Jul 31

What is Search Intent In Online Marketing?

User intent is the relevance of specific content to the user. Critical evaluation of the actions of the user in searching for content around the web could help an SEO marketer get invaluable information on what the customer intends to buy.

Competition between companies is fierce. It is therefore essential for them to understand what the consumer wants and focus their marketing efforts accordingly. This information is collected on social media platforms or forums.

Having content that covers the customer’s journey from search or awareness to the retention stage and their interests on the page is critical. Based on what most users found relevant from their search, all search engines know the results to provide when a keyword is typed in. Over the years, Google has become better at determining the search intent of users. They then rank websites according to their ability to provide the required content on a specific query.

In this article, you will get a closer view of what user intent entails, its importance in online marketing, types of search intents and how to optimise search targeting.

There are a few different types of search intent. In this article, we are going to discuss a number of them.

Google Search Intent

Informational Intent

Most of the searches on the internet are done by users looking for information on different subjects. It could be information about SEO as the specific page provides. It also could be about health matters. In the case of informational intent, people have particular queries or topics that they would want to know more about. If a user searches for “how to harvest honey”, the intent is most probably informational.

Presenting inaccurate information for topics and user queries is a poor reflection of the page on the search engine. For this reason, providing credible and authentic content is very important for web pages. The end user has the responsibility of deciding whether the information contained on a page is accurate.

One study on the role of expertise in factual accuracy and trust in the information came up with the 3s model. The model (framework, semantic and surface features), provided two sets of characteristics as the basis of trust judgements. These were information and user. They are critical factors in judging the trust put by the user on information.

Navigational Content

Users with this intent are usually trying to get to a particular website. Users searching for Amazon are undoubtedly looking to access the Amazon website.

To be high on the Google ranking, you need to make sure that your site is what most users are searching for as opposed to your competition. It, however, may not be a good idea to buy ads around a keyword as most of the searches likely not produce immediate sales. For instance, for an SEO advisory site, a Google Analytics plugin could help a site rank much better for the term Google Analytics, but people who search for Google Analytics are almost always looking for the Google Analytics website.

Investigational intent

Potential customers might be using keywords to contrast products or retailers. They also could be investigating price changes in different seasons or just trying to deepen their understanding. If for instance you are hooked to a friend’s post on Facebook about “Cricket Farming”, you’d be searching online on which bugs you could farm or which ones are good to add to your diet. Then probably begin searching for cricket providers and their prices.

Content marketing may address the sort of questions that the user is investigating about a particular product by directing them to blogs and sites with the informational graphics the user needs. For the previous example, the user may be directed to a blog by a maker of cricket-flour-based protein bars with the best answers to her queries.

Transactional Intent

If you are a marketer, you probably are aware that most people go online to find the best price for the product they need. The people who are looking to purchase a good or service have a transactional intent while searching the web.

For marketers, the keywords with transactional intent are the most important. The user that makes use of the keywords “coupon”, “shipping”, “discount” or “buy”, are looking to make a purchase. Buying PPC ads and developing landing pages around keywords that have transactional intent could raise returns for online marketers.

How to Optimise For Search intent

Identifying user intent is very important in the organic search arena. It is not essential for company information pages which need optimising for returns, contact and address. However, if your company or brand wants users to find their web page naturally, it is crucial to optimise for search intent.

The idea is to make search intent your ultimate goal when writing an article and word count a final check. The primary view should be to see that you perform better against competitors that are majoring in the same field. Optimizing for the right intent is not always about the average monthly searches on a specific keyword. Here are the most important things to consider when optimising your page for search intent;

Determine the intent of every URL

It is advisable to start your onsite optimisation with existing pages. The URLs of existing pages tend to have a higher staying power as compared to blog URLs. The reason is that blogs usually represent recent content instead of evergreen content. They, therefore, stand the risk of being replaced in search results by more recent blogs.

The value of site pages is however considered evergreen, therefore, maintaining their value for a longer time. It is therefore essential to find a tool to spider your site as the search engines do. This tool will collect information from your page and give you a concise report.

Your aim should be to get a list of URLs that you consider worth being main pages on your website. You should then review each URL and determine where to place it on the purchase cycle. The URLs could fall on any of the following stages of the cycle;

  • Research stage: The user is in the initial stages and is learning about the product or content they need.
  • Shop: The user is fine-tuning their requirements and has a good idea of what they need.
  • Buy: The user is looking for who has the best option since they know almost exactly what he needs.
  • Information: The user has no intention to purchase; they only want to learn more about the product.

