What is search intent?
Search intent is the “why” behind the search. For every time a person opens their laptop and begins a search, they require differenttypes of information to fulfil their desires. It is Google primary goal to find the best suited information/website for the users search. It is a vitalpart of an SEO campaign to understand this intent, then develop and mould website content in order to fulfil these varying desires better.
For example, when a person googles ‘Is a yoga mat worth it?’, this person will need further convincing before they will purchase, compared to a person that googles ‘Buy red yoga mat’. The second person clearly has a different intent, they already know what a yoga mat is and they know what specific one they want to buy, which with correct SEO will direct them toward a different landing page for each intent.
Aligning your website content strategy with searcher intent can make or break a brand online. In my personal experience in working with Hex Design digital agency, clients can be sitting on great content ideas and SEO but fall short buyer intent optimisation.
Why is searcher intent important for SEO?
It’s Google’s main goal
Satisfying a searchers intent is a priority forGoogle. If a person went onto Google and it took them to long to find the information they wanted, Google will have failed it’s purpose. Think about it this way: The internet is a giant library with infinite isles of websites to browse. Google is a robotic librarian, tasked to send you to the perfect section for your particular search phrase. Without the searcher intent or the “librarian”to guide said intent, you’d get lost very fast.
Improves your rankings
Some of Google’s primary ingredients for SEO rankings are relevance and authority.
Relevance relates to user behaviour. Google has algorithms which measure bounce times (how long a user stays on a page). If a website’s bounce times are low, the page will lose relevance for certain keywords. A page also gains or loses relevance by the value of its information to a searcher. The content in your website needs to be structured in a clear, well formatted manner.
Authority is connected with back-linking. Back-linking is essentially a vote of confidence by another website in the same niche. Checkout our link building section on our SEO page for more information on backlinks. Building quality backlinks to your landing pages will increase your page authority by increasing traffic. It also shows Google that the information you provide is recognised by other people with authoritative websites.
Types of searcher intent
Search intent can be separated into four main search goals:
· Commercial investigation
In this case the searcher is after information on a subject. Usually, they will be looking for blogs, articles and informative pages like Wikipedia.
In relation to your website, it’s important that you don’t attract these users straight to a ‘Call to action’ page. Instead, you need to fulfil their search desire by providing relevant information (such as blogs or free resources) that will help the user learn about what they asked for. Then, once the user is in your informative blog article, you can begin to funnel them down the chain using internal linking.
Is an on-page SEO strategy that should be used in a natural way, to give the reader access to a service page you offer or another blog article related to the topic that they may want to read more about.
The goal is to draw the user further into your website, so they can learn that they want to learn, while also subtly promoting your product or service. The key here is to convince the user of your expertise before they get to the ‘Call to actions’
The same concept applies with guest posting on other website blogs. View my article about guest posting for authority. Guest posting is a powerful SEO back-linking strategy that involves writing blog posts for other highly authoritative blogs. Some bloggers have thousands of monthly readers. Guest posting allows you to harness these monthly readers by directing some of them through a backlink to your website.
Here is an example. If you own a yoga mat selling company and a user Google searches “Health benefits of yoga”. The key thing to realize here is they aren’t necessarily wanting to buy a yoga mat. However, they are interested in the activity.
· “What diets to lose fat”.
· “Who is Lionel Messi”.
· “Rugby scores”.
The words you will want to include while developing content for informational search intent is how, what, when, who and how..
The searcher is looking for a specific product or service but are yet to decide which is the best match. In this case they will typically be searching for reviews or product comparison blog posts.
Examples of this searcher intent:
· “Best surfboard brand”
· “Divi vs Elementor”
· “Best restaurants in Sydney”
The keywords you will be wanting to use when developing content for this intent will generally involve the words ‘best’, ‘vs’ and other comparative adjectives. Similar to informational, this is a great kind of search intent as the user usually is thinking about buying a product, they just need a little bit of convincing first. Another great revenue producing strategy you can use with commercial investigation is affiliate marketing. Once you’ve built a blog with decent authority you can link back to the product landing pages which you are comparing in your comparative article and get commission for directing the user to their product.
