Google is constantly changing the way that we search for information. With every algorithm update, it’s becoming more and more clear that Google wants to help people find what they’re looking for faster and have a single place to visit to do just that.

Why does understanding search intent matter? Well, it’s a key ranking factor to position higher in Google. Search engines use a variety of signals when determining where your posts should rank on their SERPs (search engine results pages), and one big factor is how relevant you make them seem according to users’ needs/wants – which can be interpreted through keywords or other similar data like dwell time length within an indexing period etc.

So, if we want our content to rank well then not only do you need good, well-written information-rich content but you also have to bear in mind your audience and their intent.

1. What is search intent?

Search intent, often known as user intent, is the primary goal a user has when searching a query in a search engine. Users are normally searching for a specific type of information, answer, or resource as they search.

Understanding search intent can help you create effective content that targets potential customers. With Google Hummingbird, Rank Brain and other algorithm adjustments, the engine automatically interprets people’s queries – often using SERP Features – and shows them results relevant to where they are in the conversion funnel!

When you’re writing copy for your website, it’s important to keep search intent in mind. What are you trying to accomplish with your content? What are people really looking for when they type keywords into Google?

2. Why is search intent important to SEO?

If you can create content that targets the needs and wants of potential customers, you’re much more likely to see success with your marketing effort, and that is understanding search intent is one of the most important aspects of SEO.

If you’re not taking search intent into account when creating your website content, you’re likely missing out on a lot of potential traffic and business opportunities.

A thorough understanding of search intent can:

  1. Allow you to do more effective keyword research by targeting search terms that align with your business’ and audience’s needs.
  2. Help you write content that answers user questions and structure pages in a friendly way to both users and search engines.
  3. Help you rank higher by creating content that search engines understand to be more relevant and valuable to their users.

Google even provides its own 175-page document for their Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

What are the 4 types of search intent?

3. What are the 4 types of search intent?

There are four basic types of search intent that you need to be aware of:

1. Navigational search intent: This is when people search for a specific website or online destination. (e.g. “Morrisons groceries”)

2. Informational search intent: This is when people search for information about a topic or question. (e.g. “What is so good about avocados?”)

3. Transactional search intent: This is when people search for information about products or services to buy. (e.g. “buy multipack crisps”)

4. Commercial search intent: This is when people search for information about businesses, brands or someone trying to make a comparison before buying. (e.g. “Tesco vs Sainsbury’s rewards”)

Informational keywords help users become familiar with you and your brand. Commercial words are often used when they’re considering making a purchase from or streaming content related to the product/service in question, while transactional keywording refers to those who are looking to convert or buy.

Navigational Search Intent

People using navigational search intent are looking for a specific website or online destination. They might know the name of the company they’re looking for, or they might be looking for a specific product or service. If you can create content that targets the needs and wants of potential customers, you’re much more likely to see success with your marketing efforts.

Their goal is to provide it to them in the most efficient manner possible, and Google’s objective is to do so as swiftly as feasible. SERP elements such as knowledge panels or local packs are used by Google to achieve this.

For a search phrase like these, make sure your local listings are correct and up-to-date (e.g. Google Business Profile – formally Google My Business). Also, ensure your address and contact information are easily accessible on your website.

Some of the best ways to target navigation search intent include:

  • Making sure each product or service you offer has a dedicated effect or landing page containing all the most relevant information.
  • Optimise pages to use the appropriate brand and product names.
  • Optimise your URLs to be descriptive and super easy to read for both the user and Google.

Informational search intent

Informational search intent is when people search for information about a topic or question. They might not know exactly what they’re looking for, but they’re hoping to find something that can help them.

Giving your audience informative or instructional material is one of the best approaches to earn their trust in your knowledge. This material can also be used to identify new leads that you may convert later.

One of the best ways to tap into informational search intent is by creating content that answers user questions. You can structure your pages in a way that’s friendly to both users and search engines, and make sure your content is well-written and informative. FAQs, answering “what/when/where” questions and “How to” blog posts with steps, lists, charts, and graphics work great for informational pieces.

Transactional search intent

When people search for information about products or services to buy, they’re using transactional search intent. This is the type of search that most businesses are trying to tap into because it represents a potential customer who is ready to buy.

Transactional search intent can be tricky to target, because you need to provide potential customers with the information they need to make a purchase. But if you can manage to do it, you’ll be well on your way to converting more customers.

Some of the best ways to target transactional search intent include:

  • Creating product pages that include detailed information about the product, including images, videos and reviews.
  • Offering special deals and discounts on products or services

You need this part of your funnel to be seamless, whether they’re starting on your site or Google. To ensure that these pages targeting transaction search intent are easy to find, user-friendly and contain all necessary information for users to complete the desired action.

Google loves structured data. It’s a great way to help the search engine better understand what’s on your page, so it can deliver that information in an engaging and timely manner when people are ready for conversion! You might want to check out this guide about technical SEO if you’re interested in learning more about this topic.

Commercial search intent

When people search for information about businesses, brands or someone trying to make a comparison before buying, they’re using commercial search intent. This is the type of search that can be really valuable for businesses because it represents a potential customer who is interested in learning more about what you have to offer.

Commercial search intent can be tricky to target, because you need to provide potential customers with the information they need to make a purchase. If you’re able to nail this though, you can expect to see a rise in your customer conversions.

Some of the best ways to target commercial search intent include creating pages that:

  • Compare your business with others in your industry
  • List your products and services
  • Provide detailed information such as any technical specifications
  • Offer product/service demos or free trials

Conclusion

Search intent is important for SEO because search engines want to provide what you’re looking for quickly. When search algorithms are updated, they prioritise search results that match your search term most closely and this can be used as a way to get ahead of competitors. The best way to use search terms in SEO is by targeting specific keywords with content from the 4 basic search intent categories (navigational, informational, transactional and commercial) that answers user questions or contains product information where people may be ready to buy.

Are you ready to start researching and building an SEO strategy that effectively serves your audience and returns results? Get in touch today and let us get to work for you.

SEO Strategy, Hampshire