The Mystery of Intention
High rankings on search engine results pages can make all the difference in the success of your website. But how do you achieve those high rankings? The answer lies in understanding search engine optimisation (SEO) and, more specifically, search intent. Search intent refers to the reason behind a user’s search query, and it’s an increasingly important factor in SEO! By aligning your website’s content with the search intent of your target audience, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in results, winning the click and ultimately drive more sales through your website.
The Motivation Behind Search
Search intent is the underlying motivation that drives a user’s search query. Understanding this intent is crucial for SEO because it helps guide content creation that is relevant and valuable to your target audience. Analysing intent involves considering potential keywords, looking at the context of queries, and assessing how it relates to other queries. Let’s take a look at the four primary types of motivation we find for search:
Informational search intent is where a user seeks answers to a question or wants to acquire more knowledge about a particular topic. Often, users with informational intent are in the initial stages of the customer journey and may be researching a subject, product or service. Informative content aims to educate users about the topic, which helps build trust and establishes credibility with potential customers.
Navigational search intent is where a user already knows the website they are looking for and uses a search engine to find it. These search queries are not looking for information but are instead searching for a particular website, brand, or product. In contrast to informational search intent, navigational search intent is more specific and focused on the website the user wants to visit. Businesses that have established an online presence can benefit from navigational search queries if they rank highly with branded search terms.
Commercial search intent is when someone conducts product or service research online, preparing for a purchase. When a searcher has commercial intent, they are interested in buying something. Therefore, these queries usually include product or service details, such as model numbers, brand names, reviews, and comparisons. This type of intent is also an opportunity for businesses to reach new potential customers that might have shown interest in their category of products.
Transactional search intent is where the user actively seeks to complete a specific action, such as making a purchase, subscribing to a service, or downloading a file. In this type of search intent, the user has already completed the earlier stages of the customer journey and is ready to take action. Thus, businesses should provide content and features that facilitate taking action, such as purchasing options, quick links, or buttons that allow users to make a purchase, sign up for a service, or subscribe to a newsletter.
Taking Clicks to Conversions
By developing content that aligns with search intent, businesses can improve their visibility on search engine results pages, drive more traffic to their site, and ultimately (once the clicking has happened) increase their conversions. The key to mastering search intent is creating content that satisfies users’ needs at each stage of the customer journey, whether providing information, facilitating navigation, or encouraging transactions.