They say, “Content is King,” but even the most decisive king falls if he does not have the support of his subordinates. Search Intent is one of the valuable subordinates of your marketing content. Like a helpful subordinate, it ensures the king (content) always succeeds in his (marketing) goals.
In other words, without search intent optimization, there is a good chance that your content is unable to deliver the desired results. Here, we discuss search intent and how it is crucial for content marketing success in 2022.
Additionally, we explain the benefits of search intent optimization and even provide you with some tips to get the most out of it. So, if you want to know how to use search intent to enhance your content marketing efforts, you should read on.
What is Search Intent?
Search Intent is a term that describes a user’s purpose or “intent” for searching for something online. The user could be looking for a fabulous new pair of sunglasses, access to financial services, or maybe just looking up a recipe.
There is always a reason behind why we go to Google something. We don’t do it just for the hell of it. Even when we are just trying to prove someone wrong (or right) with a fact check, there is still an intent behind it. The real question is how we or the search engine determine this intent.
When a user types in something like “winter jacket 2022”, are they looking for a styling guide, or are they looking for the product itself? The user often expects educational content that links to the relevant product/service.
Of course, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, the user is just on Google for a quick fact-check. Besides that, some users are looking for specific websites or brands. Regardless of their search intent/purpose, all web searches are a part of the user’s online journey.
An eCommerce business needs to understand the concept of search intent and use it to the business’s advantage. It enables you to pitch the right offer to boost eCommerce business traffic and conversion rate. More importantly, search intent is essential for creating successful SEO and content marketing strategies for your business.
What are the Different Types of Search Intent?
As we discussed above, there are different types of search intent behind a web search. Even when a search has the exact phrasing and keywords, the search intent can vary significantly from each other. Think about it. How many times have you used Google to check the spelling or win (or lose) an argument with a friend?
However, you broadly group or categorize the user’s search intent into three different groups or categories, and they are listed below.
Informational intent is perhaps the most common type of search intent behind many web searches. Most internet users, including you and me, often search the web for information in one form or another.
Let it be routine weather checks on Google or web searches for educational content by students, they all have an informational intent. In general, you could say that every informational intent search by the user raises a question. In other words, most intentional intent searches seek answers of some kind.
You may not be aware of this, but Google’s understanding of search intent is much more advanced than you think. Google does not return the result based on keywords alone. For instance, if you type in “apple juice,” Google can tell that you are either looking for the recipe or the actual product.
Similarly, when a user types in Brad, Google suggests “Brad Pitt” and “Bradley Cooper” because they are the most Googled “Brad.” Even when you think that Google can’t provide you with a relevant result, Google comes through.
Another common type of search intent that we use is navigational intent. Navigational intent searches are those searches where the user wants to access a specific website. For instance, if someone types “LinkedIn” in the search box, they want to access the LinkedIn website.
It is easier to achieve higher SERP rankings for specific navigational terms related to your expertise. For instance, let’s assume you have a blog that ranks highly for the Keyword “LinkedIn.”
Even if somehow you manage to rank your website or landing page above the actual website, it may not do you much good. Why? Because the user is trying to access the LinkedIn website. Just because you appear on the top of the Google search page doesn’t change the user’s search intent.
Transactional intent is the most important type of search intent for business organizations with eCommerce capability. People who go online with a transactional intent are looking for products or services online.
Users browsing with transactional intent already know what kind of product/service they want. At the very least, the user has a general idea of what they want, even if they have not made a final decision.
A user searching “Blue Nike Shoes” and a user searching “Blue Nike Air Force 1” are not the same. The former may decide to buy any blue Nike sneakers. However, the latter will likely purchase the product they initially searched for.
Commercial Investigation Intent
You might think it is easier for the consumer to make a purchasing decision today as you have access to more information. But more often than not, the overflow of information makes the consumer go through a lengthy research phase.
The average consumer looks up the different pricing of a product or service online before they spend their money. However, this is just the beginning. Most consumers intending to buy something soon use the internet for more extensive research.
It includes crouching through hours of YouTube videos, from unboxing, to comparison, to in-depth reviews. Additionally, they refer to multiple blogs and other content to get an honest assessment of the products.
Pro Tip: Make it a point to understand the customer journey from the very beginning and create content at different touchpoints to help them and showcase your expertise.
In other words, users with commercial investigation intent may genuinely be interested in your product or service. However, they are not yet ready to convert. In most cases, a consumer with commercial investigation intent requires some convincing to convert into sales.
Keywords include all the words and phrases the user types into a search engine for a web search. For instance, a person who wants to buy a jacket would type something like “womens denim jacket” into the search bar.
The phrase “womens denim jacket” is a keyword, even though the terms contain multiple words. These keywords can provide you with significant insight into search intent. In most cases, you can at least narrow down the search intent by analyzing the keywords alone.
You can reverse engineer this to formulate keywords using words categorized based on search-intent or intent-specific terms. By intent-specific words, we mean they establish the user’s intent. Some examples of intent-specific words are listed below.
Why is Search Intent Crucial for SEO and Content Marketing Efforts?
Your company’s SEO and content marketing can benefit greatly from understanding users’ search intent. In the past, business organizations prioritized based on keyword optimization. Companies would integrate keywords into every online marketing effort without a second thought about information quality.
However, this approach can no longer work because Google is more intelligent than before. It can predict what you are about to type based on data and online behavior. Your SEO and content marketing strategies can never land on the first Google page if they can not help the user.
