Optimizing Your Content For Search Intent

seo content is king written in book The importance of optimizing content to match your audience’s search intent is prime when it comes to business growth, since doing so can increase your organic traffic by over 600%. Search intent essentially aims at discovering the reasons for search queries. By discovering intent, marketing strategists can increase conversions, maintain their customer base, increase their brand awareness, and continue to be seen as a standard bearer by target audiences. What types of search intent exist, and how can you work out which is behind a seemingly vague or undefined search?

Four Types Of Search Intent

There are four main types of search intent. These are navigational searches (conducted when a person is looking for a specific website – examples include ‘Paypal Login’, ‘Stella McCartney’, and ‘New York Times’); informational searches (such as ‘Elon Musk net worth’, ‘results Mayweather Logan Paul fight’ or ‘Nobu restaurant directions’); commercial research (for instance, ‘best electric bike’, ‘top Japanese takeaway New York’, or ‘foundation for oily skin’); and transactional (including ‘buy iPhone 6’, ‘Monica Vinader Black Friday’, or ‘Amazon coupons’). Often, the search words used give the clues you need to work out which intent is behind them. For instance, if someone types ‘how to draft a business plan,’ it is clear that their search is information-centered.

Keywords for Different Types of Intent

The use of specific words in keywords searches will enlighten you on the type of vocabulary used for each type of intent. For a navigational search, for instance, you would find words such as the brand names themselves, ‘reviews and opinions’, ‘address’, ‘contact’ and similar. For informational searches, words to look out for include ‘How to’, ‘studies’, ‘infographic’, ‘What is’, ‘Top ways to’, ‘white paper’, and more. For commercial intent words like ‘top’, ‘best’ and ‘recommended’ are common. Finally, for transactional searches, frequent search words include ‘buy’, ‘discount’, ‘premium’, ‘luxury’, ‘bargain’, ‘compare’, and ‘review’. The two categories which may have a significant overlap are transactional and commercial searches.

Finding Intent With Search Tools

Keyword tools like Moz, Semrush, and Ahrefs Keyword Explorer can help you during your research phase by helping you filter keywords with specific intent. When using Ahrefs, for instance, you can simply type in keywords, and the tool will present you with search phrases that have used the same terms, as well as with phrase matches. These will help you determine intent, while other categories (such as volume and keyword difficulty) will enable you to narrow down your search. You will also need to study Google SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages), particularly paid ads, organic listings, and knowledge graph results. You can then use Google Ads to discover how high commercial intent for your product or service is, and analyze metrics such as bounce rates (to see if your content matches search intent or if, on the contrary, audiences are bouncing off your site because the match is poor).

Having A Content Audit

When you feel confident about the correct keywords for matching intent, having a content audit can help ensure your existing content assets can be used or reused to optimal effect. As stated by SEO experts Neon Ambition, content audits help teams reorganize, repurpose, improve and prune content. By looking at factors such as traffic, link equity, direct organic traffic, and social shares, an audit can help assess whether or not the content you’re providing is playing an important role in converting leads. You should check both foundational content (which is focused on the reasons for your organization’s existence) and strategic content (comprising blogs, informative reports, videos, infographics, and the like).

Creating New Content

In addition to revamping existing content, you should also plan future content bearing in mind the new keyword scenarios you find during your searches.Google search results can change significantly from time to time, depending on specific keywords search phrases used, the location where searches are carried out, the type of device used to make the search, and of course, frequent updates to Google algorithms. Google paid ads can also alter the results of searches, and some searches may trigger Google shopping ads or product listing ads to the SERP display. Therefore conducting keyword searches using both tried-and-tested and new combinations is vital if you are to continue to rank highly. Content should be created regularly so as to incorporate new keyword phrases in an organic fashion.

Keeping Low Search Volumes in Mind

Because keyword phrases are an ever-changing phenomenon, it is important to create content that uses low volume keywords as well as high ones. Even if your target clients may conduct only 15 searches in a given month, one of those searches could result in a deal worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to your company. It is one thing to aim to reach as wide a market as possible and another altogether to connect with your specific niche. The extent to which you use low- or high-volume keywords very much depends on the nature of your or your client’s business. If you use low volume keywords but you rank highly when doing so, then client searches could very well result in a conversion. Target both low- and high-competition keywords, since high competition simply means other companies are bidding for specific keywords.

Matching Your Content With Your Chosen Search Intent

Transactional queries are typical targets for marketing teams working on behalf of companies selling goods and services, yet this intent isn’t necessarily the one that will bring in the greatest number of conversions. For instance, if your site is informative by nature, then focusing on content that provides your audience with valuable, updated, continuous information is key. On the other hand, if you have a retail shop, then focusing on transactional content (which is harder to rank for and more expensive to bid on in terms of ads) should be your goal.

Ensuring your content matches up with the searcher’s intent is key if you are to rise to the task set by Google algorithms. You should first determine the type of intent you should optimize your content for, and then use tools to find relevant phrases. Google SERPS, content audits, and analytics are also helpful when it comes to discovering search intent, and to determine how much competitors are willing to pay for it. Finally, work on creating new content that incorporates new keyword combinations as you discover them. Aim for a blend of low- and high-volume keywords to increase conversion rates.