SEO: SEARCH INTENT Explained
Search intent is simply how we can get into the mindset of the searcher when they are performing a search on Google. SEO has moved on from the days when we optimised for search engines and has developed over the years to now encompass optimising for people and their search. Our aim as SEO’s is to understand the user better as the key to search intent success. We need to start with the searcher, think about what they are looking for, consider what they are looking to achieve, and then create our content around that. We need to match our content to the searcher’s intent and we need to optimise our content to rank for this.
Search intent is crucial for a successful SEO campaign. It can be broken down into the following:
- Informational searches – when the user is carrying out initial research, finding out about something.
- Transactional searches – when the user is in buying mode and ready to make that purchase.
- Navigational searches – when the user is looking directly for your website as their destination.
Google and Search Intent
Since Google started in 1998 Google’s corporate mission is to ‘organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’. To help you find what you’re looking for Google considers many factors including the words in your question, the content of pages, the expertise of sources, and your language and location. Every day, fifteen percent of Google searches are ones that haven’t been seen before, so they use automated systems to get you the most relevant and reliable information they can find.
Every time you search, there are thousands, sometimes millions, of webpages with helpful information. How Google figures out which results to show starts long before you even type, and is guided by a commitment to you to provide the best information. Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines gives an insight on how Google returns search results.
Google having been at the forefront of the search intent concept for some time has broken this down for us into:
By using “know,” “do” and “go” as part of your research, you can bucket keywords by intent.
How do you SEO for Search intent:
- Search terms – we need to think of the search terms that this person is going to enter when they are looking for your offering as an answer to their problem.
- Get creative – we need to also think about where we need to be online to connect with the searcher.
- Evaluate your target audience.
Spend time researching “Know,” Do” and “Go” queries so you can create content that puts you in front of the consumer at all stages of their purchasing cycle.
- It’s important to not only optimize for keywords that drive converting traffic but also those that can provide user value and topical relevancy to the domain.
Using Search Intent to Connect with Consumers
Search intent is the new demographics. When it comes to searchers, it’s not about who they are but what they want. Through processing trillions of searches each year, Google’s algorithm has evolved to understand the intent behind each query. In fact, the changing face of the SERPs can largely be attributed to search intent — SERP features exist to get a searcher from point A to point B in as few clicks as possible. Because of this, it’s more important than ever for SEOs to understand what SERP features are appearing and how they respond to intent.