Creating New Content Using Search Behavior

Improving Enterprise Performance

by understanding Human Search Behavior

Call Lexington eBusiness ConsultingPreparing content so that it can be found easily by people requires the understanding and interactions of three disciplines augmented by a fourth – understanding how people find and consume content. Though clearly in a symbiotic relationship, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content and Search Engines are often dealt with as if they are stand-alone disciplines. For example:

  1. Content can be developed without the understanding of how it will be positioned within a website or how consumers actually search for information.
  2. Websites can be designed and developed without a coherent initial content, SEO or search strategy – SEO experts are brought in after the site is completed to optimize the best that they can.
  3. SEO / content experts can know about search, but often don’t really understand in any depth how search relevancy works and how it impacts their content in search results.

SEO, Content and Search need to be thought about in a unified way to generate the most benefits for your consumers. The graphic below is a very useful way to view how it falls together at a very high level. In this session I will deal with Human Search Behavior.

Lexington eBusiness Consulting Mark Sprague

Optimize via Human Behavior

The following is an example of how to transform Internet-based human search behavior into a web site content model. This scenario is applicable in a human resources oriented web site that provides HR related training materials for employers.  Let’s consider the hypothetical employee (Bob) who is complaining that “my co-worker is a real jerk, what can I do about this?”

How does Bob go about finding information?  Bob is not a content expert, nor does he view the world organizationally like the company corporate librarian does. What are the right search terms? Is it “dealing with jerks”?  In practice Bob will probably start his search looking for information through Google. He will search iteratively until he strikes gold, or gives up.

There are really two parts to understanding human search behavior…the first is topical in nature – what kind of content are people interested in, and second how do they go about finding the information about their topic. It turns out that the topic (difficult co-workers) is framed within two search phrases that return great search results and high-quality content. These phrases are:

  1. Workplace Conflict
  2. Conflict in the Workplace

AdWords Data aids Enterprise Optimization

Below are the top 25 searches by volume (From Google Adwords)

  1. Conflict in the workplace
  2. Resolving [conflict in the workplace]
  3. Dealing with [conflict in the workplace]
  4. Handling  [conflict in the workplace]
  5. [Workplace conflict] resource center
  6. Types of [conflict in the workplace]
  7. [Workplace conflict] Scenarios
  8. Conflict prevention in the workplace
  9. Conflict resolution strategies in the workplace
  10. Effects of  [conflict in the workplace]
  11. Sources of [conflict in the workplace]
  12. Cost of  [Workplace conflict]
  13. Cultural  [conflict in the workplace]
  14. Avoiding [conflict in the workplace]
  15. Solving [Workplace conflict]
  16. [Workplace conflict] situations
  17. [Workplace conflict] mediation
  18. Examples of [conflict in the workplace]
  19. [Workplace conflict] video
  20. [Workplace conflict] solutions
  21. PPT conflict workplace
  22. Reasons For [conflict in the workplace]
  23. [Workplace conflict] resolution training
  24. Understanding [conflict in the workplace]
  25. [Workplace conflict] training

A Look at How They Search

Upon examination we see that people are modifying these two primary search phrases to examine different aspects of the problem. They are doing this by adding a third or fourth search term such as:

  1. First, they use search terms that show interest in problem solving scenarios 
    • Secondary search terms: Resolving, Dealing with, Handling, Avoiding and Solving
  2. Second, they are interested in the types of workplace conflict that may exist:
    • Secondary search terms: Types of , Scenarios, Situations and Examples of
  3. Third, they want to identify the root causes of workplace conflict:
    • Secondary search terms: Source, Cultural and Reasons for
  4. Fourth, they want to understand the effect of workplace conflict on the company:
    • Secondary search terms: Effects on and Cost
  5. Fifth, they want to educate and prevent workplace conflict:
    • Secondary search terms: Prevention, Avoiding, Training, Education and Understanding
  6. Sixth, they are looking for specific types of content:
    • Secondary search terms: Videos, PPT and Training

Content Strategy

There is remarkable keyword consistence in how people are conducting their searches in the AdWords data set (200 search phrases that are searched ten million times a month). In this analysis we have identified six search behavior patterns. This knowledge suggests the following content creation strategy for Workplace Conflict.

The name of this web page would be titled Conflict in the Workplace, and should have a tag line that includes the phrase Workplace Conflict. This page would be organized according to the themes identified above. The five major sections would be:

  1. Dealing with workplace conflict
  2. Kinds of workplace conflict
  3. What causes workplace conflict
  4. The cost of workplace conflict
  5. Understanding and preventing workplace conflict
  6. More content…

This analysis would also suggest that the Conflict in the Workplace website content be repurposed as a Power Point presentations, videos and PDF documents.

Keep in mind that this analysis deals with just the top 25 searches by volume. If the analysis was expanded to the top 100 or 200 phrases more content opportunities would likely be available.

Understanding human search behavior through keyword research by Mark Sprague


SEO suggestions

The Conflict in the Workplace title should also be in the web pages’ URL link (i.e. WWW.MyCompany.com/Human-Resources/Conflict-in-the-Workplace).

The phrase “Workplace Conflict” should be used in the Title and Description Tags, and as a major labeling device throughout the web page (H1 tags and Anchors).

These primary and secondary terms which reflect real human behavior should be reflected in the body of the text, and in your web site SEO keyword strategy for web page optimization.

