Search engines ultimately exist to provide users with results that are relevant to their search query. Effective SEO campaigns are created based on a solid understanding of how your audience will search around your industry, your products, and your services.
Perhaps more importantly, it is crucial to understand the intent behind every given keyword searched on the web. When a user searches for a specific keyword on Google, search engines use their advanced algorithms to analyze and identify which results are the best match for that keyword.
If it’s not obvious yet, in order to develop a powerful SEO campaign that will also strengthen your content strategy, understanding what’s behind intent is a must.
Here’s where to start:
What is Searcher Intent?
Say, you’re a skilled hairdresser who owns a salon in a small town. One user will search for the terms hair salon with the addition of the town name, and chances are you’re the one they need. Yet,if the information about your salon is not visible to the user, they will not be able to visit your salon.
Unfortunately, as the online market is becoming more and more competitive, it is becoming increasingly harder to get exposure. This is not only because paid advertising is expensive, but because SEO is constantly evolving and branding can’t be done alone (unless you’re the expert).
Due to such elements, it is important that we develop a deeper understanding of the intent behind keywords in order to stand out.
Types of Search Queries
A navigational query is basically accessing a specific website by typing the URL directly into the address bar or the browser. Such a search implies that the user knows exactly what website they want to visit and that they do not need to engage in a general search first.
Informational search queries cover topics which are very broad. A user who engages in an informational search will only be able to find the information they are looking for as the end goal. When searching for something broad, the user is probably not trying to visit a specific site, but simply wants to get more information on a topic.
As a business owner, you are looking to analyze any inquiries associated with your products or services. The main opportunity, once this is established, is to think ahead of the game, build brand awareness, and generate traffic.
Last but not least, commercial or transactional search queries indicates intent to complete a transaction or make a purchase. For example, a consumer who is looking to purchase a new iPhone will search for the relevant model name, and may include keywords such as “buy”, “purchase”, or “order”. Transactional search queries are also known to be at the end of the conversion funnel, since they have a clear intent on what they already want, without having to be convinced or sold.
Perhaps the most difficult part of understanding searcher intent is when the user is indefinite about what he or she is searching for. For example, an individual searching for the term “marketing” is leaving way too much guessing room.
Does the user want the definition of marketing?
Are they looking for a marketing agency?
Do they want to apply for a marketing position?
The list goes on and on.
The user may not even be sure about what they want in the first place. This can simply be a means of exploring the topic.
Luckily, Google understands. When the intent is not always obvious, search results will typically reveal a wide range of answers for a topic in the first page. This includes definitions, tutorials, articles, and maybe even videos on the subject.
Here is an example of what you’ll typically see when searching for the term “SEO”:
Yet, surprisingly, all the information you see above may not reveal the same exact results in your personal browser. This is because Google has a certain customization mechanism that allows the personalization of results based on previous queries or even search habits.
When you finally get to the bottom of searcher intent and fully understand the mind behind your target audience, you’ll be able to build a stronger list of keywords. This will then help you understand how to better target a keyword and where it will fit into the SEO and marketing strategy.
The words people use in their queries gives more information regarding their intent. For example, consumers using the words “buy”, “deal”, “discount”, are surely inclined to purchase something. Also, getting into specifics, or searching for a detailed product is a hint that they’re ready to buy.
Individuals searching for keywords such as, “how to” or “the best ways to”, and “what is”, predict they are looking to gain more information about the specific topic.
The key here is to structure your site to match the user intent or the intent of the audience. If individuals are simply searching for information, it would be irrelevant to show them a products page.
If you are a business owner of a specific product, do not write long articles on a products page. Instead, make it more visually stimulating and lead them to your shopping pages.
Also, optimizing your product pages for more commercial-inspired keywords is a strong strategy. For example, if you are selling dog leashes, you can optimize the product page for “buy a dog leash”, or optimize for an informational query, “how to properly use a leash on a dog”.
As searcher intent can be difficult to analyze or identify, it is best to build a survey and share it with your target audience. Questions can include what people are specifically searching for and could apply as a pop up to your homepage to increase visibility.
Since you’ve got enough to work with already, here’s the bottom line:
Make sure that the content and information portrayed on your site fits both the keywords consumers are using, what they’re searching for, and the user intent of your audience. It is critical that your page is engaging and is relevant to the type of query– whether informational, transactional, or navigational.
Last but not least, try to be objective and put yourself in the target’s shoes. What would an average consumer search for? How would they search?
…and if you’re thinking this is all too much, we can always help you with your marketing and SEO needs here at Next Level Marketing. Just click here to send us a message on what keyword searches you’re trying to rank for, and we’ll do a completely free analysis that includes competitive analysis, estimated cost to get to the top of Google, estimated cost for Google AdWords, and much more!
This article was written by our SEO Specialist and content writer Sharone Houri.