If you ‘re involved in the content writing for your company, then you’ll likely know the importance of search intent. Having a well-rounded understanding of search intent (or user intent) will make it much easier to create meaningful content that will engage more customers.
A content marketing campaign doesn’t mean writing for the sake of writing – instead, you’ll be aiming towards an end goal. People are always looking for new information online, and if you can provide them with a solution through your content – it’s a win-win for them and you.
Whether you’re creating new content or optimising existing content, it should be suited to your audience’s needs. When you start to do this, you will gain more visibility on SERP as a result. This is what search intent is all about; understanding what users are looking for.
If a user recognises your business as offering a solution to their query – they are likely to feel more understood and therefore use your service again. It’s a win-win.
What is search intent?
So, we know that search intent reflects what somebody is hoping to find when they conduct an online search – it’s the reason behind their query. However, there are different types of search intent to consider when creating your content. We’ve listed the major ones below.
Informational – This is probably the most common type because it is simply looking for an answer to something. We’re talking about the ‘how to’ and ‘what is’ kind of searches. Just because these don’t typically end in a conversion – it is still important to target these questions and deliver valuable answers within your material. The search engine will deliver articles believed to be most helpful – so, this is a great way of improving your brand visibility and gaining a better rank on search engine results pages (SERP).
Navigational – This is when the user wants to go somewhere – which could mean visiting a site or a specific web page. So, these searches will usually include brand names such as ‘ASOS’ or more precisely; ASOS womenswear’. Users often search for a site name if they’re unsure of the exact URL – in our case, this might be something like; ‘Summon Digital agency. It’s also not uncommon for these searches to include a spelling mistake or error.
Transactional – Otherwise known as ‘commercial’ or ‘high intent’. This is when the user is ready to take action, which could be anything from making a phone call to booking a trip or visiting a store. It’s important to target these searches because there is a high chance of them leading to a conversion.
To put this simply, the user will either want to know something, do something or go somewhere.
How to know which category a search falls into
How do you know what a user intends to do from a search? It’s usually quite obvious what a user wants after simply reading a search query, for example, “how to use an Amazon Alexa” – here, the user wants to know how to do something, so this is an informative search.
On the other hand, if a user includes a location, i.e. “Agency in central London”, it is specific and suggests they are looking to get in touch. The best way to know what a user wants is to look carefully and logically at their phrasing.
Keywords and keyphrases
SEO and content come hand-in-hand. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is largely about keyword research. When we think about user intent, keyword optimisation becomes a crucial part of content marketing, too.
Why is this? Well, before thinking about what you hope your site visitors will do, you need to identify the search queries that will be likely to drive them to your site in the first place. Your content needs to include the keywords that are going to drive your target customers to your site.
In an SEO marketing campaign, you will need to conduct a lot of keyword research to make sure you are targeting the right words and phrases, depending on your target audience and their online search habits. The same rule applies to your content campaigns. The easiest way to make sure you are aware of those key phrases is by using keyword research tools such as SEMrush or keyword planner.
How to optimise for search intent
Identifying keywords is the first step. You need to know what queries and words could potentially bring users to your site. The next step is figuring out how you can ensure your content will appear in front of users who are using those keywords. There’s no point having great content if your target audience won’t get a chance to see it.
Once Google identities your content as relevant and helpful – you will gain a higher position and therefore be more visible on SERP and to your target audience. We’ve outlined a quick step-by-step process to help you match your content to search intent.
1. Research your market – When it comes to your topic of interest, what are people currently talking about? Can you take anything from this and use it within your content? (social media is a great place to check!)
2. Google your keywords – This is a quick and easy way of finding out who your main competitors are, and what they are doing. The highest-ranking sites are doing something right to appear for the chosen keyword.
3. Evaluate the top results – It’s a good idea to visit the top three sites and read their content to get an idea of what it is that they’re doing for their position. You could think about the following questions:
What type of intent is matching their content? – Would this content satisfy a user who wants to do something, find something or go somewhere? You ideally need to know your intent before writing an article, because it should satisfy a specific type of search. For example, a blogpost sharing industry updates will be completely different from an article promoting a product or service. So, try to notice how the highest-ranking sites have targeted various types of searches.
What do the three highest-ranking sites have in common? – Why have these sites achieved a high position? How often have they included their keyword? What is their tone of voice, and how do they compare? What questions do they answer within their content? If you notice a similar pattern in all three highest-ranking sites – then it is more than likely that this is contributing to their position.
Finally, how has looking at competitors helped you to satisfy user intent? We suggest keeping note of all the things listed above and use it to guide you through your own content campaign. Content should be informative, easy to read and targeted towards a specific user. The trick to creating valuable content is having a clear goal behind it.
If you need any help with your content, feel free to get in touch.