August 26, 2020 Last updated August 26th, 2020 1,500 Reads share

Using Custom Content and User Search Intent to Improve Searchability and SEO

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

Whether you’re a small business owner who just made their local debut or have been in the industry for a long time, we bet the sudden and unprecedented onset of the coronavirus threw all your business plans and growth objectives out the window.

With everyone holed up indoors, businesses are scrambling to keep themselves afloat using digital marketing. If you’re one of these businesses trying to weather the coronavirus storm, we bet your search history looks like:

“How to drive local traffic to my website?”

“How to improve my ranking on Google?”

Sounds about right, no?

A man using Google’s search engine on their laptop

All these search queries fall under search engine optimization, which is proving to be extremely useful for businesses trying to earn their bread and butter during the tumultuous times of the pandemic.

By mastering SEO practices, you can drastically improve your searchability to rank high on Google, which will ultimately lead to customer attrition, more sales, and increased revenue generation.

A quick Google search will tell you a few ways you can include SEO into your digital marketing strategy. Perhaps you’ll post a few keyword-rich blogs up on your website to drive organic search traffic to your site. You may even venture into social media marketing.

But all of it is null and void if you don’t know the basics of user search intent and how it translates into better searchability on search engine results. It’s the foundational building block of any successful SEO strategy, without which you might as well be putting up content that’s designed to get lost in the vast digital landscape. Let’s take a look at what user search intent is, how you can leverage it to customize the content and improve your website’s SEO.

An example of Google search results

What Is User Search Intent?

Understanding the search intent of your target market is the backbone of every result-oriented SEO strategy. User search intent is the main goal that one has when they’re typing their query into the search engine bar.

For instance, if you’re browsing the internet to looking for a quick cake recipe, your Google search bar will say “quick cheesecake recipe.” You click on the first link but realize that it’s not what you’re looking for because the recipe takes more than two hours. You close the tab and move on to the next link, and finally, you’ve found exactly what you’re looking for. If a lot of users feel the same way as you, jumping from the first link to the second, Google’s algorithm will identify the second link to be more in line with user search intent and give it a ranking boost.

What Is Search Intent in SEO?

The ultimate goal of SEO is to give your website a boost to rank higher on search engine results. This drives organic traffic to your website and improves sales.

User intent in SEO determines where you rank on search engine results, especially on Google, which controls 90 percent of internet search traffic. If your SEO strategy isn’t designed to fit the user’s search intent,  the chances are that you won’t make it to the top 3 result spots on Google.

Search intent matters so much that according to a recent report published by Google, search intent trumps traditional search engine ranking signals and backlinks too! This isn’t to say that the latter isn’t necessary, but the report only goes to show what a monumental role user search intent plays in determining search engine rankings.

Understanding user search intent also allows you to create content that reduces your bounce rate by helping people interested in what you offer to reach your website. This prevents the user from closing your website and jumping onto another one.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll be stuck with reduced visits. On the contrary, you’re more likely to experience a boost in your rankings as you consistently match people’s search demand.

Understanding Different Types of Search Intent

There are three primary types of search intent:

  • Informational
  • Navigational
  • Transactional

Studies show that more than 80 percent of search intents are informational, and the rest are navigational and transactional. The difference between the three types is based on how customers use the keywords in search engine bars.

For instance, if your search has something to do with sunglasses, the different queries would look like this:

Informational: polarized sunglasses meaning

Navigational: polarized sunglasses Ray-Ban (brand name)

Transactional: buy polarized sunglasses

Optimizing for Different Search Intents

Here’s how you can optimize content to match different search intents to make your website rank higher.

Informational Search Intent

Information search intent comprises queries that cover a broad topic that can contain thousands of relevant links, making them hard to monetize. But optimizing content for them is worth it because these are the most common queries on Google. Google displays the answers for these search queries in answer boxes that appear at the top of search engine results.

The Google search result shows how information intent gets results in answer boxes

Being on Google’s answer boxes gives you a significant boost as it allows you to appear on the first page of results twice—in the answer box and as a link.

Most information queries begin with questions such as:

  • How can I
  • What Is
  • How to
  • What are the benefits of
  • Guide/ Tutorial
  • Ways to

This means that your content should be designed to answer these questions. The most effective content types for informational queries are

  • Blog posts with tips and lists
  • How-to videos
  • Step-by-step guides
  • Infographics.

Your main goal should be to create high-quality content and convey useful information directly, without any irrelevant additions to it. This makes your content catchy and easy-to-read for the user.

A few ways you can optimize content for informational search intent include:

Conduct a SERP Analysis

A SERP analysis, combined with competitor analysis, gives insight into keywords that can be used to generate content that drive more traffic to your website. It gives you an idea of the most popular keywords relevant to your industry, and how to leverage them for a boost in ranking. Stick to using long-tailed keywords as they tend to bring in more traffic.

Navigational Search Intent

A navigational query entered into the search bar is when an individual is looking for a particular website, service, product, or brand that they already have some knowledge of.

Navigational queries include elements and phrases like:

  • Brand name
  • Service or product name
  • Reviews of a brand
  • “Directions to”
  • “Hours of”
  • “Cost of”
The Google search result shows how navigational intent get results

The type of content items you can create to target navigational queries includes

  • Landing pages and location pages on your website
  • Product demo videos
  • Case studies
  • Products and services lists
  • Webinars
  • Presentations

While it’s difficult to rank high for these queries, if you don’t own the site, there’s still room for optimization. For instance, in the image below, although the search is on Netflix, common sense would dictate that Netflix’s website would rank as number one on Google—and yet, Business Insider is the top result because their link matches more with the navigational intent.

The Google search result shows how results for navigational intent are displayed

You can create relevant content for navigational queries the same way you can for informational queries.

Transitional Search Intent

Transactional search intents are commercial intents where an individual is looking to make a purchase or find a place to buy an item.

The Google search result shows how results for transactional intent are displayed

Some common words and phrases customer use for transitional queries include:

  • Buy
  • Where to buy
  • Deals
  • Discount
  • Schedule appointment
  • Reserve
  • For sale
  • Order

These are the kind of queries that are most likely to deliver ROI in organic search and paid search. The best content to match with transactional queries include

  • Product pages
  • Sign up pages
  • Pricing pages
  • Live demos
  • Free consultation pages
  • Sales pages
  • Appointment pages

In addition to SERP analysis and keyword optimization, another way to optimize for transactional intent is through local optimization. By using keywords relevant to the location of your business, you can make your website rank higher for local searches.

You should also focus on adding actionable CTAs to the content that nudges the customer to make a purchase.

Go Forth and Optimize: Hire SEO Services Today!

Creating content that’s optimized for all types of search intent is no longer a luxury but a necessity as it will make your content more relevant and help you rank higher. It will also increase your click-through rates from search engine results pages and lead to more online engagement.

But doing it all is no walk in the park—so why not let the experts handle it?

SEO services, link building services, and website design services will help you optimize every aspect of your website to help your business rank higher.

About the Author

An SEO specialist for Search Berg, Aaron Tyler is a leading SEO expert who has long dealt with SEO services, tools, and practices in states all across the U.S. and beyond. In addition to content marketing and SEO services, Search Berg offers link building services and website design services to help businesses improve their current SEO.

DepositPhotos – google search

Joseph Dyson

Joseph Dyson

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