Every day Google is finding ways to get rid of robotic content and provide only useful information to its users. Google’s new Helpful Content Update is a perfect example of this. Hence, understanding search intent can benefit your SEO and content marketing efforts, such as the ones discussed below.
Better Fulfill Your Target's Needs
You can effectively fulfill the target’s requirements by matching search intent with your SEO and content marketing efforts. Imagine that you manage to align your SEO and content marketing efforts. What does that mean for your marketing campaign?
It means that you are answering the question to which the target audience was trying to find an answer. Hence, you can be sure that the information you provide is helpful to the audience. Understanding how Google works now and using search intent could help you significantly boost your SERP rankings.
Provide Your Leads With a Single Source for all the Information.
Imagine that you type in a question about something to Google’s search engine and land on a page. However, new terms and phrases start showing up as you learn more about the subject. How would you feel if you had to Google these new terms and phrases because the original article does not explain them?
Now, imagine the same happening to your target audience and your content. It is also possible that the user finds a better source of information from your competitors. Hence, it is vital that cover all the necessary detail and provide a single source of all the information they need.
Establish Your Expertise
You can establish yourself as a matter expert by providing relevant and helpful solutions to the audience. Building a competent image for your brand helps you gain the audience’s trust. As a result, you can generate more leads and conversions through your SEO and content marketing efforts.
Suppose you are an eCommerce store owner that sells women’s clothing and accessories. You can create a blog, “5 mistakes to avoid when choosing your winter jackets?”. As the subject suits well with what you are selling, the audience will likely find your content reliable.
Moreover, you can use the content to pitch products that you want to sell them. In this example, that product is women’s winter jackets. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t pitch other relevant products like winter boots. However, you must ensure that customer does not feel that you are simply trying to sell your products and not help them.
Boost Brand Awareness
The content decides how high or low your ranking in the search results should be and drive quality leads to your site. Aligning your content with the target audience’s search intent and your brand’s expertise is crucial for your business.
When the audience repetitively sees your brand offering a solution to their problem, they start to trust the brand more. Moreover, when you stick with your niche, you tend to become a holistic source of information for anything related to your business.
As a result, aligning search intent with your SEO and content marketing efforts help you boost brand awareness significantly.
What are the SEO Benefits You Can Get With Search Intent Targeting?
Above we saw some ways search intent targeting can help you streamline your SEO and content marketing efforts. But that’s just the start. Search intent targeting has many potentials, and it benefits various aspects of your business.
However, SEO is one of the main aspects of your business that can benefit from search intent targeting. You don’t need us to tell you exactly how crucial SEO is for your online business. But we know you want to see the SEO benefits you get from search intent targeting.
Here are some of the significant SEO benefits of search intent targeting.
Minimize Bounce Rates
Boost Traffic and Page Views
Increase the Chance of Featured Snippets
Widen Your Reach
Improve the Quality of Leads
How to Ensure Your Content Aligns With the Search Intent?
It may feel much work to align your content with the search intent. If that happens to you, don’t worry, it is only normal. Aligning your content with the search intent while using best SEO practices is difficult. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it right.
We can’t give you a fail-proof way to align your content with search intent. However, we can provide you with the guidelines you need to ensure that your content aligns with the search intent. Here is how you can ensure the content aligns with the search intent.
Put Yourself in the User's Shoe
The best way to ensure that your content aligns with the search intent is to put yourself in the user’s shoes. Take a step back and think about what you (as the user) might search to land on your website or landing page.
You can also try making a list of subjects or topics your target audience will find helpful. Besides that, you can also try typing in phrases into Google that your audience would. However, use incognito mode as the results could get personalized because of your browsing/search history.
Use Google results to understand the topic’s relevancy and check out the top results. This research will give you a general idea of what you need to include in your content. However, you need to add something of value by rephrasing already existing content to make your page rank higher.
Conduct a Search Engine Result Page (SERP) Analysis
A SERP analysis, or Search Engine Result Page analysis, enables you to find out what Google wants from your content. And as you know, Google always tries to provide its users with the most relevant content. Despite how advanced Google’s algorithm is, it is still a machine, and you can find patterns to improve your SERP rankings.
Moreover, Google doesn’t always know what the user wants either. When that happens, Google shows a type of mixed SERP that features different types of content. These mixed results often contain informational and transactional content.
Tips to Create Content That Satisfies Search Intent and Customer Needs
Conduct Keyword Research
Regardless of how good your content is, you still need to use keywords appropriately and ensure it matches the search intent. There is no point in bringing in traffic if there is no chance of converting them. Your SERP rankings can’t improve without using the appropriate keywords.
The higher volume keywords should focus on the main website pages, including the home and category pages. Whereas you can use lower-volume keywords in your sub-pages, such as
Conduct Competitive Research
Comprehensive competitive and keyword research helps create content that attracts a quality audience. The competitive analysis enables you to find out potential keywords for your content.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Rainmaker.UNO can help you by formulating a complete SEO strategy based on competitive and keyword research.
Use Hub-and-spoke Content Marketing
However, implementing Search Intent Optimization is hardly as easy as it sounds. You need extensive keyword and competitive research and use advanced content strategies for developing quality content.
Moreover, keeping track of all the Google updates, such as the latest Useful Content Update, is significantly challenging. The good thing is that you don’t necessarily have to do all of it yourself. You can seek the services of a content and SEO expert like Rainmaker.UNO to optimize your content strategy.
Rainmaker.UNO helps online businesses optimize content strategies while ensuring the best SEO practices. We can help you conduct holistic research for your SEO and content marketing efforts and formulate a Search Intent Optimization plan for your unique business.