Before Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates, optimizing purely for keywords worked. Today, to increase the effectiveness of your SEO tactics, you should also understand the why behind your keywords. In other words, you need to understand user intent and search intent.
What is search intent and how can it benefit your SEO strategy?
What Is Search Intent?
Search intent is an online searcher’s goal when opening Google and typing a keyword into its search box. There are a few common types of search intent, including informational, commercial, navigational, and transactional.
Say you want to bake a carrot cake for the first time, so you google “easy carrot cake recipes.” You click on the first result, but then you realize the recipe includes a bunch of pro tips and ingredients you have never heard of. You go back to Google to find something simpler. This time, you strike gold. The second result is a recipe for beginners that provides helpful step-by-step tips on how to bake the cake.
If other searchers with a similar intent feel the same, Google will rank the recipe higher.
Integrating Search Intent Into SEO
Read Google’s Quality Evaluator Guidelines and you will notice that it is obsessed with user intent. You can have a perfect DA, high-quality backlinks, and optimized pages, but if you don’t satisfy search intent, you won’t rank high. Google’s primary goal is to keep its users satisfied by providing them with relevant and quality content.
Here are a few simple tips on how to align your SEO strategy with searchers’ intent.
1. Your Content and Keywords should have the Same Intent
Google “social media monitoring tool” and you will see that all results are tools. However, search for “best social media monitoring tools” and you will find useful articles listing the best tools out there. Before you use a keyword on your website, you first need to know its intent is.
Navigational Queries – People with navigational intent already know what website they want to visit. For example, if someone googles “Ahrefs backlink checker,” they will directly click on the tool. Therefore, if you have written a guide on using Ahrefs ranks for that keyword, your page will probably rank high for this keyword, but its click-through rate will be poor.
Commercial Queries – Users withs commercial intents don’t want to read guides and articles. They want to buy stuff. Google “drone cameras” and you will see that most pages are links to online stores selling this product. So, optimizing your blog content for this keyword would clearly be a mistake. When optimizing your commercial pages for such competitive keywords, you will need to focus on providing straightforward information, simple forms, and clear CTAs to boost users’ satisfaction.
2. Deal With Ambiguous Keywords
Some keywords have multiple intents. If you google “backlink audit,” you will see two types of results – links to backlink audit tools and guides to conducting backlink audits.
You need to decide what intent you will address and stick to it. For example, if you are blogging about SEO, you could create an ultimate guide to backlink audits that will help you beat similar posts and rank higher.
3. Update Existing Content
You wrote a killer piece of content that should rank high on Google, but it doesn’t. This probably means you have a user intent problem. To solve this problem, hire an SEO agency to help you reoptimize your article to meet the search intent better. Analyze similar content that ranks higher than yours and rewrite your article to meet users’ expectations. As you already have a solid foundation (useful tips, resources, keywords), you won’t need to write an article from scratch. To generate buzz around your updated content, create a catchier title and meta description, too.
4. Improve UX
Apart from traditional SEO ranking factors, Google also assesses how people interact with websites. If your traffic, user engagement, and conversions are low, while your bounce rates are high, Google will probably conclude that your page is not a good fit for a search phrase and downrank you.
In 2020 and beyond, user experience is critical for your SEO performance. Here are a few tips that will help you improve UX:
- Eliminate popups, as neither users nor search engines love them.
- Use large and legible fonts that make your content easy to follow.
- Always use subheadings to help users skim through the content faster.
- Implement visuals to make content easier to understand.
- Keep your content responsive across all devices.
- Use Google Analytics to measure website performance and update it accordingly.
5. Tools To Use To Understand Search Intent
Apart from traditional keyword research tools, you should also use tools to reveal more about searchers’ expectations. Some of them are:
- Answer The Public gives you a list of related search terms that will help you come up with relevant content.
- Google’s People Also Ask and Autosuggest tell you what similar keywords searchers use.
- Buzzsumo and Google Trends let you see the most shared content across the web.
Search intent makes your campaigns more relevant and user-oriented, helping you rank higher in the competitive SERPs. To implement it into your existing SEO strategy, start by setting clear goals. I hope these tips will help!