Search engine optimization (SEO) aims to boost a website’s search ranking by using a variety of strategies. User intent is one of the components used to successfully optimize search rankings. It refers to the process of identifying the purpose of a user’s search—essentially, what information they are looking for.
Users could be looking up a fact, product information, or virtually anything else.
Why is user intent such a big deal, especially in terms of rankings and conversion rates? Because when you understand a user’s search intentions, you are able to provide them with the information they are looking for.
Kind of like magic.
The Three Types
Although there are many different ways of classifying and categorizing types of user intent, these three categories are the most widely used:
- Informational Searches
This refers to a search for a broad topic where there are many different results. Think about searching for a country, or widely-used item, such as a car. When you search “car”, you get a variety of information. This includes cars that are for sale, the history of the car, its definition, and related products and services. When users search this, they aren’t looking for a specific piece of information, but rather want the answer to a question or learn something new.
Informational queries are one of the hardest search queries to target. The best way to target informational searches is by generating leads through organic search. This includes blog posts, how-to videos, instructional guides, or infographics. In doing so, you show your authority on subject matters related to your business. Customers will acknowledge that you’re an expert in your field and be naturally compelled to check out your products and services.
- Navigational Searches
A navigational search is classified by users intending to find a specific webpage. An example of this would be searching “BlueHat Marketing” into your search bar. In doing this, you’re looking for our digital marketing agency specifically and not general information regarding the digital marketing field.
For navigational searches, you want to make sure that you rank first for organic search and may also want to consider purchasing AdWords with PPC.
- Transactional Searches
These searches are conducted with the aim of making a purchase. Sometimes they’re specific and use a brand name, while other times users will just search a product category. Users completing a transactional search are in the final steps of the buying decision process, so it’s your job to make them convert. A great way to do this is by integrating several call-to-actions (CTAs).
Transactional search queries provide the highest ROI, as customers are already looking to purchase a good or service. Using organic search in content and product pages in addition to local SEO strategies ensures you attain a high search ranking. PPC is also effective in targeting searches to boost visibility with your main audience.
It’s important to understand the user search intent categories and how they apply to specific keywords for your business. When you understand what a user is looking for and provide them with the information they are seeking, you’re much more likely to convert them into customers.