Further Analysis

Identifying how a topic is actually being discussed (the terms and phrases) requires research and thoughtful analysis.  Doing this provides the basis for developing focused content that people actually search for and consume.  For example, it is very useful to take a look at the secondary terms that are being used to see what else they can tell us about search behavior. When you resolve an AdWords data set for secondary terms it provides a different view of human search behavior. 

Understanding this provides the basis for developing a focused topical content strategy.  But, how do you know which category is the most important?  One approach is to look at the secondary terms that are being used to see what else they can tell us about search behavior.  When you resolve an AdWords data set for the secondary terms it provides a different view of human search behavior, and it shows which of the terms are the most important.

Top Secondary Terms by Volume

In the example below we see that  the entire search experience can be summed up in ten to twenty secondary terms. The way to think about this table is that the terms Resolution and Resolve appeared in 894,079 search phrases in a single month (in 200 keyword phrases). Clearly when it comes to Workplace Conflict, user search behaviour overwhelmingly implies  interest in “managing” and “resolving” workplace conflict.

So what is the implication? This analysis suggest that Workplace Conflict Resolution is a major theme and should be used in the URL string and in the Title and Description Tags. The secondary theme would be Management of Conflict in the Workplace and would make an excellent H1 tag.

The next thing you do is take a look at the top ten terms to decide if any of them would make good content blocks. In this group, a couple jump right out at you. I would develop supporting text blocks that deal with:

  • Workplace Conflict Strategies
  • Workplace Conflict Training

Another option, you could combine Mediation and Techniques to create, for example, Workplace Conflict Mediation Techniques.

The important thing to remember here is that the secondary terms in keyword phrases can help you fashion content people are actually searching for. Google taught the world how to search, and people are using the same methods on the Internet and in the Enterprise. If you have good search-logs that can be analyzed, you could use these to generate a search behavior model – if not, web search behavior is a good place to start.

Work place conflict by Mark Sprague

If you would like to talk about your enterprise performance call me at 781-862-3126 or  contact me at: Mark@MSprague.com

Lexington eBusiness Consulting

About Lexington eBusiness Consulting

Providing comprehensive Enterprise SEO services to the Boston community…

Mark Sprague’s 25 years of product development experience which includes expertise in Search Engines, Information Products, SEO platforms and Social Networking applications provide in-depth expertise to help you refine products and services, and improve your web sites performance by:

  • Developing a superior data-driven SEO strategy for your website.
  • Understanding your customers’ search behavior and normalizing it to your content strategy.
  • Understanding how search engine technology practically impacts SEO and content strategies.
  • Understanding how search technology impacts content in a social networking environment.
  • Developing a superior user experience based on sound information architecture, usability and coding standards.

Lexington eBusiness Consulting
LinkedIn Company Profile
LinkedIn Personal Profile

Lexington eBusiness Consulting

List of Lexington eBusiness Clients

List of Lexington eBusiness Clients

Lexington eBusiness Consulting
Mark Sprague,  CEO
580 Lowell Street
Lexington, MA 02420

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ดูแลผู้ป่วย
    Sep 23, 2014 @ 00:10:12

    Thanks for the marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading
    it, you happen to be a great author. I will
    make sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will
    come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to continue your great job,
    have a nice afternoon!


  2. mryachts
    May 31, 2011 @ 22:39:52

    Thank you for your article. One tool that I use when doing keyword research is Google’s Wonder Wheel. This give suggestions for related search terms. Are there any other tool that you would suggest using?

    Mick Robinson


  3. gourmet coffee gifts
    Aug 23, 2010 @ 20:55:54

    Such a well written post.. Thnkx for sharing this post!


  4. Telefone Schnurlos
    Aug 15, 2010 @ 08:16:32

    the precious ideas you presented do help my investigation for my group, appreaciate that.


  5. Devin
    Jul 28, 2010 @ 01:41:00

    Thanks for replying, Mark. Your insights are very interesting — you should write a book. I appreciate for sharing your knowledge with newbies like me.


  6. Devin
    Jul 27, 2010 @ 02:05:35

    Wow, this is really great SEO Insight. I’m interested in learning more about how you segment the search behaviors. Any tips on how to develop those skills? Also, do you find other tools helpful in this process like Google Insights or other intelligence tools


    • Mark Sprague
      Jul 27, 2010 @ 17:50:24

      Hi Devin, The insight comes from three sources; first – years of experience with consumers, usability and search engine technologies. Second, working with content, taxonomies and content classification projects – and finally, digging into technology behind search, meta data, and auto-classification technologies. I’m glad you liked the article.


  7. pregnancymiraclexxz
    Jul 26, 2010 @ 04:00:51

    Love this blog, thank you for it


  8. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 17:26:09

    I like that this tackles some of the more technical issues that many blog posts and white papers don’t. Thank you. I added this post to my resources section in “QR Codes: What You Need to Know,” a primer for marketers and printers.


    It’s nice that you mentioned micro-codes, which is something I don’t see discussed in other places.


    • Mark Sprague
      Jul 11, 2010 @ 08:04:04

      Thanks. I was thinking of adding a round-up of all the other codes…do you think that would be useful?


  9. venturedebt
    Jun 23, 2010 @ 15:39:21

    Very thoughtful analysis! I’ve found that some things seem simple until you bring in a subject matter expert who educates me to how a lot of thought has to go into something to make it simple. Here’s another example…http://wp.me/pTFOT-L


    • Mark Sprague
      Jun 23, 2010 @ 17:05:08

      Thanks – glad you found the analysis useful…if you ever want to dig into more detail let me know.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: