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Search Intent and SEO

Understanding search intent can be a huge factor in helping your content rank better. For a lot of companies currently executing a content strategy, they may be creating great content, but it isn’t showing up for the keywords they want. This is because the keywords being targeted and search intent doesn’t line up. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what search intent is, why it’s important, and how to optimize your content based on intent.

What is Search Intent?

To put it plainly, search intent (also called user intent) is the reason behind a query on a search engine. It’s the main goal that a searcher is trying to accomplish with their search. For example, someone searching online may want to learn something, find something, or purchase something. By keeping search intent in mind while building content, you can improve your SEO, PPC, and content marketing strategies. 

Types of Search Intent

While there are many different types of search intents, most searches done on a search engine can usually fall into one of the three categories:

To Learn Something – These searchers are solely looking for reliable information to learn more about something. Typically, these search queries include “how-to”, “what is”, and “reviews”. Each of these phrases are qualifiers that these searches are focused mainly on learning.

To Find Something – With this sort of intent, users already have a good idea of what they are searching for and are using a search engine to find it instead of a direct URL. Most of the time, these searches are more focused than a “learn something” search and typically include branded terms.

To Take Action – Here, the users are looking to do something. Whether it be purchasing a product, signing up for a service, getting a phone number, searching directions, downloading an app, etc. These terms are typically more branded and contain qualifiers such as “purchase”, “buy”, or “sign up”. 

Why is Search Intent Important for SEO?

The simple answer is because Google’s main goal is to provide users with the best information on what they are searching for. When a user searches for a specific thing and doesn’t click on any of the listed search results, that tells Google that the intent of that content doesn’t match the intent of the search query. 

This is very important for anyone starting an online business or currently executing a content strategy. By making your content more specific to different types of intent, you can broaden your reach across the different levels of the search funnel. From those who are still researching to those who are ready to buy, focusing on search intent can help you be sure that your content will show to users at different levels of the buying process.

Lastly, by focusing on search intent, you will have the opportunity to greatly improve your organic rankings. Since Google’s main ranking factors are authority, relevance, and user satisfaction, it’s easy to see how search intent can largely influence where and how content ranks. 

How to Optimize for Search Intent

After you’ve done your keyword research for your different pieces of content, it’s time to optimize. The easiest place to begin optimizing for search intent is with your page’s metadata. By adding keywords to your title tag, H1, and H2’s, you’ll be able to more accurately depict what information is on this page. It’s also wise to make your title tag have some appealing copy without looking like clickbait.

It’s also wise to scope out your competition as well. Check out who currently dominates the rankings and take some notes. What information do they cover, what’s the page format, what are they missing are all great questions to ask yourself when examining your competitors. Once you’ve done your research, be sure to capitalize on any opportunities to improve your rankings.

The Takeaway

By keeping this information in mind when generating SEO content, you’ll be able to more accurately align your content with different search intents. Be sure to focus on the different types of intent so you can optimize your content to fulfill any queries you may appear for. To learn more about SEO and content marketing, be sure to check out our list of blogs!

 

written by Jonah Ericksen

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