Everything in the marketing world today revolves around the customer, as everyone, without exception, seeks to satisfy him, by understanding his needs well, and then working to satisfy them appropriately. This also applies to the world of digital marketing, specifically search engine optimization, by understanding the intention of (User Intent) (Search Intent) that makes him care about certain results, in order to employ that in providing him with appropriate content.
What is User Intent?
The User Intent, or as it is also known as the Search Intent, is part of the search engine optimization process. So, before getting to know the user intent and what the term means, we will first answer the question of what is SEO, to understand the importance of knowing the search intent as an influencing factor in the results.
Search engine optimization, or as it is known as SEO for short, is the process of making modifications and improvements to website pages, in order to appear in the first results of visitors’ searches on various search engines such as Google, Bing, or others, by targeting the appropriate keywords. All SEO services focus on achieving this goal as an ongoing priority.
Returning to the user’s intent can be defined as the means that tells us what the user wants to access through the search process that he conducts. Therefore, it also includes the keywords used by it, but it goes beyond that to understand the user’s intent from the search process. For example, if he is looking for information, wants to buy a specific product, or what exactly he wants.
What is the importance of knowing the search intent?
As we mentioned in defining user intent, it plays a fundamental role in SEO and contributes to better results. These results affect your brand, whether in terms of performance across search engines, or actual results in sales numbers. The importance of knowing the search intent can be included in the following three points:
1- Google’s interest in the search structure
Google puts customers first. Thus, the site sees all the details in the context of its association with the user. Therefore, the Google algorithm is interested in satisfying the search intent of the user, and this is what makes the results of the content arrangement on the search engine pages affected accordingly.
For example, if a user searches for a specific term and finds information that is not related to what they want, they search for other results without clicking on any of the results. This sends a signal to Google that the results did not match the user’s intent due to the mismatch, so the site starts making the appropriate adjustments to rank the content.
2- Increase your reach to users at the different stages of a purchase
The user goes through a range of different stages until the final purchase decision of the products. It includes awareness of the existence of a problem or need, then searching for information, evaluating the alternatives available to him to choose from, until the final purchase decision and service evaluation. At every stage, there are some questions and ideas that will certainly come to his mind and control his decision before moving on to the next step.
So, instead of targeting the user only at the purchase stage, for example, the user’s intention can be identified in the different stages that he goes through, and the needs and ideas that are going through his head are understood. Then make sure to target him at every stage with the appropriate content, which provides him with the information and answers he wants to access, and then make sure to improve the user experience.
Thus, this helps you achieve two goals: the first is to reach a larger number of individuals, as it will lead to introducing a more significant number of audiences to your brand, through searching at each stage, rather than being satisfied with the number that appears to them only in the purchase stage. The second is how targeting search intent at all stages can improve your brand’s conversion rate.
3-Control your bounce rate and improve your page ranking
These days, it’s not just about getting traffic, it’s about getting targeted, relevant traffic. (Adam Odette, Search Engine Marketing Specialist)
Focusing on user intent leads to the highest possible degree of satisfaction for the user. As he will really feel the suitability of the content he reads with his search structure, and therefore he will spend more time inside the content for more benefit, and he will move between the links within the content. Or proceed to make a purchase, depending on the call-to-action mentioned in the content.
On the contrary, if the user finds that the content does not match his needs, he will quickly leave the page back to the search engine, without navigating the content on the page he entered. This leads to an increase in the bounce rate, meaning that the visitor browses your site through a specific page, then leaves the site without opening any other pages.
Thus, understanding the user’s intent leads to controlling the bounce rate, and in return, the user’s purpose for the search is achieved, given the strength of the content. Instead of finding useless traffic as results that affect your goals, you will get relevant traffic for you, which leads to Google ranking you positively, helping you improve your ranking across search engines.
How can search intent be classified?
User intent can be classified according to the goals that the user seeks to achieve, as the search intent differs from one person to another, and it is possible that the goal will change during the search journey. For example, if a person’s goal is to obtain information on a particular topic only, they may end up making a decision to purchase a particular product based on the content read. Search intent can be categorized into four main types:
1- (Informational Intent)
This classification means that the user seeks answers to specific questions or information on a specific topic. Thus, he only focuses on the content that provides him with the knowledge he is looking for. For example, the content whose title or content you find contains the following words: your guide to, how to do, why, best ways to. Most likely this falls under the category of searching for information.
You can leverage your informative user intent to provide content that answers your audience’s questions, especially those related to your product. For you, this is the most common content in attracting an audience. Unlike other types, the search intent may not be focused on something in particular, but rather an attempt to reach information. So if you can provide the right content, you will be able to attract users to you.
2- (Navigational Intent)
Browser search intent means that a user is seeking to reach a specific site or page. Most likely, he has full knowledge of the destination he wants to reach, but instead of typing a full URL in the search bar, he writes the name directly into the search engine.
For example, if you want to access the Fiverr site, you will type the word “fives” in the search engine, and from there you will go to the site. It is important to take into account that you may not achieve good results if you decide to target a keyword related to a browsing destination, as the search intent is directed from the beginning to a specific site.
For example, if you target a word such as (Google Keywords) in content that talks about keywords, most likely the user may not accept it, because using this phrase in the search aims to reach the actual tool from Google to use it, not because it seeks to reach content that talks about it.
3- (Transactional Intent)
As for transactional intent, it means that the user seeks to purchase a specific thing, as he is currently in the stage of making a purchase decision. Therefore, the search intent is focused on the pages that offer the desired products or services, not the content that provides information on the topic. For example, if the researcher wants to obtain a content writing service, he definitely wants the results that enable him to obtain the service, and not an article explaining to him the importance of writing content.
