Search Intent users aren’t just looking to be entertained; they have questions that they want answers to, and in order to get those answers, they need to know the right keywords. Enter search intent, the process of using certain keywords when searching online in order to answer specific questions.
It is what makes search results relevant, allowing people to find exactly what they’re looking for without having to spend hours searching through irrelevant websites or thousands of search results that don’t provide the answers they need.
The amount of information available today through search engines has exploded, but how do search engines know what users are really looking for?
Search intent is one of the most fundamental elements of search engine optimization, but many beginners and veterans alike are still fuzzy on what it actually means. If you’ve been wondering about search intent or have heard others talk about it but aren’t entirely sure what it entails, we’re here to help with this guide on search engine users, search intent, and how to optimize your website content to reach its fullest potential.
What is search intent?
If you’re not familiar with search intent, it is simply a way to figure out what kind of question someone is asking when they type something into Google. For example, I have back pain is a question. But back pain remedies is a search intent that tells you exactly what someone needs—they need help with back pain relief!
Some common search intents include how-to videos or step-by-step instructions for how to solve some specific problem. Whatever your audience is looking for—you can find it through search intent analysis.
Here is how to understand search intent. First, you need to know that search engine users are looking for a solution or an answer to a problem they have. For example: Where can I find X? How do I get rid of X? How did you get rid of X?
The first three search intents above represent what people type into Google when they have questions on a specific subject. When someone types in something like back pain remedy it tells us that they are seeking relief from their back pain.
Types of search intent
Understanding search intent is essential to delivering your message successfully to searchers. That’s because without it you’re flying blind when it comes to audience targeting. The good news is that understanding search intent doesn’t have to be complicated. Essentially, there are three types of search intent: navigational, informational, and transactional.
Navigational searches are when someone uses a search engine to find information about something they’re already familiar with.
With informational searches, on the other hand, searchers aren’t sure what they’re looking for but have certain needs that they hope to fulfill through their search.
And finally, transactional searches refer to situations in which people don’t need an answer but instead want to execute a transaction online such as making a purchase or booking an appointment.
Every search falls into one of these three categories, so you should always be aware of which kind of intent your target audience will bring before crafting your campaign.
How to research search intent for your business
Just like you need to understand how a customer is going to interact with your product when building a marketing funnel, it’s also important to understand how they are searching for that product. How do they search? What questions do they have in mind? What information needs answering?
There are multiple ways to learn about search intent. One way is through webmaster tools from Google, Bing, or other search engines. Another way is through analytics programs like Adobe SiteCatalyst or Google Analytics. A third way is by looking at the keyword difficulty score (KD score).
If a phrase has a low KD score it means that it’s easier to rank for than another phrase with a higher KD score. When you look at KD scores within analytics programs you can use columns to analyze search data from before and after specific campaigns or keywords were launched so you can see how they impacted your rankings.
How to write content using search intent
The first thing you need to do when writing with search intent is to identify exactly what question users are trying to answer. Why should I use long-tail keywords? is a good example of a question that fits into the larger topic of search intent. A good place to start is by using Google’s Keyword Planner tool. The planner shows you monthly search volume and gives you an idea of how difficult it will be to rank for a given phrase or keyword.
Once you’ve identified your keyword, think about what people are asking. What do they want to know? What problem do they need to solve? If you can identify that issue with your keyword, you’re well on your way to finding an effective search intent angle for your piece. This can lead to better results for a few reasons:
1. It makes it easier for users to find you;
2. It helps them find answers faster;
How does search intent affect SEO
You might think that search intent is just another buzzword SEOs use to sound smarter than they actually are. However, search intent matters because it changes how you should be developing your SEO strategy and do your SEO research. Because of search intent, you can’t simply look at keyword volume to determine which keywords you should target; instead, consider each keyword’s associated search intent.
For example, Someone searching for best restaurants is likely looking for something very different than someone who searches for restaurants downtown. Your SEO strategy will change accordingly.
Additionally, to affect your SEO strategy, search intent also affects SEO research. For example, Your keyword research should consider each keyword’s associated search intent. This doesn’t change what keywords you target; it just changes how you approach your keyword research. With search intent in mind, prioritize high-search-intent keywords over low-search-intent keywords.
In some cases—such as for local businesses—you might even be able to use negative keywords to reduce irrelevant traffic. After all, a user searching for [carpet cleaners] isn’t looking for a long list of carpet cleaning options; they want their question answered with just one result.
Where are people looking for information about your niche?
You can find search volume data from a number of places. SEMrush provides it based on keyword volume, as does Google AdWords. You can also use a tool like RivalIQ to see who else is bidding on certain keywords that you might want to be competing for, which will give you an idea of how much traffic each keyword is bringing in for other websites.
Just keep in mind that using Google AdWords volume as your measurement isn’t necessarily accurate—if you’re not paying per click but instead paying based on impressions (how many times your ad shows up), it’s likely that you won’t end up with accurate data because there are more variables involved than just impressions alone.
Once you know where your audience is looking for information about your niche, you can start to create content that appeals to them on those platforms.