Content is king. If you’ve paid even a miniscule amount of attention to digital marketing advice for your business, you’ve likely heard this phrase a thousand times. So, you’ve went all in on a content strategy, and while you’re getting hits, nothing else seems to be happening.
A content strategy can fall flat for a number of reasons, but one that often goes undetected is search intent. What this means is that while you might be hitting every other mark with your content, it’s just not aligned with the actual intent of search engine users. Let’s break this down a little further and learn more about search intent and how it should factor into your content strategy.
What Is Search Intent?
Search intent, sometimes also referred to as keyword intent, is a term used to describe the real meaning behind an internet user’s search. With billions of people using the internet every day, it’s unrealistic to think that identical search queries always share the same intent. Understanding search intent can help you realize how important it is to your content strategy.
In order to provide search engine users with the most relevant results, Google and other search engines need to determine what the user is really looking for. Considering that most of us initiate a text search in a shorthand form, it’s easy to see where this can become challenging.
For instance, say a search engine user types in “coffee roaster”. If a person walked up to you on the stress and said those two words, you’d probably be confused and not really sure of what they wanted. Still, you might make an attempt by either directing them to a local coffee roaster in town or to a distributor of coffee roasting supplies. In the event that both of these were valid options, you would probably start with the most likely scenario that this person wanted to visit a coffee roaster.
This is the challenge that Google faces every day. Using the “coffee roaster” example, a search engine user might also be looking for information on how to become a coffee roaster, how much coffee roasters make, etc. The possibilities are endless.
Because search queries are typically vague, search engines do their best by considering the most likely intent behind keywords and prioritizing content that matches this intent. This is where search intent influences the performance of your content for search engine optimization.
Answering Their Questions
A person who initiates a search query is looking to accomplish something. Understanding what exactly your audience is looking for when they conduct a search using keywords that are relevant to your business is critically important.
In most cases, search queries fall into three categories. They either want to know something, do something or go somewhere. Most search engine users realize that if their query is too general, they’ll end up with results that they’re not looking for. So they’ve learned to enhance their results by using a few specific keywords that help to narrow down their intent.
For example, if they want to know something, they’ll include intent keywords such as “how to” or “what is”. Likewise, someone who’s looking to go somewhere will add on words like “where is” or “near me”. Learning how to optimize your content with intent keywords will improve your overall SEO results.
Strategies for Optimizing Content for Search Intent
Optimizing your content for search intent is all about targeting the right audience at the right time. If you’ve already becoming familiar with common search engine marketing practices, you already have a head start on the process. Taking search intent into consideration isn’t that difficult and it can provide a tremendous boost to SEO results. Here are a few key points to consider.
- Start with keyword research and analytics to determine which intent keywords your audience is using in their searches.
- Make sure your content is audience focused. Ask yourself what questions people are asking about your business and the services you provide. Consider every aspect of your business in doing this.
- Consider creating clusters of content that focus on one area of specific search intent. Create multiple clusters to optimize your presence in search results.
- Don’t neglect to include intent keywords in title tags and meta descriptions. Titles that match user intent receive more traffic. Think along the lines of “How to” and “What are”.
- Add tags and transcripts to videos to increase their search intent relevancy.
The strategies mentioned above focus on information search intent. There’s another type of user intent that’s referred to as transactional intent, which is more focused on customers who are ready to buy or primed for conversion and local audiences who are often ready to buy from local businesses within a day or so of first making contact with them online.
Optimizing your content for transaction search intent involves strategies that encourage fast movement. For example, use action oriented or urgent wording in call-to-actions, and optimizing landing page content with transactional keywords such as “Buy now”, “Purchase” “Act Now” and “Discount Offer”.
Considering that the audience you’re reaching through your search engine results is composed of consumers who are at various stages of the customer journey, it’s important to optimize your content for both information and transactional search intent. Doing this will help you attract new visitors, introduce more leads into your sales funnel and intuitively nurture them along the customer journey.
Optimizing your content strategy for search intent requires an important set of tools and an understanding local SEO and SEM. If you’re ready to see a boost in the performance of your content strategy, we’re the professionals who can help.
At Knowmad we offer a spectrum of digital marketing services for your business, including content marketing and SEO services. We’re waiting to talk with you more about how a content strategy that’s focused on search intent can fuel growth for your business. It’s the perfect time to get started, so contact Knowmad today.
Diona is a managing partner at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.