WordPress SEO in 5 Minutes – What is Search Intent?
Google ranks pages that best fit the keyword, as well as the intent behind a specific search query. If you are not optimized for intent, your keyword-rich content may not help you get the desired results. That’s why your post or page must fit the “search intent” of your audience.
What is Search Intent?
There are broadly 4 intents.
Types of Search Intent
1. Transactional Intent
The user searches with an intent to buy something. In most cases, the user already knows what needs to be purchased and are looking for a place to buy. The search will be mostly with the product name.
2. Commercial Investigation
The user is searching for a specific product, but is probably yet to make a final buying decision. The search is for products reviews or comparisons to arrive at a decision.
(Product 1) vs (Product 2)
Best (Product name)
3. Navigational intent
Users are searching for a specific site. They already know the site name, and probably find it easier to google it than to type the entire URL.
4. Informational intent
Google will always look to provide users with the most relevant result for their search query. So, if you want your page or post to rank, your content should be relevant to the intent. Keyword-rich content will not be sufficient to get your page to rank, as now Google understands that intent relevance is more important for user satisfaction. Our SEO team in Perth can help you understand this better.
Benefits of Intent Targeting
Lower bounce rates – Since your page content meets your audience intent, they stay longer, thereby reducing bounce rates.
Boost engagement – For the same reason mentioned above, chances of your visitors engaging with the rest of your web pages are high.
Improve conversions – More the number of relevant visitors, the more the chances of conversions.
Enhance audience reach – Thanks to Google, it can interpret your specified intent that it will display your pages for many other related search queries. For example, if your keyword is “best expensive car models”, then the page not only appears in the SERPs for that query but also for general search queries like “car models” and “cars”.
It can be difficult to identify the intent of a search keyword; and different users can have different intent for the same query.
So, How to Determine User Intent?
Take a peek at the SERPs
Researching the SERPs can help you determine search intent. Conduct a search using your keywords in the search engine and see the results. Check the Search Engine Results Page (SERP)s to understand what type of keywords are currently ranking for the intent that you are focussing on.
Analyse keyword modifiers
You can determine the search intent by using keyword modifiers. Few examples – Informational – How, Guide, Ideas, Tips; Navigational – Brand names, Name of a product; Commercial – Top, Best, Review; Transactional – Buy, order, price of. Using the right modifier can define the right intent to search engines.
Check search results history
Pages that stay the same in the ranking results have the most relevant keywords for the intent that is being aimed at.
Since one keyword can have multiple user intents, you can’t wholly rely on the above means since the SERPs fluctuate over time. However, it will assist you in finding the most relevant intent.
Search Intent optimisation
Here are some practices that you can follow to optimise your page for intent relevance.
- Optimise product pages for commercial intent keywords.
- Optimise posts with page titles and descriptions for information intent.
- Optimise transactional pages with clear CTAs and simple conversion process.
- Use keyword modifiers relevant to the intent.
- Include target keywords in the URL, metadata and headlines.
The content you’re writing must be relevant to the keywords as well as the intent of your audience, for a good ranking result.
Keyword modifiers – words added to your target keyword to create a more specific longtail keyword.
Keyword – a focus word or phrase that sums up your post or web page’s content.
SERPs – Search Engine Results Pages – pages displayed by search engines in response to a user’s search query, which includes organic results, paid results, featured snippets etc.
Optimise – A process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a web page or a website from search engines.
Article originally published on 27/06/2020
Revised by Tim Reynolds on 17/06/2021
Added new sections:
Benefits of Intent Targeting
How to Determine User Intent?
Added Jargon Buster