The world of SEO is constantly changing. Technology evolves, algorithms update and the strategies that we use to rank websites change, too. It is important to keep up with these changes and that’s one of the main reasons to hire an SEO agency if you are serious about ranking your website highly.
Perhaps one of the most significant changes in recent years has been the ability for search engines to identify user intent. They can now tell what a user is trying to get out of a search — whether that is buying a product, learning more about a topic or trying to find reviews — and will tailor search results to that intent. Because this is changing the way that websites are ranked, it is crucial that business owners understand how intent works and how to optimize for it.
What is searcher intent?
Searcher intent encompasses the reason behind the search. What is the searcher trying to achieve? In most case, this will be informational, they want to find out more information. But it can also be commercial and transactional.
Informational intent is when the searcher is seeking to answer a question or learn more about a topic. This is the most common form of intent and has the highest search volumes.
Transactional intent is when a user wants to make a purchase. They know what they want to buy and they are trying to find somewhere to buy it from. In some cases, they may even know where they want to buy it from as well.
Commercial is a hybrid of informational and transactional. The user is looking for more information on a purchase and is probably wanting to read reviews or product specifications.
Categorizing your keywords by intent can help you to understand what pages should be showing and how you can optimize your pages to be more likely to rank.
Optimizing for intent
If you have categorized your keywords you should now start optimizing your pages for these intents. The best place to start is by looking at the current results in Google and seeing what kind of pages show up. Are they blog posts? News articles? Product pages?
Now, if the content showing in Google for your keyword doesn’t match your page’s content, there’s a good chance you aren’t going to be able to rank your page highly. You can’t rank a blog post on a Google search that shows only product pages, for instance. Conversely, if your page is the same type of page as all of the pages ranking in Google, there is every chance you can get it to rank highly and you should invest time and money in doing so.
You can also use intent to optimize your on-page SEO and your call to actions. So if your users’ intent is to find information, make sure you use heading tags to answer questions. If they want to make a purchase, make sure you have CTAs that reflect this.
If you’re serious about getting your pages to rank well and to make money from them, it is crucial that you understand intent.