Why Is Search Intent Important In Content?
When a user types a search phrase into a search engine, also known as search intent or user intent, this is an expression of their aim or intention. When writing content, it’s vital to understand the aim or intention of the audience you are writing for as this determines where you may appear on the search engine results page. It’s key to optimise your content to the search terms they enter into the search engine. However, it’s more than just using the right keywords as user/search intent has surpassed individual keywords as the most important ranking factor in content and search engine optimisation.
In its search results, Google aims to show the most relevant content to the user. Search engines are continuously focusing on determining the user’s search intent and developing semantic search. Rather than looking at each individual keyword, the search engine looks at the relationship between all of the terms in a search query.
To incorporate search/user intent into the creation of your content, you must first familiarise yourself with the different forms of search intent in order for you to be able to target your audience correctly and meet your objectives effectively. These can be categorised into five different groups which are Informational, Transactional, Commercial Investigation, Location Based and Navigational.
The most prevalent type of search intent expressed by users is informational. Informational intent indicates that a user is looking for information, whether it’s a simple demand or one that requests a more detailed or in-depth answer. These inquiries may not always be in the form of a question however may often include words such as ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘when’.
Here are some examples of informational intent searches:
- “What is the largest ocean?”
- “Quick cupcake recipe”
- “Remedies for sore throat”
When a user wants to make a purchase or demand a service, they have transactional intent. It is worth noting that these search inquiries typically indicate that a person is already at the purchasing stage. So, if commerce is your purpose, it’s key to optimise for transactional intent. As the user has already made the decision to make a purchase, it is then your duty to guarantee your content positions you as a leading brand they come across.
Here are some examples of transactional intent searches:
- “Cheap flights”
- “Buy PS5”
- “Summer dresses sale”
Commercial investigation intent is presented when a user is wanting to make a purchase but isn’t fully dedicated to a specific product or service, so, this can be conveyed through comparisons or can provide content about particular products or services. These users seek for extra information or reviews that will assist them to make an informed decision through evaluating their alternatives.
Here are some examples of commercial investigation intent searches:
- “iPhone vs android”
- “Best face wash for dry skin”
- “Top perfume for men”
A specific location justifies location-based searches, implying that the user intends to restrict results to a specific location so that the search engine removes any results from other places which would be irrelevant to the user. Search/user intent is a critical component of local SEO because it guarantees that consumers are directed to the most relevant locational information to satisfy their needs. This is critical for local businesses to grab customers at the right time in their search/purchase route.
Here are some examples of location based intent searches:
- “Dentist Brighton”
- “Full English breakfast Manchester”
- “Tesco’s near me”
The simplest search intent is navigdational search. This is when the user already knows exactly where they want to be but don’t know how to get there as they may not know the URL or purely do not want to go through the effort of typing it out.
Here are some examples of navigational intent searches:
- “Instagram login”
Quality content that fulfils the user’s intent is moved to the forefront of search engine optimisation and enables for a good position in search engine results pages. Your duty is to evaluate whether your content meets the needs of your target audience and must structure your material around keywords that are relevant to the user intent. If you are struggling on where to start, do some competitor research and have a look at what kind of content they are writing. You may also have a look at the current search engine results page to see what they are doing correctly and take some ideas for your own content. The ones ranking the highest in the search engine results page have got the ideal approach, so use that as a guide to see if you have covered all the essential topics in sufficient depth but don’t forget to keep your content original at the same time.
In order to determine intent, Google will take into account the quality of your content. For instance, if your bounce rate is high, this could indicate that your content does not match the user intent, lowering your position for that search term. Additionally, Googlebot crawls the context of your site to build a searchable index for the Google search engine. It examines your site for metadata such as headings and subheadings to determine what your site is all about which is why you must optimise all your metadata sensibly.
Search/user intent must be playing a huge part of your approach if you want your SEO strategy to be successful. Both search/user intent and SEO are strongly linked, so you must develop a thorough SEO and content strategy that takes both into account, optimising for key search terms with high search traffic while also putting the user first. Through this approach, you can ensure that your content checks all of the criteria and meets the needs of your users.