Thus, you can take advantage of the user’s intention to purchase, and promote the products or services that you provide, while making the content focus on clarifying all its details, and the characteristics and advantages that he will receive when purchasing. In this case, you need advertising content, mainly like writing ads, to convince the user to buy what you offer over other options.
4- (Commercial Intent)
The user’s commercial intent often intersects with transactional intent. As it is in the previous step, the user here has not yet made the final purchase decision but is still making comparisons between the different products available. For example, if the user wants to buy a smartphone, the search content will be phone reviews, phone comparisons, and best phones in 2022.
Here, the content of advertisements can also be presented to influence the user, but it is necessary to continue displaying it in more than one way, such as offering promotions or marketing campaigns, until the user is encouraged to make the final decision and proceed to the actual purchase stage.
How do you leverage user intent for search engine marketing?
By identifying the user’s intent, it is possible to improve the results of search engine marketing. This requires taking a set of practical steps to help transform the concept of user intent into reality and to benefit from the points that we talked about in the importance of research. These procedures are the following four steps:
1- Understanding the nature of customers and the buying journey
People are not the same in terms of how they take different actions. So, the first step to capitalizing on user intent is by understanding your customers in a good way. Knowing what things they want to access, or the search intention goes to know in its four classifications.
It is also important, after studying customers well, to design their buying journey, which is compatible with your brand. for example; Do searches start from search engines only? Or do they move through social networking sites? Or is it a combination of multiple procedures?
It’s like designing a complete customer journey path, showing the starting point, the ending point, and what they can expect to get to at each step. Of course, it is important here to focus on the steps that occur primarily through search engines, as well as how users can be attracted to, and influence their search intent, through search engines in all steps possible.
2- Keyword analysis
Searches and, accordingly, user intent are associated with the keywords used in the search. Therefore, it is important to focus on analyzing the keywords well, and the results of the search engine pages (SERP), and through this knowing some basic points such as the current ranking of your site in the search pages for the targeted words, as well as the volume of searches that are performed on them, whether monthly or during a period specific.
By analyzing the keywords, you will be able to work out how to infer the user’s search intent, what things they are looking for, and fall within any specific classification of the search intent. It is also useful to see the content of competitors who rank higher in these words, to know the content used to target the audience, and through this to reach an accurate perception of the user’s intent and what exactly he wants.
3- Use appropriate content
In the end, it all depends on the content. Therefore, it is necessary to work on providing the appropriate content to users, based on your perceptions, the numbers you have, your understanding of the user’s intent, and the things they want to access. At this stage, if you are not an expert in writing content, hiring a professional content writer through the Fiverr platform, the largest freelance platform, to prepare professional content is undoubtedly the best option. When preparing your content, be sure to include the following in your content:
Determine the classification of the target search intent
First, define the search intent classification within the four types we talked about. This will help you choose the most appropriate words for the content, and determine the most appropriate content structure for use, in order to satisfy the user’s intent from the search process.
For example, if we talk about articles related to self-employment, to direct them to entrepreneurs. In informational intent, the article will be about the reasons for hiring freelancers. In the commercial intention, as the entrepreneur makes a comparison between the options, an article can be presented on the comparison between hiring freelancers or using agencies. Then in the transactional intent, the article will talk about the appropriate mechanism for hiring freelancers.
Craft a catchy title
The title is the first element that the user looks at when searching, and according to the title, he will determine whether or not he will access the content. It must be ensured that the title agrees with the targeted search intent so that the user decides that this content achieves what he wants at the present time, so he does not ignore it and look at the following results. It is also important to include the keyword in the title, to make it easier for search engines to spot and rank your article.
Provide content covering all aspects of the topic
You seek to make the user spend as long as possible on your site, so you need rich content that covers all aspects of the topic you are writing about now, addresses its various angles, and answers all the questions that are in his mind about this topic.
In this case, the user will not need to go out and go to any other source and is satisfied with the content that he obtained through you. This will make him or her believe in you and may start flipping through your other articles or move from the informational stage to the transactional stage.
Include more links
One of the most important goals of user intent is to help reduce the bounce rate. Therefore, useful links must be included within the content. For example, articles that talk about certain topics mentioned in the article, that you deem important to the user and that he would like to know and benefit from, or the sources he relied on in the content.
You can take advantage of your coverage of all aspects of a topic, easily access other content, and include your own links within existing content. Thus, this makes the reader move from one page to another within your site, to browse the rest of the existing topics.
However, always remember that there is no need to add too many links or insert them inappropriately, so that the reader does not get distracted, but rather be able to focus on the main content, and move between the rest of the existing content.
Write a strong call-to-action (CTA).
At the end of the content, a strong call-to-action must be written to motivate the reader to take the action you want by being present within the content, in order for the required conversion to occur. In this case, the procedure must be linked with the search intent and its objective. If the matter is specific to the transactional structure, the procedure must be made to talk about the purchase mechanism.
You can also write a procedure that is far from the intent of the search. For example, motivating the user to buy, content that provides information in the first place, that is, the user here may not even think about buying. This requires strong content, which can influence user intent and convince them of the value of transactions through you. In this case, he is interested in obtaining your products or services, and here the call to action achieves this goal smoothly and intelligently.
4- Analyze the results of the content
It is always important to go back to the second step, which is the keyword analysis, along with analyzing the results from the content plan, to see if the content really matches the search intent that users want to reach. If the answer is no, the appropriate mechanism must be considered to improve the content, so that it becomes more compatible with the user’s intent.
Finally, remember at every step that the content is primarily directed at individuals, not search engines. And that these same engines put users at the forefront of their priorities, and thus develop their work mechanisms to give them the best service. So, be sure to study the user intent well, and try to make use of it as an essential part of your SEO work. You will be able to satisfy both; Users and search engines, this is the desired goal.