What is search intent?
Search Intent is the objective and expectation people have in mind when they search for a specific query within a specific context. Even though, not officially stated by Google and search engines, it is ultimately an indirect ranking factor as it's important to deliver content that goes to the user expectation.
How leveraging on search intent helps grow your business.
When you know why customers want something and you have the right information to deliver at the right time and the right place, you´re on the right track for lead gen success. If the page you are trying to send your target audienceto satisfies user intent and gives relevant information based on the searcher’s query, search engines are going to rank your page even higher.
Conversely, if new content you have produced results in pages with high bounce rates and doesn’t offer a good overall experience, search engines will devalue these pages until they match search intent and provide relevant answers to users. As mentioned in "Why consumer intent is more powerful than demographics" by Lisa Gevelber, "the brands that understand and respond to intent are better positioned to be there and be useful for all of their potential customers, not just those that fit an age and gender profile."
Winning search intent will often lead to:
Gaining more digital share of voice over competitive industries
Reducing your CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)
Boosting your CTR (Click-Through Rate)
Increasing time on site / engagement
Strengthening your value proposition´s positioning
How to optimize and match the user´s search Intent?
There are many ways to optimize for the user´s real search intent:
"Update existing content to match search intent
Optimize pages with commercial value
Create missing pages to match navigational queries
Create on-site “paths” based on customer lifecycle stages (content with templates, etc.)
Types of keywords by search intent
A) Informational Intent Keywords:
Informational queries relate to the moments when web users are simply looking for information on various topics; they are ready to “know” something, so they use informational keywords that will help them learn more about a topic, problem, product or service. From a search marketing perspective, these keyword types are ideal for driving top of the funnel traffic. Nonetheless, they are a good trigger to drive new users for your website in case you provide added value informational content. This can almost be compared to the "Awareness" stage of your AIDA model where people just might have started to enter their future customer lifecycle.
In most cases, these keywords have high search volume which means they also have many search results competing for the same term, which means that it’s not easy to be competitive for them.
Some modifiers indicating the need for information are:
• Ways to
• To do list
• White paper
The best content to create based on informational keywords to aid the awareness phase are:
B) Navigational Intent Keywords:
People using navigational keywords are ready to “go” to a specific website (or part of a website) to learn about a particular offering. Users with navigational intent in mind already know which webpage or website they want to go to. The search query may contain a brand name, specific page of a website, product or service name, location.
Some keyword modifiers that signal "navigational” intent are:
• [Brand name]
• [Brand] news
• [Product name]
• [Service name]
• Login (for SaaS)
• Sign In (for SaaS)
• [brand] Facebook
• [brand] Twitter
• [brand] Linkedin
• [brand] Youtube
|• Customer service
• Directions / Near me
• Not working
• About us
• Live Chat
Some content formats based on navigational keywords that work for the consideration phase are:
C) Commercial Intent Keywords:
This subset of keywords demonstrates that the web users are in the consideration phase of making a decision like buying, downloading or completing a transaction but not yet making a tangible transaction. They indicate that searchers are doing commercial investigation on something they’re interested in.
From a PPC paid search point of view, cost per click for these keywords is usually high, meaning advertisers are actively bidding on that term. This also tells us that there is commercial value behind these terms.
Commercial intent queries tend to have a lower search volume than the ones with informational search intent but have a higher conversion rate since users are already in an advanced consideration state of mind. Searchers in the commercial investigation stage are searching for information about particular products, but they aren’t yet ready to buy. Being at the stage of commercial research, people are looking for reviews, comparisons, testimonials, use cases and “top/best” lists.
Some keyword modifiers that signal commercial intent are:
|• Comparison / Compare
• Buyer’s guides
|• Best / Top
• VS / OR
• Hours of
• Directions to
• Free shipping
• Refurbished / Used
• Opportunity / Opportunities
D) Transactional Intent Keywords, AKA “Buyer Intent” Keywords:
These are keywords that people use minutes before making a purchase. People searching for these keywords may literally have their credit card in their hand.
Transactional queries tend to have a higher conversion likelihood than other queries, but they are also more expensive to advertise and compete for. Transactional intent describes searchers who are ready to make a purchase where they already have a specific product or service in mind and the only thing that remains is to find the seller they will buy it from.
Some keyword modifiers that signal “transactional” intent are:
• Buy / Shop
• To rent
• Schedule / Reserve / Book [...]
• Where to buy
• Discount / Coupon / Clearance
• Deals / Affordable / Cheap
• Free shipping
• Promo code
Keyword Intent Calculator Sheet (tutorial on how to use it)
Step 1. Download the Keyword Intent Cheatsheet from page 49 of our Practical Guide to Marketing.
Step 2. Read the “Read Me” tab to follow all important instructions before you start.
Step 3. On the tab “A - Keyword Intent Analysis,” insert your list of keywords in column A and a formula using REGEXMATCH will instantaneously determine search intent.
Step 4. On the tab “B - SERP Keyword Analysis,” each keyword intent is based on an analysis of what the real search engines results pages display for that given keyword. This is useful to grasp the search intent from users’ expectations of what type of page best serves the keyword.
It´s time to take action, whether you are planning to build an SEO content strategy with keyword search intent in mind, setting up conversion friendly Google and Bing Ads campaigns, reach out to us to plan a call to go over your goals and ambitions.