For this searcher type, the searcher already knows the exact website they want to go to. They just use a google search because itsfaster than typing a URL.
Examples of this are:
· “SEMrush dashboard”
Generally, this search intent is for people that have a preexisting account with a company.
This kind of searcher intent is our favourite. The searcher has an intent of buying a product. Usually, they know what specific type of product they want. Having an eCommerce platform that has high authority in your market is very important. The searcher will know what product they want, but not always where they want to buy it from. Being on the first page and having an eye-catching conversion driven eCommerce platform is essential to stand out to the shopper.
Examples of transactional search intent:
· “Buy yoga mat”
· “Yoga mat sale”
· “Discount yoga mat store”
· “Premium nonstick yoga mat”
Transactional search keywords include words like 'buy’, ‘store’ ‘cheap’ and ‘sale’. Make sure to optimise your main landing pages and product pages with these keywords, to boost your chances of showing up as a top-ranking page. Google also returns a widget of the specific product pages at the top of every product search.
Keyword research for search intent
When searching for keyword phrases to create content with, there are many free keyword research tools that allow you to filter keywords to specific phrases that relate to a search intent.
We know that informational searches will contain words like “How to” or “What is”. Keyword finder tools allow you to input a niche keyword and they will return variations of that keyword. You will find question variations, as well as being able to filter for keyword phrases that begin with ‘How to’ or ‘best’ etc. widget.
Look for the keywords that have a higher monthly search volume. I usually only use keywords with over 100 monthly searches. Youcan filter for monthly search volume on most keyword finders as well.
SERP’s or Search Engine Results Pages are another great way of finding topics to talk about for search intent.
For informational intent, search in Google ‘How to’ and a target keyword and you will find vast amounts of informational blogs, news articles and pages like Wikipedia with great information on your target topic.
For commercial search intent, the results will be different. There will usually be paid advertising at the top of the search but below should be some useful blogs with title formats like “Best tennis rackets2021” or “Top 10 tennis racket brands”.
Record the topics you like in a spread sheet and get writing!
Navigational speaks for itself. The user already knows the exact location they want to go.
Transactional search intent will return the product widget at the top of the page then usually landing pages that will take you directly to an eCommerce platform.
How to optimise for search intent
At this stage you have keywords for search intent and know which pages to apply them to. The main factors to create successful website pages and content that is optimised for search intent is to match your websites metadata.
Changing heading tags
Make sure to highlight your main keywords using h1tags on each page. Then, format the content of the page in a clear hierarchical structure using the HTML heading tag numbers.
Remember, Google needs to easily read what your information is about so it can view it as a valuable resource and rank you higher than your competitors.
Optimising Content Creation
When writing information for an article. Try to keep it specific to the topic, it’s easy to get lost in the infinite web of different terms related to your niche. Especially if you’re passionate about it! If there is topic you think people may need to learn about, input a link to another article you or someone else wrote about it, preferably you. This also adds to your internal linking score which adds to your page ranking.
Focus your attention on creating satisfying and engaging content for the readers, this will make them more likely to read more of your articles or even probe your website further for your products or services. This process is all a part of an effective marketing funnel. A term you have probably heard of and is a strategical process you adapt to your business that will draw different people with different intent into your funnel at different stages, all with the end goal of a conversion or sale!
We have covered everything you need to know about search intent. Here is a quick recap:
· Search intent is an effective way of streamlining your marketing campaign and increasing conversions drastically.
· There are four different types of search intent. Finding search intent specific keyword phrases and creating content such as blogs and eBooks and is a key way to gain authority.
· Develop an efficient back-linking strategy to go with your intent specific content. This will also generate authority and increase traffic to your website.
· Optimise your content for the Google algorithms, so the articles are more likely to be visible to potential clients.