Search Intent – What Business Owners need to know

Search Intent – What Business Owners need to know

Search intent is a hot topic in SEO at the moment. Did you know, it could help boost your rankings AND increase your website conversions? In this article, SEO MCR or SEO Manchester will tell you how to harness Search Intent to increase your conversions and improve your rankings.

Your website acts as a sales assistant would in a brick-and-mortar store, so the first thing that you should be thinking about when you think about your target customer is ‘are they looking for anything in particular?’

Why? Because the answer to this question gives you the first clue about what their search intent is.

As a business owner, you should be as obsessed with Search Intent as most SEO agencies are. It is one of the simplest SEO tactics to implement, yet it is also one of the most effective.

You just need to do a bit of thinking.

Think about your business.

Think about your website visitor.

And then think about what their search intent might be.

What is search intent?

Search intent, also called user intent, is the reason behind why someone searches for something.

Are they searching because they want to learn something? Are they searching because they want to find a certain website? Are they searching because they want to buy something?

Search intent is what people want to achieve from their visit to your website.

Why is Search Intent so important?

Search intent is really important as Google’s main focus these days is on providing the user with the most relevant results for their query.

So, if you can match your content to a user’s search intent, your website will become much more relevant to them.

And in 2021, relevance is key.

SEO in the past has been about bucketloads of backlinks.

But this doesn’t matter now unless your landing page is relevant. If it isn’t relevant, then you are going to struggle to rank. At all.

Aligning your content strategy with Search Intent is critical if you want your website to rank higher.

Aligning your website experience with Search Intent as well, will also positively impact your conversion rate.

How does Google know what a searcher’s intentions are?

Google pays attention to the way visitors interact with your website – specifically to key metrics such as bounce rate and pogo-sticking.  If your bounce rate is high, and people are hopping from page to page to find a result then Google knows that people are not happy with the result – which helps them to refine their results.

What types of Search Intent are there?

Google is big on Search Intent at the moment. Really, really focused on it.

The good thing is, they also have lots of guidance on it (for once) as they want to help their users.

They have revealed that they have classified Search Intent into four categories:

# Search Intent 1 – Informational

These are searches that are made by people who are looking for information. They are usually question based such as “why” or “what” but not always. An informational search could be “weather tomorrow” for example.

Google tries to fulfill these types of searches with quick snippets of information – unless it is a question that warrants a longer answer, such as a video or set of steps for example. This is where your website content comes in.

# Search Intent 2 – Navigational

Navigational searches are searches where a user wants to find a particular website. A lot of time they work like a branded search query as they will usually include a brand name. Users tend to do this as it is quicker to type a brand name into Google and click on the first result than it is to type the full URL in.

Some examples of navigational searches are BBC weather, SEO MCR, and Facebook.

# Search Intent 3 – Commercial

Search queries that are classed as having commercial intent are searches where the user is looking for something specific, such as a product or service, but they aren’t entirely sure yet what solution is right for them. They are probably looking for reviews or comparisons to help them to weigh up their options.

There is also a subset of commercial Search Intent called Commercial plus local. This is where a searcher is looking for a service or something to buy but in a particular area.

# Search Intent 4 – Transactional

In this type of search, the user is looking to purchase and probably already knows what they want to buy, they just don’t know where from.

These are great queries to try and rank for, because the searcher is already quite far down the purchase funnel, and very close to checkout.

Catching people at this point in the buying process usually means a higher conversion rate.

This is why it is so hard to rank for these types of terms.

And they also offer much less opportunity to increase brand loyalty as well.

Be warned: Search Intent is not always clear cut

Although Google has separated Search Intent out into four neat categories, it is not always this easy to identify. Sometimes, one search query, for example, can actually fit into more than one search intent. However, these are easy to identify, as on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages there will be a few results of each type.

If you come across a keyword you want to target that has different Search Intent’s then your best bet is to try and rank for all of them by creating an individual landing page for each type. You can also combine tactics in your meta title and description by

  • Adding your brand name into the meta title – helps with navigational searches
  • Adding a price quote and calculator into the description – helps with transactional searches
  • Adding an in-depth description to the site links – helps with informational searches

Search Intent is not just about you

If you take one learning point away from this article it should be that your website design is not about you. You should design your website keeping in mind what users want to see. Optimising your website for Seach Intent looks easy, but it will actually take a lot of time. That’s where we come in. SEO MCR, the leading Manchester SEO company, can do the heavy lifting for you – and let you work more efficiently. Get in touch today to find out more.

About the author

Simon is best know for Co-Founding, a portal for student accommodation which attracts over 2 million visitors a year. Simon has 17 years online digital marketing experience and has widespread knowledge of building and/or optimising websites in most industries.

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