A Guide to Search Intent for SEO

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By Boris Dzhingarov

The search intent refers to the objective of an online search. It is the motivation behind why someone searched for something online. Everyone who conducts an online search is, after all, looking for something. Are they there to search for a solution to a problem they are facing, looking to buy something online, or just to search a specific website? These kinds of queries are prevalent online and frequently represent various stages of the user journey.

SEO is probably the most important metric to measure the traffic that visits your website. You want people to visit your site, so you need to optimize Google and other search engines to ensure that yours is one of the first that people see. Understanding the search intent, otherwise known as user intent, helps you to adjust your marketing strategy to target specific customers. Here is an easy guide to using search intent to improve your SEO ranking.

Types of Search Intent

Depending on your business and how you want to appear in user search engines, there are four main types of search intent. First, you need to analyze what your audience wants by researching the web. This will tell you whether your audience wants more informational, transactional, navigational, or commercial websites.

Informational search intent refers to when a searcher is looking for in-depth answers to a question, or to learn how something functions. An instance of informational searches would be “how to cook a pot roast” or “how many presidents have served in the US”.

Transactional searches are when a person is in the mood to buy something. Search terms will often include keywords like buy, price, sale, or cost. This tells you that your customer is looking to purchase an item and they want the easiest most cost-effective options to browse through.

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Navigational searches are intended for users seeking out a specific website. This could be social media like Facebook or purchasing platforms like Amazon.

Lastly, commercial websites that appear in searches are often when a person hasn’t made a final decision. When they are researching the best magnesium supplements, for example, they want to be directed to a page that will give them options with pros and cons. Commercial search intent can also refer to when people search for a hotel or electrician near to their location because they require a specific commercial product or service.

Knowing the types of search intent that your potential customers use can greatly impact how you structure your website and content. By associating with specific search intent types, you can use keywords that are closely linked with your website when creating the content that you post. This will drive more traffic because your content will be specific to what customers are searching for.

How to Optimize Types of Search Intent

Google’s main objective is to provide users with a seamless experience of real-time information on any topic they choose. Google is always searching the internet for useful resources and websites that target information and content to the right audience. Informational intent makes up the majority of searches, so creating content that is educational and useful will optimize that type of search intent. Make sure to always produce new content, and update old ones. There may be a blog on your website that should be ranking higher than it is.

To optimize navigational searches, you need to include the name of a product or service and popular name brands that people will recognize. This type of search intent is considered a bit ambiguous because the searcher already knows what they are looking for. Your keywords have to be aligned to a specific business or service, so this type works best when you are in partnerships with other like-minded businesses. Each product or service that your business offers must have a dedicated landing page with proper page titles, labels, tags, and headers that provides detailed information for the searcher.

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If your website is mostly transactional and you want people to purchase something, you must have a clear design that helps Google to understand the context of your site. If Google doesn’t know that your website is a place to buy high-quality useful items, it cannot customize your audience’s searches accordingly. This is where you need a clear call-to-action (CTA) in the form of an advertisement or webpage specific to the products and services that you sell.

Now, commercial intent is pretty much a hybrid of transactional and informational, so your keywords need to be a mixture of these. The idea is to direct users to a webpage that provides enough information on your products while offering a way for the user to also purchase said product. Take the earlier magnesium supplement, for example. Your keywords could link an article about the different types of magnesium supplements with an anchor that leads the reader to your website that sells the highest-rated brands.

Improve the User Experience

One of the ways that Google decides which websites to list first is by the user’s experience. The greater journey that you can create for the user, the higher chances that your SEO will be customized and link potential customers to your website. There are just a few very basic but highly useful tools to get started.

For one, using the right-sized font makes a major difference in whether someone will read your content or just skip it. You want no bigger or smaller than 14px. Another is to incorporate more images and videos and less text. People are more visual learners so eye-catching pictures are easier to understand. You also want to limit the number of pop-up ads you have by using informative headings instead. All of these techniques improve the user experience, which affects how SEO delivers the right content to the right users.

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By employing these tools, you will learn how to reduce bounce rates, increase your conversion rates, and reach a wider audience. All of which subsequently improve your SEO and potential customers’ search intents.

The most effective website is one that provides users with the right information when they require it. By learning the types of search intents and how to work with keywords, any website can improve its SEO and potential customer reach.