To get found and to deliver obvious navigation for your site visitors you need to make sure that your page URL, titles, headings (H1) and navigation are aligned with your users interests. These are your content labels.
Poor labeling will leave your visitor confused and probably frustrated as they endeavor to find what they want, struggling to match your language with their intent. Both of which are very likely to deliver a quick visitor exit.
Content labels matched with user intent
There will be equal impact for your SEO. If you have not managed to align your labels with the common intent of your intended audience your page will not be found or not presented as a match. Or if you are found when viewing your page in SERP’s many viewers will click through based on the keywords in the URL and page title, maybe ignoring your page description. If they do not see their keywords poor labeling will have deprived you of the click
In a recent post I noted an example from Matt Cutts where he suggested “don’t just write, “Mt. Everest Height” but write, “How high is Mt. Everest?” because that is how people search”.
In a recent post on Search Engine Land Harrison Jones looks at this topic with some interesting examples. He describes working with a client on a “context audit” where he is looking exactly at this issue.
“..you will need to take a few steps back and get into the mind of the client’s target audience — a practice generally known as creating user personas.”
Understanding your audience, getting under their skin will help you identify their keywords and likely intent. You can then use this insight to review your labels. The gas example demonstrates how using a term “gas industry” is too generic as a label when the content is better aligned with a more specific “natural gas refinery solutions”. A better match between content and label – and with user intent.
Review your existing content labels
For the next stage use your persona findings and evaluate. Does current content labeling match what you audience wants? Take a look at how easy it is to use jargon that is well understood within a business but not what the target audience might use to find the same information. Go through your pages and revise your labels.
NB You should also consider that your audience might well contain several different “personas” make sure you have content and labels that will appeal to all of them.
Get your content labels right and your target audience will find it easier to find you and find their way around your site. All of which will improve engagement, leads, conversions and your online ROI.
If you would like some additional resource to help you review your site, content, labels and personas please get in touch >>