What is Search Intent and How Do You Target Different Search Types?
Content is a crucial SEO element that helps you get the results that you want online. However, to maximise the potential of your web content, you should know exactly what your target audience is looking for. This is why you must develop a thorough knowledge and understanding of search intent. But what is search intent, exactly?
Search Intent Defined
Simply put, search intent is the reason someone conducts a specific online search. Whether they are hoping to find a website, a product, or obtain a piece of information about a topic, it is what a person wants to achieve when they enter a particular set of keywords into search engines.
Search intent is also known as user or audience intent.
Types of Search Intent
Now that you know what to answer when someone asks you, “What is search intent?” The next step is to determine the different types of searches one can perform online. Knowing and understanding each type of search intent is crucial to your online success. It can help you create SEO-friendly content that will best suit the needs of your prospects.
The first type of search is called navigational. As the name implies, navigational searches occur when a user looks up a particular website. For instance, when someone enters “Springhill Marketing” on Google, it is considered a navigational search because it’s likely that the user is looking for Springhill Marketing’s website.
Take note, however, that navigational searches do not always solely involve brand names. They may also contain the name of a specific product or service. For instance, a user keyed in “Google Ads services Springhill Marketing.” This is still considered a navigational search. Although the user is looking for a specific online marketing service, they have already decided to get it from Springhill Marketing.
How to Target Navigational Searches
Genuine navigational queries possess very clear intent – the name of a particular website. If you don’t own the site the users are looking for, it’s doubtful that you can easily persuade them to go to yours. On the other hand, if you’re indeed the owner of the site in the query, you can take specific steps to improve your online visibility.
You can start by improving your brand or company’s navigational query. When someone enters your business name on Google, it should appear as the top organic and sponsored result. For this reason, you should look into investing in branded keywords even if you’re already ranking organically for them. This will help you generate more clicks and conversions.
You should target transactional searches if you want to boost your sales and profit. They occur when someone is looking to buy a specific product or service but hasn’t determined where to get it yet.
For example, a user types in “buy antique furniture.” This is a transactional search because based on the search terms they have entered, they are in the market for antique furniture.
How to Target Transactional Searches
You can target transactional queries with organic content, such as optimised product/service pages and localised content. However, you should also consider using pay per click (PPC) advertising platforms, such as Google Ads, to make the most of these searches.
Through PPC ads, you can:
- Increase your ROI – transactional queries are the types of searches that deliver the most ROI to paid ads.
- Enjoy better online visibility – targeting transactional keywords through PPC gives you better online visibility since sponsored results are highly visible on Google result pages.
- Better promote your products/services – through PPC ads, you can create better brand awareness since Google offers a lot of features for sponsored ads and product listings.
- Get more clicks – research showed that ads targeting search queries with high commercial intent get more clicks than organic results.
The third type of search query is called informational searches. Informational queries occur when someone uses search engines to find information about a specific topic. For example, when a user types in “what is SEO?” on Google, it is considered an informational search because they are looking for the definition of SEO.
For informational searches, you’ll notice that Google provides not only links to relevant pages. The search giant will also answer the question right on the search result page.
How to Target Informational Searches
Unlike the first two types of searches discussed above, informational queries can be hard to monetise. However, you can target these searches to establish authority and drive organic traffic and enquiries to your site. Here are a few pointers you should consider:
1. Keep an active blog
Make sure to maintain an active blog, where you can post articles and other types of content that would help answer your prospects’ questions.
2. Consider producing how-to videos
Videos are excellent traffic and lead magnets. They are engaging and easy to consume than written articles. You can create how-to videos relevant to your business. For example, if you sell car stereos, you can post a video on maintaining or installing them.
3. Create infographics
Similar to videos, infographics are engaging and educational. They also have the advantage of being shareable.
Identifying Each Type of Search Queries
So how do you know if a particular search query is navigational, transactional, or informational? Here are a few quick reminders:
- Navigational searches always involve brand names and/or their products/services.
- Transactional searches often contain modifiers such as buy, order, or purchase.
- Informational searches usually start with the words who, what, when, where, why, and how. They may also include words such as guide, tips, and tutorial.
Understand the Different Search Types
If you want to make the most of your SEO efforts, you should develop a keen understanding of search intent and its different types. This will help you craft better content and online marketing strategies that can help you generate more visits and enquiries for your website.
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