. Someone is ready to make the buy and needs help deciding what or which one. Don’t ever assume they will seek you out so much as they will the right information. It is interesting that 82% of smartphone users have consulted their cell phone while in a store?! What do they want to know about your product? A poor example might be the fashion retailer who concentrates solely on I-want-to-buy moments — “I want to buy a blue dress,” for example. With such a narrow focus on JUST checkout, they missed the chance to position their clothing for what-to-wear-in-an-interview or maybe what-to-wear-to-a-business-dinner moments, a potentially big segment for business wear and blue dresses.
  • Example I-want-to-do moments can come before or after the purchase. In either case, these are ‘how to’ moments for getting things done or trying something new. Serving the right content is, again, the key. In fact, ‘how to’ searches continue to grow 70% year-over-year on YouTube. These are the I-need-to-fix-my-lawn-mower moments … the need is for immediate help with getting something done or learning how in these I-want-to-do moments. Because YouTube is so heavily trafficked, video content can play a big role because it allows someone to learn at their own pace. Google says that 48% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose sites provide instructional video content!

Identify and prioritize the moments where questions can be answered, preferences can be established, and then where decisions are being made! Do it before they get to checkout.

Your messaging and content choices should stem from consumer intent and MICRO MOMENTS!

‘Google Screened or Guaranteed’ Advertising – ‘Local Service Ads’

If you haven’t noticed yet, Google added a form of local advertising high atop its local search result pages. So there are ‘Pay Per Click Advertisements’ and then ‘Local Map Pack Listings‘ set over the traditionally sought-after organic search results and NOW Google has also squeezed ‘Local Services Ads’ up top of it all in a local search results page. While the rollout for such ads began in a ‘limited area test’ back in 2015 – this is now a local search result advertising opportunity nationally for businesses or professionals. The purpose, it appears, is to help Google monetize hyperlocal search activity.

It offers a listing advertisement with a status badge, the ‘Google Guaranteed’ badge for home service businesses, or the ‘Google Screened’ badge for professionals. It requires a stringent direct screening process, and some cost, and it appears to have a mixed review from those who have jumped in.

Local Service Ads

What Are ‘Local Service Ads’?

In an effort to monetize the local business connection with local people who search, Google has decided to use the uppermost area of their locally based search result pages for this advertising. These ads show up top when specific local service area searches are executed and just like the traditional PPC Advertisements, the cost is based upon a reaction and not just an eyeball. While ‘cost per reaction’ is not necessarily cheaper, the cost only occurs when a prospective customer calls or messages the advertiser direct through the ad/listing.

NOTE (for instance/per the images used) that while a local to Hillsdale NJ resident may search for a “Hillsdale Real Estate Agent” it does not mean that the ‘Local Service Ads’ area of their search result page will be limited to, nor even prioritize, local Hillsdale NJ RE agents. At least for now this area of the search results will include advertisers from various areas – demonstrated below with ads showing from folks not based in or necessarily near the specified search request of a “Real Estate Agent in Hillsdale NJ”. So it looks like an opportunity but it remains to be seen whether or not the Ads will be effective with highly qualified local searching prospects.



‘Local Service Ad’ Badges – Enhanced Advertiser Signal

1. ‘Google Screened’

‘Local Service Ads’ offer an opportunity to earn & present a status badge, including either ‘Google Screened’ or ‘Google Guarantee’. These badges, in theory, offer local searchers a credibility or confidence signal along with the advertisement.

While the ‘Local Service Ad’ or listing, may show a ‘Google Screened’ icon it is only available to Google Screened advertisers. The advertiser must pass extensive background and/or license checks to have the badge. This free screening process verifies that necessary information and/or licenses are, in fact, current.

2. ‘Google Guarantee’

The ‘Google Guarantee’ also offers the advertiser an opportunity to earn & to present a status badge. Like with ‘Google Screened’ the ‘Google Guarantee’ business owner or professional must pass a strict verification process.

If the business owner or professional is backed by a ‘Google Guarantee’ status, its’ customer (that came via this Local Service Ad) may be insured for a level of quality. At its sole discretion, it means that Google may guarantee a level of quality OR reimburse the customer up to a certain amount paid.


It appears that new Local Service Ads are an evolving area of advertising in Google search results. Currently, they are only available to certain service categories. As mentioned above the ‘Google Guaranteed’ or ‘Google Screened’ badges require a direct with Google stringent screening process, some cost, and it appears to have a mixed review from those who have jumped in.

Do You Answer Your Reviews?responding to reviews


Do you want to improve reputation management and SEO with one effort? We’ve written about the importance of a) getting reviews, b) the management of a negative review, as well as c) how the law sees a business that fakes its reviews, but what is rarely discussed is having a discipline for d) responding to reviews. SEO signal and reputation management opportunities exist when responding to reviews, good or bad. A business must understand that when dialogue stems from a review it demonstrates an appreciation for that persons’ business to the entire public of prospective buyers. And because review content can draw consumers when they search, it only makes sense that the Google algorithm looks at & counts keywords in this exchange of information.

