4 Tips for Understanding Search Intent

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4 Tips for Understanding Search Intent

SEO is more than using a random string of keywords and peppering them throughout your content. It’s ultimately about accomplishing your final goal: turning visitors into buyers. And to do that, you don’t only need to look for keywords that people associate with your niche, but keywords that show an actual intent.

Understanding search intent can not only help you improve your on and off-page SEO, but build your whole content and inbound marketing strategy as well. Having search intent in mind can also help you rebuild your website to make it highly relevant to their searches and facilitate the conversion process. Let’s take a look at a few tips that will help you understand search intent and adjust your efforts accordingly.

Understand the Types of User Intent

There are three main types of user intent: Informational, Transactional, and Navigational. The main one for most people will be transactional keywords. These are keywords that are directly related to purchasing decisions and include phrases containing words like:

  • Purchase
  • Order
  • Buy
  • Coupon
  • Offers
  • Special
  • Your brand or product name

While conversion is probably your ultimate goal, there are many ways to get there, and not all users are looking to buy immediately. Some may simply want to be informed about a certain subject. In this case, you’ll need to pay attention to keywords that match that intent. Here are some of the terms you should be paying special attention to:

  • How to
  • Best practices
  • Where can I
  • Best ways to
  • Alternatives
  • What is
  • Guide
  • Beginners

Navigational keywords are words that help point people towards specific resources directly related to you or your products. These will usually contain your brand or product name along with terms like:

  • Locations near me
  • Cost of
  • Directions
  • Reviews
  • Testimonials
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Match Landing Pages with Search Intent

This is one of the most important principles to understand search intent and can affect you in so many ways. First, having users land on a page that is irrelevant to their searches will negatively affect your site’s SEO. Bounce rates will go up, which will have a direct effect on rankings.

On the other hand, pages that are consistent with search intent will improve your engagement metrics. Things like page views and time on site will go up, which all affect rankings, and you’re more likely to get residual benefits from links and mentions as well.

Here, you will need to adapt your pages to the type of intent. About us and contact pages should be consistent with navigational searches. FAQ pages are also a perfect page for navigational queries. Your ‘about’ page could also have links to your FAQ page to make sure that your searcher’s intent is met.

Home pages are usually where transactional terms should be the most prominent. The copy needs to be clear and you should try to have your main keyword as part of the page’s title, subheading, and meta description. Make sure that you make product images the main focal point and use plenty of white space. Make facts about the product easy to read and keep everything to one page if possible. Make sure to have multiple clear calls to actions as well, and try to align them to search intent as much as possible.

Never Neglect the Importance of Low Traffic Keywords

Far too many people seem to think that low traffic keywords aren’t worth the effort, but that’s a huge mistake. It doesn’t take much effort to rank for a keyword that shows little traffic, but you could find tons of these depending on your niche, and they could have very high user intent.

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For instance, let’s say that someone is searching for an obsolete piece of machinery. They may be looking for information on this machine or on some part that is out of production. It’s easy to see why such a search could have low volume, but get transformed into a possible sale.

This would be a perfect time to inform them about why this piece of machinery may not be a good choice and direct them to your product as an option. Depending on your industry, one sale could amount to multiple thousands of dollars, and all it could take is modifying your content strategy to account for neglected and overlooked keywords.

The other thing is that high search keywords can be hard to rank for. Not only that, but they also tend to be very vague, and your product/service might not be able to get the attention you’re searching for when considering the competition.

Choosing Between Optimizing Old or New Content

At one point, you might be tempted to go back and revise some of the content that you feel isn’t properly aligned with intent. The thing here is that you can’t go based on a hunch. You have to see which of your pages could actually benefit from it and whether it’s necessary.

If your pages are already doing well, there’s no need to fix something that isn’t broken. Your efforts to inject high intent keywords could end up affecting other metrics negatively and hurting your results. You could end up with a slightly more consistent page that no one sees.

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This is why you need to check the cost-benefit or revising old content. Some pieces could indeed benefit from an update. If you do decide to update them, you will have to not only consider the new keywords, but possibly headers and calls to action as well.

You also have the option of scrapping that content altogether and creating fresh content that aligns better with your user intent. Pruning content is a great way to tighten up your website and allow your new content to get more attention. Since this new content should be better optimized to match search intent, metrics will go up and benefit your rankings.

We hope we were able to help you understand the power of search intent and how to satisfy it with your website better. Make sure that you keep these tips in mind and always try to better understand your clients’ true motivations so that you can tailor your messaging, content, and marketing around them.