What is ‘user search intent’?
User search intent (or search intent) is the objective that a user is looking to achieve when performing a search online. There are four main types of search intent, which are aligned to the stages of the marketing funnel, as follows:
- Informational – Searchers in the awareness stage looking for an answer to a specific question or general information. For example, if a user is interested in indoor plants and has only just started researching, they may have queries such as “what are good indoor plants” or “indoor plant ideas”.
- Navigational – Searchers in the awareness stage seeking a specific site or page. Armed with some knowledge around indoor plants, the user may now search for “Patch Plants” or “Waitrose indoor plants”.
- Commercial – Searchers in the consideration stage looking for comparative information about a specific brand, product or service. Continuing on the house plant journey, the user might now investigate in more depth with queries such as “patch plants review” or “monstera care vs snake plant care”.
- Transactional – Searchers in the conversion stage intending to complete an action or purchase. Having decided on the best indoor plant for them, the user is ready to buy and uses search terms such as “buy monstera online” or “cheap cheese plants”.
Why is it important to satisfy search intent?
Satisfying search intent is Google’s primary objective. Optimising for search intent is therefore fundamental to your web page’s ranking ability and your organic performance. If search intent is not factored into your content marketing strategy, you are missing an opportunity to reach potential customers at different stages of the funnel.
Supplying content that satisfies your audience’s queries at the start of their purchasing journey is incredibly valuable and will put your brand front of mind. This can lead to you becoming part of their final purchasing shortlist.
Understanding user search intent before you optimise your content means you can create a more relevant experience for your customers. This will naturally improve conversion rates, page views, reduce bounce rates and grow your brand awareness.
How can I ensure I’m satisfying my audience’s search intent?
To ensure you’re satisfying your audience’s search intent, you should:
- Categorise your priority target keywords by search intent and ensure there are keywords that span your customer journey to maximise your reach. Look at both your direct competitors and upper funnel publishers. There are tools that can automatically categorise keywords such as SEMRush.
- Research the top ranking competitor pages across your keywords to understand what users are looking for. Note down the dominant content types that are meeting user search intent for each target keyword:
- Blog or article
- Category page
- Product page
- Landing page
- Map each keyword to the most appropriate page on your website.
- Review and re-optimise your content according to your research.
- Create new content where you have gaps and ensure there are clear CTAs to encourage users to discover more relevant content.
Search intent is ingrained into the content marketing strategies we design for our clients at RocketMill.
Get in contact if you need optimisation support.