Understanding Search Intent is the Key to Successful SEO

Posted on December 14th, 2018 by nms

As the years have gone on and the Google algorithm has grown more sophisticated, people have given vastly different answers about the most important part of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Previously, the main goal was including the right keywords in your content, and as many times as possible. As long as your site had the right words in the right order, the algorithm would bring searchers to your site. Today, the algorithm is far more sophisticated, and has a different mission: bringing users the results that match their intent.

When people make an online search, they do so with a purpose. Sometimes they’re looking for a specific website. Other times they have a question that they’d like answered. Or maybe they have a problem and are looking for the solution, be it a product, a service, or just some more information. “Search intent” is the reason why someone makes their search, and understanding search intent and how to make your content match it is key to ranking well in 2018 and beyond.

Understanding Why and How People Search

As mentioned above, there are multiple reasons why your audience is making a search. They can be categorized into the following four types of search intent:

  • Informational intent: This first type of search is the simplest and the most common. These are the queries that people search when they’re looking to learn more about a certain topic, be it the 10-day weather forecast, last night’s football scores, or how intent factors in SEO. In these types of searches, the user likely is not yet looking for a product to purchase. These queries are at the top of the funnel, and will be directed to tutorials, guides, and other informational pages.
  • Navigational intent: In these queries, people are trying to get to a specific website or page. These queries typically include brand names as well as specific products and services. Ranking high on these terms will typically only be beneficial if you are the site they are attempting to navigate to. However, being listed along other businesses and products could increase brand awareness.
  • Transactional intent: Unlike the previous two types of intent, which are primarily seeking information, transactional searches are made with the purpose of purchasing something. These queries will typically include words such as “buy”, “purchase”, “price”, “cost”, or “sale”. Google will not bring searchers to informational blog posts; rather, these queries will lead to a search engine results page (SERP) of product pages.
  • Commercial intent: This final category is a bit of a mix between transactional and informational intent. In these types of searches, the user is looking to make a purchase, but perhaps not immediately. Before they make their purchase, they want to gather information about the problem they’re trying to solve and the products and services that can help them solve it.


How to Harness Search Intent

Once you understand what your audience is searching and why, it’s time to incorporate these findings into your SEO strategy, to ensure that their search will lead them to your content, which will have the answers that they need.

First, consider what your business is offering. Do you have a product or service that can address the needs of a core group of people? Are you leading experts in your field, offering a unique and knowledgeable perspective?

The next step is considering the target keywords that you would like to rank for, and considering what type of content would be most likely to rank high on these keywords’ respective SERPs. If your top-performing keyword is “buy professional liability insurance”, switch up your strategy in order to ensure that people searching this phrase are led to a product page. Craft your content with the intent in mind, and craft content for a variety of different search intents. Once you’re creating content that fits the keywords people are searching for and why, you can bring the right people to your sites and turn them into customers.

About Agency Tsunami

Agency Tsunami is the digital marketing division of Neilson Marketing Services, who has provided the insurance distribution sector with innovative marketing and communication solutions for over twenty-five years. With our Agency Tsunami program, we have implemented an integrated marketing strategy that includes optimized, professional websites supported by high-quality SEO and Social Media for hundreds of insurance retailers and wholesalers. Our goal is to help your insurance business perform and generate new opportunities. Give us a call at (800) 736-9741 to learn more about how we can do that for you.