Search Intent, Your Content & Optimisation for Better Rankings

Search Intent guide

You’ve got your hosting setup, your website is looking great, your business is ready and waiting – now all you need is some traffic.

If you want your website to be found by the potential customers you’re aiming for, there are a number of ways you can optimise your content to make it ‘search-engine friendly’. One way is to make some adjustments to the copy and metadata so that it aligns with Google’s criteria for Search Intent.

We spoke to Matt Kirkman at Grapefruit SEO Agency who, as well as showing how to find the best pages to optimise, explained Search Intent in more detail and offered some thoughts on how your website can benefit from optimising your content with this in mind.

What is Search Intent?

The above question is a good example of optimising online content for this increasingly important aspect of SEO.

If this term is new to you, it basically means that search engines are becoming so sophisticated that they want to go beyond the actual words used in a search, and understand users intentions – or end goals – when they search online.

For example, two people may search for a similar topic, e.g, iPad Pro, but they might have slightly different or even totally different agendas. One may be looking for features and reviews, or they may be price shopping, whereas the other person may be ready to buy and looking for their nearest outlet.

Google aims to differentiate between these types of ‘intent’. By understanding these different kinds of Search Intent, you can optimise your website and pages to help Google identify your content as relevant for whichever type of search user you are hoping to reach.

As a case in point, the subheadings for this article are phrased so that it’s clear that this is an informational piece, which should help it to rank for search users with that intention.

Here are some more ways that you can optimise your online content to help improve your position in the most relevant search results for your business.

How To Optimise Your Content For The 3 Types Of Search Intent

Optimising for Informational Intent

If your content is designed to attract search users who are looking for answers on a particular topic, make sure that you’re familiar with the kinds of questions they’re likely to ask, as well as the specific terminology.

Generally, informational searches include words like;

How to…?
What is…?
Ways to…
Guide to…
Tutorial for…

If you’re clear on the answers your target audience might have, you can ensure that you not only provide the info they’re looking for, but that you also phrase your content accordingly (i.e. optimise) so that Google sees your content as relevant for the search users intention.

Since Informational Intent searches are estimated to make up 80% of all searches (this is an old research piece, but evidence suggests these search patterns haven’t changed much), it’s well worth giving some thought to the questions your potential customers are asking. There are a number of online tools that can help you do this, but you can discover valuable insights by simply talking to your existing customers about the questions they have (or had) about your product or service.

This kind of research will help you to powerfully optimise your online content, resulting in higher rankings in the search pages and more targeted, quality traffic.

Optimising for Navigational Intent

Navigational Intent is when the user wants to find a specific website, page, brand, business or service. For example, people will often google ‘facebook’ rather than typing in the exact domain name. The user’s intention is to go straight to a particular site, and they are very clear where they want to navigate to.

Although this kind of Search Intent still forms a significant proportion of daily searches online, your business will be limited to the search terms people might use to find your business or website.

However, it’s still an important aspect to address, as you want to ensure that anyone searching online for your business will be led to your website straight away, rather than getting frustrated by the lack of results, or discovering your competitors instead.

So, make sure that your site title, page titles, copy and metadata include the exact search terms people would use if they were trying to go straight to your website. Clear labelling of information such as location, opening hours, staff names and about pages can also help, as they are often the quick details people want to navigate straight to.

Optimising for Transactional Intent

This type of Search Intent is when the user is looking to carry out a certain transaction. This action is usually to purchase something, but it can also be things like completing a form or signing up for a webinar.

Transactional Intent can be the most profitable type, as users are close to the point of being ready to purchase. So, being found online by these eager buyers can provide a powerful boost to your business.

In order to optimise your content for Transactional Intent, get clear on the exact brand names or search terms people use when looking for your products or services. Then ensure that you use these terms in the titles, headings and metadata for the relevant pages on your site.

If selling other people’s brands and products is part of your business, aim to use those exact names in your online content, so that when people are searching for stockists or suppliers of that particular product, your website will be relevant and stand a better chance of ranking well in the search results.

In addition, incorporate some of the keywords and phrases that signal this kind of intent, such as;

Where can I buy… ?
Stockists of…
…for sale
Buy… near me
Best deals for…
… offers

If you think back to the last time you were looking to buy something via a website, you’ll get an idea of the kinds of words used in Transactional Intent.

These are the three main types of Search Intent, and with a little planning and research, you can quite easily incorporate these principles into your online content. They may even inspire some new blog posts or How To videos that will be helpful for your customers.

Understanding the intentions and terminology of your target audience will not only help Google to see your website pages as a relevant result, it will also help your customers find your business quickly and easily, as well as enjoy a better user experience when they do.

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