Lesson 2: Align Your Content with Search Intent

Search Intent

Google is like a helpful friend. You ask for a referral to someone that can help you solve a particular problem or answer a question, and Google will do their best to match your intent with their answer.

If they did anything differently, you’d stop asking them for help, right?

For a long time, Google has done a pretty good job referring their users to good search results, but they aim to get better with every algorithm change.

One aspect of their algorithm that they’re constantly improving is understanding the person’s intent running a Google search.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent (also called “user intent”) is the reason behind every Google search. The user has an intent, and Google wants to give them a search engine results page that matches their intent,

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Understanding and satisfying search intent is Google’s top priority. Pages that rank on the first page of Google have largely passed Google’s litmus test on search intent. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but if you want to rank well on Google — you have to get this right.

For instance, take a look at the search results for “how to make cheesecake.”

Search Intent

The top search results are blog posts, recipes, or videos, not e-commerce pages selling cheesecake. Google understands that people running this specific search are looking to learn, not to buy. 

On the other hand, top search results for a query like “buy cheesecake” are e-commerce pages. Because in this case, Google understands that people are in buy mode. Therefore, the top results don’t include links to oatmeal cookie recipes.

Search Intent

For that reason, if you would like to rank your pages on page 1 of Google in 2021, you need to understand the concept of search intent and create content that aligns with user intent. 

There are four common types of search intent:

Informational

A search falls under informational intent when the Google user looks for specific information. It can be a simple search like “what’s the weather today?” that provides instant results or something complex like “best living trust strategies” that requires a more in-depth explanation. 

Navigational

In this case, the searcher is looking for a specific website or app. Common examples of navigational searches include “Google login,” “White Peak Marketing,” and “Facebook.”

Commercial

The intent behind the search is commercial when the user is looking for a specific product or service but hasn’t decided what to buy or who to buy it from yet. For example, searches such as “SEO companies” and “best 4K TVs” are commercial searches. 

Transactional

Here, the intent is to buy. The searcher has already decided to buy a specific product or tool. Examples include searches such as “buy Roku,” “buy Windows laptop,” and “buy groceries online.”

Tools like SEMrush actually identify search intent for you to help you take out the guesswork for you.

Search Intent

An SEO best practice is always to keep the search intent in mind while creating content for your website.

For instance, if you would like to rank for the keywords “best 4K TVs,” you need to realize that the search intent here is commercial, not transactional. The user is still undecided on which 4K TV brand to choose.

There is no point in optimizing your 4K TV product page on your website for “best 4K TVs.” Google understands what users want when the search query is “best 4K TVs.” They are looking for options. They are looking for a blog post or video which lists the best 4K TVs with details about those products, not product pages or e-commerce pages.

Bottom line: Create content that aligns with the search intent of your target audience.

Key takeaways

— Your desire to rank your product or service page doesn’t trump the searchers’ intent. If the searchers’ intent is to find informational content, stop trying to optimize commercial and transactional pages! You’re wasting your time!

— Create page content that aligns the search intent.

— Consider trying SEOrush to conduct next-level keyword research so that you know the search intent of a given keyword.

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