Title graphic for GrowTraffic blog about identifying and optimising for user search intent

If you want to rank on the SERPs, you need to understand user search intent and optimise for it. And we’re going to help you do it. In this blog, we’ll explain what search intent is, why it is important and how you can optimise your website for it.

So, let’s jump straight in shall we…

What Is User Search Intent?

Cutting through the jargon… user search intent is the reason behind someone’s online search. Why did they make that search? What are they looking for? Are they searching for information about a product or looking to purchase the product? Are they looking for a specific website?

Google (and other search engines) strive to provide the search user with the most relevant answer to their query. And they do this by understanding the intent behind the search query.

Types Of User Search Intent

There are three types of search intent; informational (know), navigational (go) and transactional (do). And search engines will interpret a search based on one of these three types of search intent.

  • Informational – An informational search query is where someone wants to know more information about something or know an answer to a question. For example, “How do I choose a smart TV?” would be an informational search query. 80% of all search queries are informational.
  • Navigational – A navigational search query is where someone searches with the intention of visiting a specific site or viewing a certain product. For example, “Samsung series 6 40 inch smart TV” would be a navigational query.
  • Transactional – A transactional search query is where someone searches with the intent of doing something, such as making a purchase. For example, “cheap Samsung smart TV” would be a transactional search query.

optimising for user search intent

Why Is User Search Intent Important?

Search engine algorithms have come a long way in recent years. And with each algorithm update, Google has gotten better at determining the intent behind a search. So much so, that Google now provides results based on the user search intent rather the keywords.

And as the algorithms have improved, the searches have become more complex. After all, people trust Google. And people are asking more complex questions than they would have done a few years back.

Plus, the rise of voice search has further impacted the way we use Google.

It is up to Google to figure out what the search user is looking for, but it is up to you to provide relevant content that aligns with the search intent of your target audience.

This means that if you want to rank for queries from your target audience, you need to focus on user search intent as well as keyword research.

How To Optimise For User Search Intent

Now we have covered what user search intent and why it is important, we can focus on optimising your website for search intent.

Remember, search user intent is just one of many factors you need to consider when optimising for search engines. It should go hand in hand with keywords.

Begin by gaining a better understanding of what the search user is looking for. Instead of focusing on keywords, focus on prioritising the user – this way, you will create content that is valuable to the user and relevant to their search intent, rather than content this is written for the sake of littering it with keywords.

Head to Google and search for relevant search terms that relate to your product or service. Perform various searches. Then utilise Google’s “People also searched for…” and “Searches related to…” sections to gain a better picture of the search user’s intent.

Once you have a better understanding of the users’ search intent, you can begin to optimise your website for different types of search intent.

Optimising For Informational Search Queries

As we mentioned previously, informational search query means the search user wants to know something. Many informational search queries will include how, when, where, what and who words, such as “how to set up a smart tv”. Or they may include words such as “tutorial” or “guide”.

So, to optimise your website for informational search queries, you need to create useful content that provides hands-on information and direct answers to these questions.

If your answer to a question is clear enough, it might even make it into Google’s “featured snippet” at the very top of the SERP.

Google featured snipped

The types of content you should be creating include blogs, how-to guides, video tutorials, infographics, and checklists.

Having fresh, regular content on your website will ultimately drive traffic and leads to your site, however, don’t forget that the intention of it is to meet the requirements of your target audience!

Optimising For Navigational Search Queries

Common navigational search queries include a specific brand name, product, service, or location etc. To optimise for navigational search queries, you need to focus on your product and service landing pages and your home page as well as case studies, product demo videos and presentation pages.

This includes organically placing keywords and related phrases in the meta description, h1 tag, h2 tags, alt tag, slug, title, and the actual content of the page.

The design of your website should also be taken into consideration. If it isn’t user-friendly, looks messy and unprofessional, or is challenging to navigate, you will see an increase in your bounce rate.

Optimising For Transactional Search Queries

With transactional search queries, search users tend to use words and phrases such as buy, where to buy, download, order, discount, apply, deals and subscription etc.

When optimising your product and pricing pages for transactional search queries, you should include the keyword + the transactional word. For example, “deals on Samsung smart TVs”.

Also, local SEO should also be taken into consideration when optimising for transactional search queries as people may be looking to visit a store or use a local business.

Get In Touch

GrowTraffic is an award-winning digital marketing agency based in Lancashire and Yorkshire. We specialise in SEO, content marketing and social media – but we offer a range of digital marketing services.

If you would like some help with search engine optimisation, get in touch with the GrowTraffic team. You can email us on info@growtraffic.co.uk or give us a call 0161 706 0012.

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