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Search Intent: The Overlooked factor in Keyword Research

Do you want to skyrocket your rankings on Google? Outshine your competitors in your industry? Then creating content that satisfies user intent is paramount.

We cannot overemphasize how important it is to write content that answers the questions or satisfies the query that readers have. Over the years, Google has transformed its ranking algorithm, and currently, having rich keywords alone is not enough to rank you. Search engine algorithms now focus on understanding what the user wants and then providing relevant search results.

Search intent on computer screen

As a site owner or content strategist, you should understand your target audience’s needs and search intent. This is crucial in getting you ranked. In this article, we will look at the brass tacks on search intent, how to write for it, and how it affects keyword research.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent is a term used to refer to the purpose of any search that’s done online. It is the reason why someone carries out a specific search and what it is they are trying to achieve through the search. Is it to get answers to a question? Find a product, or are they just interested in getting some facts?

As aforementioned, it has become more efficient in identifying user intent. The SERP on Google is more inclined towards providing results that satisfy search intent and not necessarily content that ranks for a specific keyword.

Is search intent (Keyword intent) important in SEO?

Yes. If you think that you can rank your pages well without focusing on search intent, you are outrightly misguided. If you want to rank and brush shoulders with the big boys on Google, you have to focus on search intent.

As an SEO, if you want to rank for the keyword “best content optimizer,” do not consider having your landing page to the SERPs. Google knows that users want to get information and not buy from you. So, in such a case, blog posts are the best fit.

What are the Types of Search Intent?

There are three main intents in SEO. They include:

1.      Informational intent

A user is said to have informational intent if they are looking to find some facts or information online. It is also applicable to readers that are after news in various industries. Informational intent is often associated with searches that bear the terms’ how-to’, ‘what is,’ ‘tips,’ and ‘why.

2.      Transactional intent

Transactional intent is evident when the user has the intent to take a specific action, usually buying. It is often associated with phrases such as ‘buy’ ‘cheap’ and ‘price.’

3.      Navigational search intent

A user that has navigational intent is primarily looking to find a place or specific website. For example, a person that wants to visit Twitter will search for ‘twitter login.’ It is important to understand that you should only optimize for this intent if your website is the exact site users are looking for. For example, there is no way you can rank for a term such as ‘Facebook’ yet the intent of most of the people that search for it are usually on their way to Facebook.

4.      Commercial Intent

In the case of commercial intent, the buyer has some transactional intent, but they are not ready to purchase at that specific moment. In most cases, they are after reviews and comparisons that can help them make an informed decision.

How to Write and optimize for search intent

Optimize content for search intent

·         How to write content that satisfies informational intent

If you are aiming to create content that provides information to your readers, it is vital to ensure that it also matches with the intent that the users have.

Google and other search engines have advanced so much over time. You will be surprised that Google knows that when someone searches for ‘how-to build a kitten house,’ they expect to find content with images and videos, if possible. Therefore when writing such content, it is paramount that you also include images or videos, if at all you want to appear on the first page.

·         Writing for navigational search intent

The best way you can effectively write and optimize navigational search intent is by creating e-books, landing pages that are optimized for a specific location, and having a list of all products and services available in a given area.

·         How to write content that satisfies transactional intent

The user is looking to buy something, and they are therefore interested in finding a place, site, or online store to purchase from. As a business that’s operating online, it is important to ensure that your landing page and other pages meant to convert site visitors into buyers are well optimized for this. Also, work on your local SEO because the people in your city are looking to buy from nearby places.

You can easily target buyers with transactional intent using the best keywords with data pulled using the SEO explorer keyword tool.

Once you’ve found the best keywords with the search intent that you want, ensure that the content you create will align with the four content pillars of search intent. That is, the content has to be written in a specific style, be of a specific type, format, and written from a specific angle that perfectly answers the questions that the user may have.

How does search intent affect Keyword research?

When doing your keyword research, understanding how search intent affects the process is important. As already pointed out, it is more important for your pages to address the specific intent that the searcher has than simply having the keywords that the searcher used.

The SERPs have the answers you need

Once you’ve discovered the best keywords to use from the SEO explorer keyword tool, verify the keyword’s intent before you decide to create content around it.

You can achieve this by simply entering the keyword into Google or any other search engine yourself. From the results shown on the first page, you will notice what type of intent the keyword has.

Final take

As already established, your only hope of appearing on the first page of google lies in perfectly aligning your content with a specific search intent. As you invest in the best keyword research tools, also remember to ensure that the keywords you collect are what your target audience will use when finding your product, service of information.

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