Search Intent in SEO: Proven Ways to Optimize Your Website

search intent in seo

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Google records more than 8.5 billion searches daily, yet only a few websites on the front page get to reap the benefits from that massive traffic. Even then, most people will check about four links before calling it a day or trying other keywords. Is your website a lucky one that gets all the sweet love and attention?

If you struggle to answer this question, you might need to improve your search intent optimization tactics. Doing this can be tricky, but it’s the key to crafting content that drives traffic and engagement. In this post, we will explore what you need to know and do to start creating the content people will surely click on.

What Is Search Intent Optimization in Marketing, and Why Do You Need It?

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You must already know that a majority of people, about 68% of them, start their online journey with a search. So, how do you position your website to be the one they find and click on? That’s where search intent optimization comes in. According to webflow agencies on Vezafy, understanding and aligning with your audience’s search intent is pivotal in ensuring your content not only meets their needs but also stands out in search results.

People go to a restaurant when they are hungry or want to meet up. The same logic here. Search intent, or the intent of a query as Google calls it, is the reason behind a person’s search for a specific keyword or info. Why do they want to know that info? To get somewhere, learn how to do something, or decide if a product is worth buying?

Search intent optimization means you do everything possible to get your content right on the first page of the search engine results and, if possible, even at the top of the list. Sure, it begins with quality content, but truth be told, there are lots of well-written articles already matching the search query. 

So, you have to contend with other sites for users’ attention. And if you have been on the SEO scene long enough, you already know that the web pages with the highest rankings also have the most relevant backlinks.

When doing local optimization, consider that people sometimes look for geographically relevant search results. You could do the same either manually or using a service that offers credible local link-building in your niche. When you do optimize your content, you get to drive more traffic to the webpage and reap the other benefits of SEO.

Search Query Intent Types

In most cases, when we think of search query intent examples, we imagine that a customer follows some logical process, but this is rarely the case. You must know that a potential client can find you at any point of their journey, so you should create diverse content that aligns with the different types of search intent:

  • The informational or the “know” query intent. This one is pretty cut and dried. The person doing this kind of search is hoping to find the answer to a question or details about something. Most online searches start this way. The query could be as simple as “What year was the first “Friends” episode aired?” or “How do I study for my SATs?”
  • The transactional or “do” query intent. A person using this search query intent is ready or primed to take action. They already know what they need and just want to learn how to get it. For example, searches like “get online SAT tutoring” are usually from students who already decided to get coaching to succeed at their SATs.
  • Navigational or the “visit-in-person” or “go” queries. We usually whip out our phones to find the nearest cafe. That’s exactly what a navigational intent is. If you are a popular brand with franchises in several places, people will likely use this kind of search often to find you. That’s why having a Google business page with your info is a must.
  • Commercial intent query. The person doing this kind of search is hoping to get as many details as possible, which will influence their choices. It’s the same thing you do before upgrading your phone; you want to be sure it’s worth it.

How to Track Search Intent

Almost each user search intent falls under one of the four types listed above, actually about 99% of them, according to Brian Dean at Backlinko. So, how do you identify which is which, and how do you track these queries? The trick is to pay attention to the data on searches and engagement with your content. You may take simple, practical steps like the following:

  1. Pay attention to the keywords people are using to find your content.
  2. Check how long users stay on your web page. A high bounce rate is a dead giveaway that there is a mismatch between the content and the user’s expectation/intent.
  3. Notice how many users engage further with your content, which means they resonate with the topic.
  4. Use SEO tools to track search intent to get the accurate, insightful data you need to supercharge your strategies.

5 Ways to Optimize for User Search Intent

The good news is that no matter where you are at the moment, there is always something you can do to optimize for user search intent. Here are some steps you can start with:

#1 Put Yourself in the Customer’s Place

This is the first step to ensure you are on the right path. You’ve got to know where the shoe pinches to take the pain away. Once you figure out exactly who your customers is, what they like, what struggles they have, and what they need (all of which identify the customer profile), you’ll be able to correctly understand their search intent and respond accordingly in your content.

Customer research gives you the right keywords, but beyond that, you can tell who learns about you for the first time, who is ready to buy from you, and who still has doubts.

#2 Always Trust the Data

There is little room for blind guesswork in SEO, and identifying search intent is too big a deal to leave it all to whims. You want to ensure you receive data from the most authoritative resource, as it can impact your entire SEO project. Luckily, there are practical tools for identifying search intent, such as Ahrefs. You can use it to check how well your content is performing and get interesting insights.

For example, if your web page is barely getting any love, this could be a sign that something is wrong. Most likely, your content does not align with the user search intent. But be careful not to become too reliant on such software.

Sometimes, stepping back and looking closer at the search engine result pages (SERPs) can point you in the right direction. Really, you should always check who’s ranking high in your niche, why it is so, and how you perform in comparison.

#3 Remember to Mix It Up

User search intent types can and do often overlap. For example, specific keywords can fit comfortably under any of the four types. When this happens, you should go for the type that best serves your purpose and offers the most value.

Still, you can satisfy one intent and touch on any closely related micro-intent where possible. Say you have an informational article about your product where you can also throw in a not-so-obvious cue that matches with a transactional or commercial intent. In fact, this is what we do when we add a sentence with an embedded link to our product pages.

#4 Match Content Format to Search Intent

For some people, this means creating content that matches high-ranked search results, but it’s not necessarily the case. Sure, lots of people read blog posts, which are more likely to show up at the top of search results, but you can also add a unique spin to yours.

You can create blog posts and use the same topic for a video or podcast. It’s a sure way to optimize your website and gain more exposure. Again, even when making articles, you should know which blog format matches the customers’ intent.

Making a long-form article where a short listicle would do is not exactly a brilliant move. Remember to optimize your meta descriptions and tags with keywords that match your search intent as well.

#5 Listen to Feedback and Track Your Performance

Tracking feedback is an integral part of optimizing your website. Who can better tell you about their needs than the customers themselves? This is why lots of websites ask their audience to do a quick survey. You could use an SEO tool to check your site and spot issues that need a little effort to be fixed. Make your site the most user-friendly one in your niche, but there’s only a little a tool can tell you.

So, you should use the tools at your disposal, but you also want to hear from humans to decide if your content is a long way from the user search intent.

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