Are you moving heaven and earth to gain better visibility for your business on Google but still aren’t getting the results? The reason could be that your customers’ search intent was not satisfied.
Whenever you search for something online, you type in certain keywords in the hope of finding a result that answers your query. For example, if you search for ‘hardwood flooring in Toronto’, you will get a list of local hardwood stores. If you put in a specific neighbourhood, you will get an even more specific set of stores.
When Google understands its users’ intent, it will even go one step further and auto-generate alternative terms. For example, it will give you results like ‘best hardwood flooring near me’, ’engineered hardwood flooring Toronto’, ‘best hardwood flooring stores in Toronto’, et cetera.
Due to Google’s evolving algorithm, many SEO companies have started focusing on user search intent to offer relevant content. This is because Google is only ranking those pages that best answer the searcher’s query.
So, if your website is struggling to rank in search engine results pages (SERP), you need to ensure that your post/page fits your audience’s search intent to rank higher.
In this post we will go over search intent in depth, focusing on its impact on SEO, its various types, and how to optimize it for better SERP ranking.
Why Is Search Intent Important for SEO?
There are many advantages when it comes to going beyond the technicalities of keywords to understand human search intent. Because you must understand that your content will ultimately be read by a human who is the one to make that final choice to buy or not to buy.
That means that old SEO practices like keyword stuffing will not help you anymore. However, that does not mean that you can overlook keywords. You have to integrate search intent along with relevant keywords into your content to achieve a higher ranking. Let’s discuss some of the major benefits that SEO can avail itself when it comes to search intent.
- Google’s job is to return the most relevant answer to a search query. If you understand what Google wants in order to satisfy the user’s search intent, you will be able to create more targeted content and higher rankings in search results.
- A significant part of how semantic SEO provides users with relevant search results is through search intent. Your website can attain relevant qualified traffic through improved intent optimization, which could result in higher landing page conversion rates.
- When it comes to prioritizing and qualifying your keyword opportunities, search intent can play a major role in the critical ranking factor.
- When people get what they want from their search query, they are more likely to stay on your pages. This reduces your website’s bounce rates and it means they are more likely to engage with the rest of your content.
- Since your audience gets a better user experience, they are more likely to view you as an authority and will keep coming back. This way, Google also understands your authority and ranks your pages higher in the SERPs.
These benefits make intent optimization important. Do it right and you will see larger audiences, more qualified traffic, and better engagement metrics for your content. Now, let’s learn about different types of search intent.
How Many Types of Search Intent Are There?
How frustrated would you be if you just wanted to learn how to ride a bike but all your search results tried to sell you one instead? That frustration is basically what Google is trying to eliminate adding user intent to your SEO strategy.
It will help you do more effective keyword research by targeting search terms that align with your business’s and audience’s needs. This way, you will be able to create content that answers user questions and organizes pages so that both users and search engines find them easily.
There are four main types of intent categories: information, navigational, commercial, and transactional.
Informational intent is basically when a user is trying to learn more about a certain topic. This could be information about anything, from weather to repairing a flat bike tire. People with informational intent have a specific question that they want answered.
If you want to optimize for informational intent, follow these guidelines:
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate because people who are looking for certain information want to find it easily and quickly.
- Use relevant keywords related to your topic. Then, create your website copy and content around your ideal customer’s search intent to increase your visibility and traffic. For example, if your website creates content on health and diet, and people are looking for an answer to ‘what to eat on a low carb diet’, create content around that phrase.
- Pay close attention to the information users are searching for online and then create your content accordingly to provide a clear, straightforward answer. For example, a ‘how-to’ query typically looks for a structured process. So, create content in an ordered list with clear, numbered steps and subheads with detailed information below them. Google uses these headers to assemble rich snippets in search results.
- You can also add relevant lists, charts, videos, and images to present your information in a more reader-friendly manner.
In this type of search intent, the user wants to visit a specific website, page, domain, or physical address. Here, users already know what they are looking for but need help getting to a specific product or service page.
