Do you know what search intent is and why understanding a user’s intent can improve your content creation? In this article, I’ll answer those questions and explain how search intent can enhance the user experience, boost conversion rates, and improve search rankings.
As a blogger or website owner, understanding a user’s search intent is crucial to creating content that meets their needs and provides value. By understanding what users are searching for and why, you can create blog articles that address their specific queries and interests, increasing the chances of your content being found, shared, and engaged with.
Table of Contents
- Definition of search intent
- Types of Keywords
- The importance of search intent for keyword research
- Software tools that help with search intent
- Final Thoughts
Definition of search intent
Let’s first define what we mean by search intent.
The reason behind the user’s query when searching for content online.
It includes the following:
- expected outcome
from conducting a search query.
Your content needs to match the user’s search intent to successfully answer the user’s query.
Purpose of the query
Understanding the purpose of the query will help you understand how to answer it correctly. For instance, a user searches for “What is SEO?”. There is no point trying to sell them an SEO tool because the user doesn’t even know what SEO is. This query can be answered by providing basic information on what SEO is and why it is important.
Motivation for the query
Perhaps the user wants to educate themselves or determine if a product or service is suitable for them. Maybe they have already made a decision to buy and are just choosing the best option. By understanding their search intent, you can clarify their motivation, helping you answer the underlying reason for their search.
Expected outcome of the query
What does the user gain in the end? Do they learn something new? Confirm or disprove an assumption? Or decide to buy a product or service, whether now or later?
Types of Keywords
Depending on how you categorise keywords you could come up with many different types. For this article I am going to discuss five different type of keywords based on searcher intent.
- Informational keywords — searchers looking for an answer to a specific question or general information.
- Navigational keywords — searchers intending to find a specific site, page or service
- Research / Educational / Investigative – searching looking for more detailed information on a topic
- Commercial keywords — searchers looking to investigate brands or services.
- Transactional keywords — searchers intending to complete an action or purchase.
Searcher intention is an important topic to learn about. Crafting your content around searcher intent provides the right kind of information to your readers.
Let’s examine each type and include a few examples to make it clear.
Generally you can think of these search intents in terms of a sales funnel. At the top we have the most general type of intent and then more focused and purposeful as we go further down the funnel.
This type of search intent is when a user is looking for information on a specific topic or question. They may want to learn more about a particular subject, research a specific term or concept, or find answers to a question they have.
Informational queries show that the user seeks information, clarification, guidance, or troubleshooting solutions.
Satisfy these type of Informational queries by writing the following content:
- What is a [topic] ( “What is a blog” )
- How to [do something] ( How to fix WordPress slow loading issues )
- Guide to [topic]
- Overview of [topic] ( “Overview of Cryptocurrencies” )
- Basic [topic] ( “Basic SEO for beginners” )
- Explainer articles ( AI for website owners: How to harness its mind-blowing capabilities )
- Industry news
- Trends in [topic]
Informational content can bring a high volume of visitors but with low sales. That’s because visitors are not looking to buy they are looking for information. Later on, after they have informed themselves sufficiently, they may want to buy.
It’s still important to target these keywords though. People prefer buying from someone they know or someone they trust. By writing educational content for your potential customers you will become trusted.
You can beat your competitors by gaining trust in advance of any sales. Once a regular reader of your site makes the decision to buy you become the obvious choice.
Create educational content to answer informational queries
For bloggers create educational content to answer informational search intent queries.
Build a library of educational content that’s suitable for beginners in your niche. When you create content for different search intents, you can link back to your educational content.
Establish yourself as an authority in your niche and build trust with potential clients by explaining, in a non-salesy way, different topics and subjects relevant to your niche.
In can be difficult to rank for topics with an informational search content as these keywords are typically 1- 3 words in length and highly competitive.
Example keywords that show informational intent
- keto diet
- artificial intelligence
- crypto currency
- calories in coconut oil
Google results pages often contain panels and boxes that answer this type of query. Even if you rank on the first page of Google you may not get the traffic you were expecting.
Google has answered the query “calories in coconut oil” so no need to click on any links. Be careful when writing content that can be easily answered or you could waste a lot of time and effort without getting the results you had hoped for.
Create educational content for your niche
2. Research / Educational / Investigative
The user has a basic understanding of a topic or subject and are looking to learn more and get a deeper understanding.
Users with this type of search intent are, or may be:
- actively investigating a service or product
- conducting pre-purchase research
- deciding on whether a service or product is right for them
- getting a deeper understanding of the topic or subject
- guidance on making a future purchasing decision
Here are some example searches so you can recognize these types of searches.
- “Best laptop brands under $500”
- “Top smartphones with 4G LTE support”
- “Review of Dyson V8 Animal vacuum cleaner”
- “Cheap flights vs expensive flights: which one is worth it?”
