If you’ve are following the latest SEO best practices, you might’ve heard a lot of talk about what’s being called “searcher intent”, which refers to the original intention of the person that’s searching keywords and phrases online. When we think of SEO, we tend to focus on positioning our website at the top of Google’s search results, but your website won’t reach the top of the search results unless it matches the searcher’s intent. Learn more about searcher intent and how it affects all aspects of SEO.
Searcher Intent and SEO
Google uses searcher intent when it tries to pair its users with websites online. The first websites that appear in Google’s search rankings are well suited to match the searcher’s intent. But how does Google rank websites based on searcher intent? The algorithm uses a website’s bounce rate to see which websites are most popular with searchers. If your website does not cater to the searcher’s intent for a particular keyword, they will click off the website in just a few seconds because they didn’t find what they were looking for. The higher the bounce rate, the lower a website will rank on Google.
Remember that only 21% of searchers click more than one result, which means Google is getting better at sorting websites based on searcher intent.
The Four Types of Search Intent
Whether you want to book a flight to Mumbai or you’re looking to get a crash-course in underwater basket weaving, we all search for content that helps us achieve something. And generally speaking, there are four core types of search intent: informational (know), navigational (go), transactional (do), and commercial (do + know)—all of which manifest at different stages throughout the customer or buyer journey.
1 – Informational
This type of search intent is all about learning; searchers are seeking knowledge. Searchers here want to learn more about a topic, are asking questions, and seek answers. Generally speaking, this is the most popular type of search intent—but queries can range from simple questions or phrases to more complex queries.
Typically, informational queries occur early in the funnel. Searchers have a problem and they’re looking for a solution. They’re going to take some nurturing before they will be ready to convert and are more interested in getting their questions answered quickly than sticking around and making a purchase.
2 – Navigational
Navigational intent is all about location. The searcher knows what they need and want, they just don’t know how to find it. Here, searchers often use branded keywords along with specific products and services to find the exact webpage they need. For example, a navigational search might be “L.L. Bean Winter Boots” or “Intel Cloud Computing.” As a result, the SERP typically contains products and service pages as well as brand-related news coverage.
3 – Commercial
Searchers with commercial intent are ready to make a purchase, but they want additional information first—hence the “do + know” designation. They have additional questions that they want answered to help them inform their buying decisions. For instance, they might be trying to decide between two different products and services. They know they need one or the other, but just need an additional resource or guide to help them decide.
4 – Transactional
As the name implies, transactional intent is all about the purchase. Searchers are ready to convert and just need to find the correct page or place to convert. Keywords here are very specific as they’re in the bottom of the funnel and often include transactional terms like “buy,” “sale,” or “price.”
How Can You Factor Search Intent Into Your SEO Efforts?
There are three ways in which the search Intent can be factored into the search engine:
- Draw In Informational Searchers Using ‘Query Language’ in Your Titles
Informational searchers are seeking answers, so their searches sometimes take the form of questions. For example, if you found yourself in a situation where you needed to change a tire on your car, you might type “how to change a tire” into Google.
Query language refers to the words we commonly use when asking questions. Words such as “how” and “why” are examples frequently used by searchers, but “when”, “where”, “what”, and “who” constitute query language too. Using these kinds of words in your titles can help improve your SERP rankings.
Titles that start with “How to”, “Why do”, and “What is” are more likely to match what informational searchers type into search engines. If your titles exactly match what searchers are looking for, search engines are more likely to rank your pages higher, and searchers are more likely to click through to your pages.
- Attract Navigational Searchers with Landing Pages
As of the end of 2018, “facebook” is the number one most common Google search. It’s followed by several other brand names, including “youtube”, “amazon”, and even “google”. The practice of navigational searching is a popular one.
Creating highly optimized landing pages can help you attract this type of searcher. Because they’re easier to optimize than home pages, you can design landing pages that will rank high for specific keywords you’d like to target, like your brand’s name or the title of a popular product.
Landing pages are easier for users to navigate than home pages because they have fewer menus and options. It’s also easier for you to guide users where you want them to go, encouraging them to sign up for email lists, make purchases, or other activities that will help you convert them into returning users.
- Entice Transactional Searchers with a Clear Call to Action (CTA)
In addition to helping direct navigational searchers your way, landing pages can make it easy for transactional searchers to find what they’re looking for. Landing pages dedicated to making purchases, creating a user account, or signing up for you email list can boost your user engagement by simplifying these actions.
What’s most important for transactional searchers is a clear CTA. They’ve conducted a search in order to perform an action, and the easier it is for them to complete their task, the better. If your site’s navigation is too complicated, and it’s not obvious what the searcher should do once they’re on your site, you’ll have a hard time converting these potential users.
Hence, If you want your website to rank highly on Google, you need to use keywords in a way that meets the needs of the people searching online. Every keyword tells a story about the person searching online. Use that information to find the most relevant keywords, build a proper SEO keyword strategy and make your website more appealing to your target audience.