Users typically search for the brand name in their query along with the product. For example, someone may look for an ‘upholstered chair from Store A’. They know they want an upholstered chair and that it is from Store A. They just want to navigate to a page with upholstered chairs to find the right one.
When you look at the search results for navigational searches, the SERPs focus on homepages and product pages for specific websites. So, if you are targeting keywords like this, make sure that your website can be found when someone searches for your company’s name online. Ranking high for navigational intent can be beneficial if customers are looking for your site. Ensure your location and contact information are easily accessible on your website and take the help of local SEO providers so that your potential customers can easily find you.
Now let’s learn about how you can use navigational intent information to optimize your content marketing.
- Queries from navigational intent can give you insight into how users think about your brand. For example, if there are many queries for a specific product page, it is probably popular among your audience. So, plan your marketing strategies accordingly so that the page sustains that popularity.
- If you see a sudden spike in any page, like customer service searches, you should look into the matter to make it more organized and easier to navigate to target navigational keywords.
- All your page content should be clearly labelled, with headers, page titles, tags, and descriptions that tell the user what information they’ll find there.
- Ensure that all products and services you offer have a proper dedicated landing page that contains the appropriate brand, product names, and all other relevant details.
- Optimize your URLs to be descriptive, easy to read, and SEO-friendly.
Transactional searches have the most commercial intent. Here, the user is online to buy a product or service. You can often see phrases like ‘price’ or ‘discount’ added to the keyword because they are ready to buy.
In most cases, they already know exactly what they want to buy and just want to get to that product page right away. These types of searchers might also use terms such as ‘reviews’ or ‘product reviews’ to make an informed decision.
For this search intent, you will find pages including product and subscription pages. You will rarely ever see informational pages, as at this stage users are beyond consuming information and ready to make a transaction.
So, let’s learn how to optimize transactional intent.
- Decide on how you want your users to convert. Do you want them to register? Or do you want them to buy something?
- Transactional keywords are typically used by users who are ready to convert to paid customers. Seize this opportunity by targeting relevant transactional keywords with an optimized product landing page and an easy purchasing process.
- Write conversion-optimized text, which leads to the decision process by showing the most critical information in an easy-to-understand manner. It will also help Google understand what is on the page, so they can show it to users when they are ready to convert.
- Use a clear CTA that is easy for users to spot and understand so they can easily and quickly complete their conversion.
Commercial intent is when a user has the intent to purchase soon and wants to learn more before making a purchase decision. In these searches you will find a mix of informational and transactional searches, or you can say that these are informational searches that have a transactional intent. So, when you look at the SERPs for these queries, you will see both informational and product pages.
For example, ‘Which washing machine is best?’ or ‘Which SEO tool is most helpful?’ Here you will see that initially they are searching for information but they have a transactional intent as well.
So, how do you use this intent to optimize your content marketing? Let’s find out.
- Make a note of your audience’s queries and plan your commercial keywords accordingly. The more efficiently your audience can find and use this information, the more likely they will convert.
- When your user is deciding between two products, you can provide them with a page of information where they can compare them. With equivalent information on both sides and plenty of visuals, users can quickly find differences and details they care about.
- The most important information in all the commercial pages should be the most prominent. For example, if users are looking for a mobile phone, the name of the phone, its rating, and reviews should be displayed on top, followed by the technical details and other subsidiary information. This way, users can educate themselves quickly and make a seamless purchase decision.
- Optimize it with descriptive page titles, headers, meta descriptions, and URLs.
- Finally, make it as easy as possible for users to purchase, with links to more information, lead generation forms, or purchase pages.
When you are creating content, make sure that it aligns both with the interests of your business and the search intent of your audience. Plan your content using relevant keywords to help the audience when they look for information. Be the first result when someone searches for your company name. Finally, provide them with such effective content that not only answers their question but also persuades them towards your sales page when they are ready to convert.