User intent, also known as search intent or query intent, refers to the primary goal or purpose a user has in mind when typing a query into a search engine. In other words, it is the reason behind a user’s search, what they are trying to achieve or find when they enter specific keywords or phrases.
Understanding user intent is crucial for SEO and content creation, as search engines like Google continually work to provide users with the most relevant and useful results that match their intent. By creating content that aligns with user intent, website owners can improve their chances of ranking higher in search engine results and increase user engagement.
What Are The Types Of User Intent?
User intent goes beyond keywords to describe what a user looks for when they turn to a search engine. User intent tells us the reasons behind the user’s keywords and phrases.
There are typically four main types of user intent:
Informational Intent: Users are looking for information or answers to specific questions. These searches are generally focused on learning about a topic or obtaining knowledge. Examples include “how to change a flat tire” or “symptoms of the flu.”
Navigational Intent: Users want to find a specific website or web page. They already know the website they want to visit but are using a search engine to get there. Examples include “Facebook login” or “Amazon customer service.”
Transactional Intent: Users want to complete a transaction or perform a specific action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a service, or downloading an app. Examples include “buy iPhone 13” or “download Spotify app.”
Commercial Investigation: Users are researching products, services, or companies to make an informed decision before making a transaction. These searches often involve comparing options or reading reviews. Examples include “best wireless headphones” or “top web hosting providers.”
By understanding user intent, content creators and SEO professionals can optimize their content to better match the users’ needs, providing a more satisfying search experience and increasing the likelihood of higher search rankings and user engagement.
User intent, or what the searcher is looking for when searching in Google or another search engine, plays a significant role in your SEO and conversion rate optimization (CRO) efforts.
● A solid understanding of user intent guides appropriate keyword selection and targeting.
● Knowing user intent throughout the buyer’s journey enables you to craft content to focus them at each step.
● Having a grasp on user intent ensures you’re focused on serving your readers well, increasing the chances of conversion.
● When you win user intent, SEO and CRO come much more naturally. Focus on your user, and the rest will follow.
All too often, SEO seems to focus on numbers and metrics. While these things are essential in helping us gauge our success with a strategy, they are not the only things that matter. For example, focusing on user intent sets both SEO and CRO off for a higher return on investment because they both have the end-user in mind.
What Can We Learn from User Intent?
User intent tells us what it is our customers want. It’s mostly about marketing. When we focus less on the keywords, we should target and more on how to serve our website users/customers, that’s when we’ll succeed.
How Does Google Handle User Intent?
Google handles user intent by looking at the query’s meaning. For instance, when someone searches for “Apple,” they seek information about the fruit or the company. So Google uses the other words and phrases in the query to determine what the user wants more information about and then displays the relevant results.
To ensure your content ranks accordingly, you can use topic modeling to help create your content. High-Quality content ensures you’re touching on all the related content Google would expect to see for a query and assists them in separating the material about the fruit from the content about Apple’s products.
Applying User Intent to Your Digital Strategy
Before doing anything else, you must learn which search queries bring traffic to your website. One of these most straightforward ways is to look at your Google Webmaster Tools reports. Do this by navigating to Search Traffic > Search Queries.
Once you learn which search queries bring the traffic, you can look at the user intent. Then, categorize them based on where they fall into the three types of queries. Worry less about the navigational or go questions because, from an SEO standpoint, you’ve already won those. Instead, focus on the know/informational and do/transactional queries.
Make sure the queries and user intent match the content you provide.
Introduce conversion optimization techniques based on the user’s intent. After you create content that aligns with the user’s intent, develop calls to action to meet that user’s desire. This way, when searchers arrive at your site, no matter the intention of the query that brought them there, you meet their needs.
When you have informational queries, make sure you provide informative results. People here aren’t looking to buy anything, so don’t try to sell them your product. Instead, educate them on how your products and services work and how they can help solve the user’s problem.
When you have navigational queries, you won’t have to do much regarding conversion optimization because you’ll win over the user from an SEO point of view. But, to ensure people get to where they need to go, you’ll still want to build out your site with great content so you can acquire site links to show in the SERPs. And you’ll want a good social presence to strengthen brand awareness and get those social signals sent to Google.
When it comes to transactional queries, you know people are trying to buy, so that’s where you can use all the conversion optimization tactics you have available. First, make sure you have a purchase page for all transactional queries. In most cases, the purchase page isn’t technically a landing page, but it is still prime for conversions. So treat each purchase page as their landing page with strong headlines, calls to action, product images, etc.
Transactional queries aren’t limited to buying; they can refer to any activity level. So, for example, people could be looking for coupons to save money on future purchases for free trials or samples. Regardless, people with this intent aren’t looking to navigate anywhere and already have the information they need, so that’s not what they are looking for.
Building a Variety of Landing Pages Specific to User Intent
That means you’ll need landing pages for transactional queries – whether they want to buy or not. There’s nothing wrong with having multiple landing pages on your site because you don’t know which page your user will land on, but you want to be ready for any possible scenario.
Even if you only have one product, you need different landing pages to address specific user intent. Not all of your landing pages need to pitch your products or services. If your site’s page doesn’t match a user based on where they are on their buyer’s journey, your chances for conversion are slim to none.
On those landing pages, take the time to develop unique offers and calls to action based on that user intent. User intent follows from the query in the search engine when they view your page. Their intent drives them to click your link on the SERP and drives their actions as they see your page.
If a user lands on your page because of an informational query, they’re likely not ready to buy your ebook or sign up for a free service trial. (That doesn’t mean you can’t get them later, that means you have to nurture the lead a bit differently first.) Start them with a smaller offer, such as an email list sign-up, free webinar, or free report.
Keep Up the A/B Testing Efforts
Because user intent affects whether or not your visitors will click on a button, you’ll want to optimize both the copy and the call to action. Because the optimization process can be pretty complex, whether implementing conversion rate optimization on purchase transactions or other queries, you should still use split testing to ensure you get everything right.
Spend time testing everything from your copy (even down to the word in some cases!), button size and placement, CTA, etc. The more testing you do, the better your landing pages become, and the more refined they are, the higher the chance of a conversion.
SEO Consulting Services is Making User Intent Work for You
Your conversion rate will always be dismal if you ignore the user. So it focuses on what the user wants, what they are looking for, and your ability to deliver on that, pushing your conversion rate up.
As you work on conversion rate optimization, ensure you have options for users to convert on all types of user intent. Then, prepare for the action the user intends to take based on their query, and use that content to nurture them through your funnel. Finally, always think about the next steps a user may be interested in and be ready to wait for them when they move forward.
We at SEO Inc. are experts in user intent and how that affects SEO campaigns. We’re always here to answer questions, and when you’re ready to work with an agency to boost your business, we’re prepared to work for you. So get in touch to learn more about how we can help your business succeed. Our free audit can give you the starting point you need.
Blog by SEO Inc, an SEO Company