How we respond matters to more than just a reviewer, good or bad, so let’s look at some best practices for maximizing the benefits of a review.

Tips For Responding To Reviews


1. Acknowledge The Reviewer In A Response

– By using a reviewer’s name the business owner not only grabs that reviewers’ attention, but it acknowledges her personal thoughts. It simultaneously demonstrates accessibility to the public and is likely appreciated by both!

2. Acknowledge Details In A Response

– By acknowledging details of the review in response, the business demonstrates a genuine interest in what that person thinks. By taking the time a business also shows a reviewer, as well as the public, commitment to customer service.

3. Offer Advice Related To The Review In A Response

– By offering advice based upon details of the review in response, the reviewer and the public may become aware of other options. It’s possible that advice will generate more and future interactions, if not transactions.

4. Use Target Keywords In A Response!

– According to Moz’s 2017 survey of local search ranking factors, reviews are a signal that influences how businesses rank locally. Being we all know Google uses reviews as one of their (200) signals for ranking companies and their content, it’s good logic they are reviewing the keywords in that content as well. While we cannot control what our reviewer says, we can leverage keywords when we respond! Note: a rule we should all live by with SEO is ‘the content needs to be good enough for humans to be good enough for search engines. So when writing a response, be careful to use keywords in a context related to the review exchange. Do not ‘keyword stuff’ and be sure that you- yourself would trust that response before publishing it.

Get In Touch!

Any questions about reviews, reputation management, or genuine outsourced web support, please do not hesitate to get in touch. And ask us about Local SEO best practices – increased visibility, traffic, and better lead capture performance!

About Live Website-based Chat For Business

Maybe because chat for business can serve as a convenient visitor-friendly option to a phone call, some companies are adopting these website-based applications. What should your business do? What follows willAdvantages and Disadvantages of Chat For Business Owners list some of the advantages and also the disadvantages to consider, so that you can make an informed decision about ‘chat’.

And keep in mind that while there are obvious advantages, there is never a ‘one fits all’ business solution. Many of our clients have jumped into chat, only to quickly shut it down having witnessed ‘live’ challenges that they’d rather not have nor adjust for. Let’s start with the downside and then get into all the potential for upside.

Potential Disadvantages Of Chat For Business

If your company offers chat for business then the public’s expectation is that you are available. Immediately! This can be a difficult challenge or a disadvantage for many small to medium-sized business owners who are in the habit of answering a phone call, when possible. And when it’s not possible to answer that call, knowing that a ‘message left’ affords a convenient option to return the call soon as is possible. Not all businesses are designed to have agents at the ready and they don’t necessarily have to in order to succeed. In many cases, a business may not have the resources to be on the public’s timeline.

What’s more, some generations are unlikely to use a website’s chat application. Some are simply conditioned to call, having no problem leaving a message when they don’t get through. Depending on whether or not a business is valued, a non-immediate contact form, a phone number to call, and/or a direct email address option may be all that’s necessary to satisfy this part of the greater population.

The Advantages Of Chat

Those disadvantages being to a particular kind of business, there are obviously great advantages to the average business too.

  • Chat is easy for website visitors, and (possibly) for clients alike because it is immediate. For some, it is more appealing than a phone call or an email.
  • There’s less chance of ‘customer service employee’ exhaustion with chat, for instance, being able to more easily deal with an angry text as opposed to an extremely difficult phone call.
  • Chat affords a simpler way to answer common questions, via prepared answers; thereby, empowering ‘customer service employees’ a means to deal with multiple interactions simultaneously.
  • Chat applications may afford a means for keeping a written record of interactions, for when an exchange needs further interpretation by those other than the ‘customer service employee’.
  • Chat applications may afford ‘customer service employees’ to see what website page the visitor is on, possibly making it easier to support or guide them on it or to other useful pages.
  • Chat may afford an ability to track & count the kinds of interactions that are coming in.
  • It’s possible that documents can be transferred right in a chat window.
  • It’s possible to integrate access for popular messaging apps, possibly FB Messenger, WhatsApp, and other 3rd party apps making the chat application even more user-friendly.
  • If it matters to the individual visitor, chat is potentially more discreet than a phone or email conversation.
  • Chat may be set up to require registration information to start, affording a business the chance to gather lead information directly into a CRM program for follow-up.

Chat Summarized

As stated above, businesses and their target audiences come in all shapes & sizes – so there is never a ‘one fits all’ business communication solution. Not all of the old ways are bad and in many cases, they remain very productive. Ultimately be careful with a ‘chat for business decision’, consider all the potential advantages and also how some of those might actually be a disadvantage for your business.

Chat or chatbot Defined:
Chat Application Option: