On average, Google processes more than 40,000 search queries per second, which means around 3.5 billion searches each day and 1.2 trillion searches in a year across the world. Interestingly, searchers don’t use too many keywords in their queries.
So, how do websites are able to target the audience and able to drive more traffic to their website?
One practice that almost every company and brand follows is that they optimize their content for words or keywords people use. But is this enough to beat that immense competition and let people come back to you again and again?
Might be this is successful to some extent, but if you really want to convince people to purchase stuff from your website, subscribe to your newsletter or visit your website the next time as well, you have to take into account ‘search intent.’
Through this post, I am going to share with you what exactly search intent means and how you can optimize your content for search intent.
What is Search Intent?
Search intent, also known as keyword intent, is the reason behind the query of a user on search engines. Search intent represents the actual objective a searcher is trying to achieve.
For instance, someone may want to find something, learn something, or buy something. All this can be noticed and achieved through the user’s search intent. For a business to be successful and to be able to drive enough traffic to their website, it is vital to optimize content as per user’s search intent.
Even, satisfying search intent is essential to the success of your PPC, content marketing, and SEO efforts. By optimizing your content for search intent, you can:
- Boost your brand awareness
- Boost share of voice
- Increase your content’s relevancy to the audience.
- Drive retention and conversions
When conducting keyword research, SEO experts must consider search intent along with keyword difficulty and keyword popularity.
What are the Different Types of Search Intent?
Search intent is of various types.
1. Informational Intent:
An informational search query is practiced when people wish to know about something and wish to get an answer to something. Most of the times, such queries are question-based, for example, what is a DLSR camera, how can I select a plus size dress and more.
The organic results are displayed by Google that answer the questions. Along with this, Google also lists supporting results that include videos, knowledge panel, and related questions.
2. Transactional Intent:
The other type of search intent is a transactional search query. This is used when people wish to do something, such as signing up a newsletter or purchasing a product. Some of the forms of transactional intent are best wheelchairs under $3000, fastest DSLR camera, and more. Sometimes, the users may also compare two products or check discount codes or offers for a product.
In such queries, there is no knowledge panel showcased as there is not much need for information. Instead, Google displays action-based buying results with a Featured snippet, listing the best options available. Also, the Google provides users with Shopping Ads, including similar product listing ads, and Adwords ad.
3. Navigational Intent:
It is another form of search intent that is used when searchers wish to go straight to a particular page or website. For instance, you might want to know about the best website for televisions or best apparel websites.
The search intent is recognized by Google and is displayed like websites. The search results are surrounded by other SERP features like Adwords advert, Knowledge Panel, and a few top stories.
An additional feature of this search intent is that Google enhances the search results and displays results with Sitelinks. These extra links are displayed by Google to help searchers directly visit a specific section of the website from SERPs without the fuss of first visiting the homepage.
Moreover, searches can be location specific like for the UK, the USA, and more.
4. Commercial Investigation:
There are some people who have the intention to purchase a product in the near future. However, they prefer searching for it presently. For example, which is the best SEO plugin, which is the best front-load washing machine, and more. Such individuals have a transactional intent, means they want to make a purchase, but they will need some more time to make the final decision. Hence, companies have to put in additional efforts to convince them. Such kinds of search intents are known as commercial investigations.
During such queries, the searcher is expecting to gain additional information to make a well-informed buying decision. Even if there are no conversions, still, it is possible to gather the information that can make a potential sale sometime afterward.
Though this intent is very close to the purchasing funnel, still, you have to offer the users with numerous options. For this reason, category pages in e-commerce websites play a crucial role.
It is essential to ensure that you don’t have a single category for your products, but you must have various kinds of categories in the commercial investigation process. Having such information in hand lets website able to rank organically, for all the different types.
How to Optimize Content for Search Intent?
Now, you are aware of the different types of search intent, you must, therefore, optimize your content for a specific intent. Here, check the possible ways to achieve it.
1. Optimizing Content for Navigational Intent:
In order to optimize the content for navigational intent, you must have landing pages for your services, products, brand, and other offerings, including your homepage. You have to optimize each page using the brand or product name in strategic positions such as Meta descriptions, subheadings, and page title.
According to data from Advanced Web Ranking, searches based on adequate navigation tend to have a higher click-through rate as compared to the non-branded searches.
It is essential that the landing pages, including the homepage, clearly define:
- What you do
- Who you are
- What you serve
As these are the important aspects that searchers want to know.