- “Private versus public schools: pros and cons”
- “Online shopping vs in-store shopping: advantages and disadvantages”
- “History of coffee consumption around the world”
- “Causes and effects of climate change”
- “How does artificial intelligence work?”
These searches indicate that the user is actively looking for detailed information and analysis to help guide their decisions.
Use this search intent to provide more detailed information and focus on topics and subjects for your niche. Readers are looking for and expecting greater detail on a topic.
You will likely target long tail keywords for these articles as you are writing about more niche content.
Delve deeper into a topic and provide more information than educational content
This type of search intent is when a user is looking to navigate to a specific website or page. They may already know the name of the website they want to visit, but need help finding it or want to ensure they have the correct URL.
Here are some examples:
- organic food online shopping
- yoga studios open on Mondays near me
- Walmart pharmacy hours
- Tesla website
- Nearest taxi rank
- Samsung customer service
- British Airways flight status
- Twitter API
Navigational is not limited to finding the physical location of a service or product, it can also mean where is the location of the website.
People who use this type of search already know the product, brand or service they want. They just need to know where it is.
Be aware that a search for another brand or website, even if you rank highly, will not help you. User’s are looking for that specific website or company.
4. Commercial keywords
Commercial keywords means a searcher is looking for particular product and service. They may not have decided on the product yet but are definitely interested.
- free keyword research tools
- wordpress vs weebly
- best seo service
- cheap keyword tracker
- wix review
These keywords can be profitable to target. The user is definitely interested in a product or service but hasn’t decided to purchase yet.
Answering any issues a potential customer would have in advance can help them make the decision to purchase.
5. Transactional keywords
Keywords that suggest imminent action by the user.
- buy running shoes online
- chinese restaurants near me
- PS4 for sale
If you write content for transactional keywords you don’t need to do much persuading. Users have a clear intent to buy, you just need to persuade them to buy from you.
You should expect Google Ads to appear for these types of keywords. These keywords are likely highly competitive and will be difficult to rank for.
Buyer keyword list
What words specifically indicate a strong intent by the user to buy?
Using these keywords will help you find buyers who are ready to make an immediate purchasing decision.
- buy [product]
- get [product]
- where to buy [product]
- [product] discount
- [product] coupon
- [product] deal
- [product] prices
- [product] sale
- [product] for sale
- best [product] [year]
- [product] to buy
- [product] promo code
The importance of search intent for keyword research
Why care about a user’s search intent? Here are some factors to consider.
Search intent and content strategy
Understanding search intent is essential for your content strategy. You need to categorize your content according to the search intent of the user.
Use search intent to guide you with your content creation efforts. Here are examples of the kind of content to create for different intents:
- informational intent – basic introduction articles, explainer articles
- research – in-depth, deep dive articles
- commercial – best of [product/service] articles, articles on benefits/pitfalls of a [product/service]
- transactional – explain why a specific brand is the best [product/service]
Ensure you write content for Informational, Research, Commercial and Transactional intents
Search intent importance for conversion rates
Writing content for a keyword without understanding the search intent will mean you are unlikely to successfully answer the purpose of the query. This will result in higher than normal bounce rates and lower conversion rates.
Match your content to the user’s intent.
If a user searches for information don’t show them a product page
If a user searches for detailed information on a topic (research intent) don’t show them basic information
If a user is looking to make a transaction don’t try to convince them – they have already decided to buy, just explain why they should buy from you
Search intent and SEO
Google aims to provide the most relevant content to searchers. Google understands about the search intent from a query and will find the most appropriate links to display.
If you don’t understand the purpose of the search, you are unlikely to give helpful information to the user. Your content won’t appear on Google’s search pages, at least not on the first page of results.
Search intent for user experience
The user experience is better when you content is written with a full understanding of the intent of the searcher. You can provide exactly the right kind of information and the right amount.
Basic information for beginners for informational intent.
More detailed and complex information for research / educational intent.
Pros/Cons, Benefits and drawbacks for commercial intent.
And finally, why your product or service is best for transactional intent.
Software tools that help with search intent
Use keyword research tools to help you identify search intent. Most good keyword research tools will indicate the search intent of a keyword for you.
Other metrics in a keyword research report can be helpful in gauging intent:
- monthly search volume
- ad bid prices
- keyword difficulty
Keywords with ads are more likely to be transactional. High monthly search volume keywords are more likely to be informational.
Less competitive keywords are more likely to be research intent queries.
By analyzing keyword data and identifying users’ goals behind their queries, you can craft more effective strategies and deliver better experiences across all stages of the buyer journey.
Use search intent to achieve the following:
- attract new visitors
- engage existing readers
- nurture long term relationships with your readers
- improve conversion rates
- move visitors down your sales funnel
- help you write content that meets your users intention
Thanks for reading. If you found this article helpful, please consider sharing it with your network by using the social media sharing buttons below. Thank you for your support!