Developing an understanding of search intent is an important stepping stone towards achieving SEO success.
Capitalising on the popularity of search engines is all about matching the needs of searchers with the products and services you provide, so your content should be optimised accordingly.
Provided to us by the SEO experts at Champions Digital, this article will take a look at some of the ways in which you can ensure your content is better tailored to the intent of your users. It’ll explore the various types of search intent, as well as offering useful tips on what they mean for your digital efforts. Let’s get stuck in.
Why Search Intent Matters
Every online search is conducted with a specific motivation in mind, and there are a myriad of reasons why a user might turn to the Internet for answers.
In the world of SEO, the underlying motivation behind a search is commonly referred to as ‘search intent’ or ‘user intent’, and these reasons offer valuable clues on how best to present products and services online.
In many cases, your online content will only hit the mark if it matches the specific intent a user had in mind when navigating towards it. For example, if a user is in the market for industrial cleaning services but is instead greeted with an in-depth review of a specific detergent, the content in question is unlikely to secure a conversion or sale.
So which kinds of intent might a searcher have when researching a query online, and more importantly, how can you start designing your content around it? In order for us to be able to answer that question, let’s first take a look at some of the most common types of search intent.
The Main Types of Search Intent
The various types of search intent can be roughly categorised into three main areas, which are:
The wealth of information on offer is arguably the Internet’s greatest achievement, so it’s no surprise that informational searches are among the most common search types.
Users take to the Internet to find information on every topic imaginable, and although purchasing a product or service may not be the end goal these users have in mind, informational searches do provide potentially valuable opportunities for businesses to capitalise on.
Targeting these searches often begins with narrowing down the informational searches that relate to your specific products, services or industry. One of the best ways of doing this is by creating online content that provides an answer to the queries users are searching for. Doing so will help introduce your brand to a potentially lucrative target audience, helping you drive traffic in the process.
Navigational intent concerns users who are entering a search term to navigate towards a specific website. Examples of this are search terms such as ‘Microsoft’, ‘Twitter’ or any other brand name.
Navigational searches usually offer little value as far as optimisation is concerned, although one exception to this is when a search term is specifically aimed at finding your brand or website. If this is the case, your website should be optimised in a way that makes it as easy as possible for searchers to find the website they’re looking for.
Commercial and Transactional Intent
Searches made with commercial intent are immensely valuable in that they demonstrate an initial interest in purchasing a commercial product or service. Searches made with commercial intent include users researching information online prior to making a purchase.
Even though not all commercial searches will lead to a transaction straightaway, content that is tailored to them can nonetheless play a crucial role in influencing purchasing decisions. That influence becomes especially important when users conduct a search with transactional intent further down the line.
Transactional searches are commercially-focused in and of themselves, although they relate to users searching with the specific aim of making a transaction. One of the most common examples of transactional search terms is ‘buy product X’. Other examples include search terms that include the name of a specific product, discounts and more.
In most cases, commercial and transactional searches offer the most targeting potential. Having said that, effectively optimising your content for search intent will require you to cover several bases at once, so try to take a broader approach where possible.
Search Intent Targeting Tips
Whether you are taking the reins yourself or getting a digital agency to help you, here are some best practice tips to help you master your SEO when it comes to search intent.
1. Consider Search Intent When Researching Keywords
Considering search intent when conducting keyword research can go a long way in improving your ability to target different types of search terms.
One way of doing this is to separate your target keywords according to intent. If you can focus on a mix of intents from the start, you’ll have laid the basis from which to build your optimisation strategy.
2. Incorporate Informational Keywords in Your Content
If you’re planning to target informational searches with your content, make sure to incorporate these search terms throughout various parts of your content, including your title, descriptions and headings.
Users that navigate towards your page should be able to easily find an answer to their specific query and incorporating these queries in your content is one of the most effective ways of making it happen.
3. Include a Call-to-Action (CTA)
A well-crafted call-to-action can make or break a user’s decision to make a conversion. Whether you’re targeting an informational, commercial or transactional search, you should invest some time in creating a CTA that prompts the user to take action.
CTAs aren’t just about writing convincing copy, however. As one of the most important elements of your page, it’s important for them to clearly stand out. The overall design of your page can play a role here, which leads up to our next tip.
4. Pay Attention to Visual Elements
First impressions matter, and nowhere does that saying ring truer than in the digital world. The visual aspects of a website are key in shaping a user’s perception of your business, and with it, the products and services you have to offer.
A user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing website design can go a long way in determining whether or not your content meets the needs of searchers. By presenting useful information in a digestible and compelling way, visual elements such as infographics can also help improve your ability to capitalise on a variety of search intents.