2. Optimizing Content for Informational Intent:
As I have already told you, informational intent involves questions such as ‘What is’ or ‘How to.’ For this reason, you can optimize the content for informational content using the question in the most relevant places such as title, description, subheadings, and headings. Once the questions are placed, you can then place a clear answer to it in the first paragraph.
You can begin your page with the main heading, including two or more questions. Immediately, you have to set the subheading to set a proper context. Before you answer the question, you must include a brief history in the opening or first paragraph. Then include the second subheading, which can be a definition or answer to the question. Finally, answer the question in the second paragraph.
If your page answers ‘How to’ questions, then you must list the answer as steps in an explanatory paragraph under each step.
Make sure you place the question and its answer very close to each other so that you can properly address the search query. Moreover, ask the question in your subheading/heading and immediately follow it with the answer in one paragraph. If the detailed explanation is needed then you can expand the answer in further paragraphs.
3. Optimizing Content for Transactional Intent:
In order to optimize your content for transactional intent, you have to focus your content on the desired outcome, which is buying the product.
At this step, you don’t require too much of supporting information on that page. Searchers wish to consume the facts fast. Therefore, it is best to keep things concise and clear. Other than this, you must focus on the following aspects of your page:
The design of your page must have enough white space, relevant images, and must be free from distractions. In simple terms, it must be readable and free from unnecessary content that can divert the user from its actual decision.
It is of utmost importance to include a CTA or call-to-action button on your page. You must highlight the same using a contrasting color or a clear label on the actionable buttons and links.
Finally, make a list using bullet points so that it is easy for the users to discover the core features of your product. This way, it will be easier for them to make quick and relevant decisions.
Most importantly, you must follow a proper structure for your content. Your content format can include:
- A heading
- Image gallery
- Feature list
- Pros and Cons
- Links and Action Buttons
- Longer Description
Finally, in the end, you can add a summary table.
Having a proper structure for the page increases its chances of becoming a Featured Snippet in the search engine rankings results. It is because a well – structured content is easier to read by Google.
Focusing on transactional vocabulary is another important thing to do. By using the right type of words on your Meta description as well as page gives a clear signal to search engines that you have designed a transactional page. You must include:
- Your product name, brand name
- Specific product details
- Product categories
Additionally, you must include buying words in your content, such as a discount, buy, deal, coupon, sale, affordable, cheapest, comparison, top, review, free shipping, and more.
How to Perform Keyword Research for Search Intent?
In order to optimize your content for search intent, one of the most important aspects that you have to focus on is keyword research. Conducting proper keyword research can offer you insights into needs, intent, desires, and problems of your customers. For this, you can follow a 7-step process such as:
1. Create an Ideation Sheet:
Begin your process with ideas and thoughts, not only for your offerings, but also for postfixes, prefixes, actions, brands, and descriptive words. Though the search queries or keywords may differ for users, their end need might be the same. Before you take any action, first consider their problem and compare possible solutions.
2. Select Keywords that Are Already Visible:
Your next step in the process is to research keywords for which your website is already visible. You can use resources for it, such as SEMRush, Google Search Console, Moz, Ahrefs, and more.
3. Uncover Keywords:
Optimizing for search intent does not mean to consider only current keywords. You must uncover all keywords that the website is not ranking for at all, but they must. If your search intent optimization is demographically based then you have to use specific keywords for a particular location.
4. Make Possible Combinations:
Once you have identified every possible service or product and descriptive word, you must then quickly create all possible combinations. Such combinations can be made using online software, like Mergewords.
5. Get Adequate Search Volume:
Next, you have to run the resulted keyword list through Keyword Planner in order to extract search volume, CPC, and competition to sort by popularity.
6. Filter the Lists:
At this particular stage, you must have numerous tabs within the document with hundreds of keywords integrated into themes. You have to choose the best keywords for every theme. While selecting the keywords, keep the intent of your users in mind and pick one that has the maximum search volume.
7. Select With Intent:
Finally, you need to prioritize the selected keywords by considering their intent. While some keywords may receive only a fraction of search volume, others may offer a clear idea stating exactly about their requirements.
Moreover, some search intent may want to compare or are clear that they do not want a particular model, service or product.
On a Concluding Note:
Now based on the information mentioned above, you have to check whether your content is optimized for search intent or not. Definitely, with all such details, you can improve the current pages to a great extent and configure them to match appropriate search intent. Use tools like Google Analytics and Search Console to evaluate the existing content. Lastly, combine your search intent with a keyword research strategy to create effective new content.