If you are sitting on stellar content but find that you’re not ranking for your target keywords, you might be following outdated SEO strategies. Many of the clients that come to us struggle to understand what users really want to get out of a particular web search. That was what sparked the idea for today’s blog post on keywords and search intent. Continue reading to find out how to strategically make your way to the top of search engine results pages (SERP) by optimising your content for search intent.
SEO Fundamentals: Organic Search Results
According to Google, an organic search result is a “free listing in Google Search that appears because it's relevant to someone's search terms”. In other words, an organic search is fuelled by a user’s search query. But a search engine algorithm evaluates hundreds of factors to determine a page’s ranking in search results. Whilst it’s true that organic result listings are largely based on a page’s relevance to the user’s query, they’re also affected by its domain authority, containing backlinks, keywords and the overall user-friendliness of the website - amongst many other relevant signals.For contrast, let’s take a look at what isn’t an organic search engine result:
- Search results that are paid advertisements
- Any ads above organic results contained in an “Ad” box
- Ads to the right of organic results with an “Ads” box above them
Why Are Search Engine Rankings Important?Compared to Facebook and YouTube, Google is by far the biggest driver of organic traffic. According to Search Engine Watch, the first organic position on page one of SERP gets 33 per cent traffic. The first page in its entirety gathers 92 per cent of all traffic from a search. It might only take a single, high-ranking blog post to boost your website traffic to never before seen heights. Everybody knows it’s a big deal, so everybody works hard to make it to magical #1. But with thousands of websites publishing millions of blog pieces every day, how do you win prime search engine real estate?
The Benefits of Search Engine Optimisation
As the name gives away, search engine optimisation is the practice of optimising websites for greater visibility in search engine results. As we’ve mentioned before, greater visibility directly relates to more traffic. For example, if we look at the keyword “best way to increase organic traffic” in SEMrush, we see that top-ranking pages are getting the most organic traffic.
SEO is an ongoing process that makes use of a variety of means, including:
- On-page SEO
- Keyword research
- Link building
- Technical SEO
- Off-page SEO
This is a job for search engine optimisation professionals who know exactly what makes search engines tick and specialise in organically boosting the signals that rank a website higher in SERP. A good SEO (as we call them) will understand what makes users tick and what they want out of a search instead of focusing their entire marketing strategy on keywords or backlinking alone. This is what we refer to as “search intent”.
Search Intent - How to Gain More Clicks & Pageviews
“Search intent” is the big ‘why’ behind a user’s query. What are they trying to find or discover when they hit “search”? For example, someone might be searching for the term “search engine marketing” with the search intent to find an SEO service provider in their area. The following person might also be looking up “search engine marketing” but expect to be presented with a definition of the terminology.
Types of Search Intent
- Informational Searches
The most common search intent involves people looking for answers to their everyday questions and problems. This includes users looking for definitions, locations, how-to guides and recipes. Informational searches often include phrases like “how to” and “why”. Examples include:
- How to cook spaghetti
- What does an SEO do
- Barack Obama
- Directions to Noosa
- Navigational Searches
Navigational searches include all queries of people looking for a specific brand, website or page. Instead of typing the URL into the search bar and going straight to a page, they might just type the brand name or action they want to take on a particular website. You may have done this yourself when you looked up “Facebook login” or “pay bill online”.
- Commercial Searches
Have you ever looked up a product online to compare prices and features amongst different brands? This is what we call a “commercial search”. You’re now past the informational stage and almost ready to buy but haven't narrowed down the search to make a final decision just yet. You still weigh up your options with search queries that look somewhat like this:
- Calile hotel reviews
- Nike air force vs. Nike air max
- Best movie streaming sites
- Top Italian restaurant in Brisbane
- Transactional Searches
When you’re all informed, have compared products and are now ready to buy, you undertake what we call a “transactional search”. You might simply type the product or brand name, which is an excellent indicator that you’re ready to act on your choice.
Why Does Search Intent Matter in SEO?
Google’s primary goal is to satisfy search intent. That means if you’re looking up “how to undertake keyword research”, you’re not presented with a slew of keyword research tools - although it would be a closely related search. This is important because when search results don’t match the intent, people will either keep scrolling or undertake a new search without even clicking on the displayed links. For you as a website owner, that means to boost your SERP ranking significantly, you need to ensure your website answers and relates precisely to what users are searching for. So before you go off to write a new blog post or redo your web copy, ask yourself the following questions:
What are users trying to achieve with their search queries?
- Do they want to buy something?
- Do they want more information about a product or service?
- Are they looking for general information and understanding?
- Are they looking for a particular brand or website?
The Difference Between Search Terms And Keywords
A search term is a word or sentence a user enters when searching on Google.com. Ultimately, it is how people come to a website through Google Search. On the other hand, a keyword is how a website lets Google know that it has the answers to a search query. One is coming from the searcher seeking a solution and the other from the site to provide the solution. When a search term and keyword match, the user is more likely to see and click on a search result. Here’s an example:Search terms like theseMatch keywords like this
- What are good indoor plants
- Best indoor plant species
- Easiest indoor plants to keep alive
- Best indoor plants for health
- Indoor plants
- House plants
- Google is the biggest driver of organic traffic, and real estate on SERP is highly competitive.
- Search engine optimisation is the enhancement of websites for greater visibility in search engine results.
- Organic search is fuelled by a user’s search query. Consider search intent first, then choose the matching keywords to target.
- Understand the users’ search intent before creating content and optimising your site.
- Hire good SEO for guaranteed results. If you don’t want to wait months to know if your hard work is paying off, get the SEO experts from Anchor Digital to lend you a hand.