Digital marketing was once the simple process of injecting keywords into content. As search engines and internet usage have evolved, so has the need for innovative marketing solutions. It’s no longer about learning what consumers are searching for. We must dive deep into the why. To do this, we have to look closely at the search intent behind each query.
What Is Search Intent?
Search intent is the underlying purpose behind an internet search. It’s the user’s end goal. What are they ultimately trying to achieve with the search? Do they want product information? Are they trying to answer a question? By understanding types of search intent, you can create content that directly fulfills it.
Types of Search Intent
Search intents are broadly divided into four categories:
- Informational: The searcher is seeking information, often the answer to a question. These searches do not always lead to transactions, but they offer a chance to build a brand’s authority and engage a large audience.
- Navigational: The searcher is directly seeking a brand’s website or location information. It is important to rank well for navigational search intent so clients seeking your brand can easily find it. If a competitor is the first displayed on a SERP for your business, you may be losing high-converting leads.
- Investigational: The searcher is trying to collect more data before making a decision. This is a cross between informational and transactional search intent. For example, someone searching for ‘best camera lenses for nature photography’ wants to learn about lenses and most likely purchase one or more.
- Transactional: The searcher is looking to buy a product. This is the highest-converting search intent, but it is also the one with the smallest audience. Focusing on this type of search intent can have strong results, but this should not be the only type of content on a website.
These categories cover the bulk of situations, but there are far more than four types of search intents. Understand them, explore them, and use them as a guideline, but do not feel forced into one of four boxes. A user’s true objective is more complicated than that.
Using SERPs to Learn More about Search Intent
The search engine result page (SERP) for a keyword or phrase can tell you a lot about search intent. You can use this as a tool to craft blog posts, webpages, and other marketing content to fulfill search intent. Google and other search engines collect nearly unquantifiable data points on a daily basis. They study patterns in behaviors, search phrasing, transactions, and more to carefully design SERPs that fulfill needs. Use this to your advantage.
When reviewing SERPs, focus on the types of content displayed on the page. Is there a featured snippet? That implies the search intent may be investigational. Is there a product carousel? That means the search intent may be transactional.
One search can have multiple intents, indicating that multiple audiences use the same search phrasing. In that case, you can either tailor content to suit a particular type of client or create content that appeals to both audiences.
Check out the Competition – Review Top-Ranking Sources on Target SERPs
The top-ranking performers on a results page can offer even more insight into the search intent. These are the pages that Google has selected as an authority on the matter – something that closely fulfills the intent of the user. This is particularly true for content selected for featured snippets, which are highlighted answers Google puts at the top of a SERP.
Take time to absorb information from your competitors. See what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, and how readers interact with their pages. Keep this information in mind as you write content to fulfill search intent. LINK TO PART 2