Based on the stage each of the URLs falls, take your time to assign the right intent to the individual pages. It is important to judge their intention correctly, or you will end up optimising the page incorrectly.

Determine the Intent of Every Keyword

The Google keyword planner could direct you to use a specific keyword that has a higher search volume but with the wrong user intent. For instance, if the user intends to find quality dishes to serve lobster on, using a keyword like “lobster dishes”, that has a higher search volume than “lobster serving dishes”, is the wrong intent optimisation. Targeting “lobster serving dishes”, although with a lower monthly search volume, is the correct intent.

To determine the keyword’s intent, consider when the user could use it in the buying cycle. The broader phrases go higher in the buying cycle, but the user is closer to buying the more specific term. You could also get Google’s assistance by performing a search for the keyword and go with the one that heavily favours particular intent.

Additionally, it is possible to have multiple pages optimised for a single topic, each broader or more specific than the other. For instance, one could be optimised for “widgets” and another for “Red widgets”.

Make the Content Intent-driven

A searcher will go back to the search page if he finds the content does not align with his intent. Furthermore, he will not trust the page for accurate information in the future. To ensure your page is consistent with why the user may need the information, define the mission and stick to it.

Based on its purpose, the content can overwhelm or disappoint the visitors. It is essential to know what amount of content is suitable to fulfil the purpose of the page.

Until the visitor is finally presented with an option to take action, the content needs to compel them to read further down the page. If at a point the visitor is not persuaded to continue reading, then your page does not fulfil the intent.

Provide a Call to Action that Fulfils the Intent

Suppose your page has fulfilled the intent of the user, what next? The call to action comes to play at the very end of your page. Every page requires a primary call to action. This call to action should be coupled with a few more supporting actions supposing the visitor is not quite willing to proceed.

The primary action should be directed by the intent of the page. The action needs to take the user to the next part of the conversation or the buying process.

In the case of users in search of information, your goal should be to get their permission to continue communicating with them further. To do this, consider offering a coupon in exchange for their email addresses.

Call to action exampleWholeheartedly Laura

Importance of Search Intent Optimisation

If search intent optimisation is to be done professionally, it is not an easy task. Why then go through the hassle? From this article, it is quite apparent how important it is to optimise for search intent. One of the significant benefits of search intent optimisation is ranking higher on search engines. Search engine algorithms are becoming smarter by the day. Search engines can now tell the relevancy of content in a page. In response to specific queries, your brand will have to get as much trust from your visitors as possible. Search intent optimisation does this for you.

Although it is the primary goal to try and please search engine algorithms, one of the most critical optimisation principles is to satisfy the visitors. When a user is not satisfied with the content in a webpage, rest assured they will not return to the page let alone purchase products aligned to the page. It is in the best interests of any brand to keep their customers informed by publishing quality information to keep them coming and have a steady business.

It is any brand’s intention to drive traffic to their web page. If the keywords with the incorrect intent are used, it is likely that users will leave the page as soon as they land on it. Optimising search intent will not only drive organic traffic to your page, but it will also bring genuine customers or readers to your content.

Additionally, a search intent optimised page has reduced bounce rates since people get what they searched for and stay on the page. This method is also used by search engines in rating pages so that the page gets a good ranking.

Meeting the user’s intent also makes them likely to view the rest of the website. The site can, therefore, sell more products or give extra information and achieve its goals.

Search intent optimisation also allows a more extensive audience list. Google is smart and can interpret different queries as having the same intent and topic. Your intent-optimised pages can, therefore, appear for a lot more queries.

Summary

Once every page on a site has a dedicated intent, then the goal of keyword optimisation has been successfully achieved. Intent and content must complement each other to make it as easy as possible for site visitors to access the content they require.

It is any marketer’s goal to direct as many buyers as possible to the selling desk. Successful search intent optimisation doesn’t just send users to the brand’s page. It brings the relevant customers to the product. Whether your page presents the visitors with information or sells products to them, it is crucial to keep the content relevant to what they require. Otherwise, you risk a bad name among the customers and a low rating with search engines.

To stay on the safe side, make sure you make it your primary goal to optimise your pages for intent.

About The Author

Ajay Chavda is the co-founder of Weboptimizers, an SEO agency in Melbourne and has been involved with SEO for over 15 years. Between the digital properties and security forums he has managed, his articles have been read by approximately 50 million unique visitors.

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