Visitors driven by your SEO strategy are highly valuable for your business, with a 61% better cost per lead than outbound marketing methods.
These users are already searching for your product or service. The only thing holding you back from sales is getting front and center from your competitors.
So how can you “turn on the faucet” with your SEO strategy?
One of the most effective SEO techniques is to optimize your content for user intent.
That might sound like a mouthful, so let’s talk about user intent. What is it, why is it so important, and how can you leverage it on your website to generate more visitors, leads and customers from organic traffic?
Let’s start by clearing up the first part of the question: what user intent is and why it matters.
What Is User Intent?
Imagine you’re walking down the street on a hot summer day. You stroll past a kid sitting at a table with a sign that says: Lemonade - $1.
You hand the kid a dollar and ask for a lemonade. Then the kid says:
“Sorry, I’m not actually selling lemonade. But I can tell you how to make it, what it tastes like, and even the nutrition facts.”
Sure, this scenario is far-fetched. Yet thousands and thousands of websites make this mistake every day.
Your user intent is the goal that you want to achieve when you search for something online.
For example, if you type “Amazon login” into Google, your user intent is probably to log in to Amazon.
And if you type in “best jeans summer 2018”, you’re probably looking for a pair of white skinny jeans (free fashion advice on us).
3 Kinds of Search Intents
There are 3 basic intents users have when they search for something online. Just about every online search falls into one of these main categories:
1. Navigational Searches
A navigational search is when you’re trying to find a particular page online. With this kind of search, you already know exactly what you’re looking for — you’re just using Google to help you find it a little faster.
- Chase bank login
2. Informational Searches
An informational search is when you’re looking for specific information. Informational searches can cover a huge range of topics and make up 80% of online searches.
- Weekly weather forecast
- Chicken marsala recipe
- How to change a tire
- If white jeans are a good decision
3. Transactional Searches
A transactional search is when you’re already planning on making an onlilne purchase. These are the types of searches business love.
- Samsung 55 hdtv
- Harry Potter book 2
- Laptops on sale
- Affordable white jeans
Why Is User Intent So Important?
Think about the lemonade stand example. When you walk up to the lemonade stand, your intent is transactional. You want to buy a glass of lemonade.
But the experience you received was informational. Instead of receiving the opportunity to buy a glass of lemonade, the kid gave you information about lemonade instead.
When your experience on a website doesn’t match up with your intent, what do you do?
That is why user intent is so important to search engines like Google, whose entire business depends on giving searchers the best possible user experience. And that’s why Google is rewarding the websites that are giving people what they actually want:
If your website gives people what they’re looking for — if the experience on your page matches user intent — then Google will reward you with better organic rankings.
How to Determine User Intent
Knowing how to determine your site’s user intent boils down to knowing what your user’s intent is.
You can figure out the user intent for just about any keyword using these 2 methods:
- Common sense. Think about the keyword in question. If you were searching for “Pittsburgh plumber,” what would you be looking for? In many cases, the answer is pretty self-evident.
- Research. If you still aren’t sure what the user intent is for a given keyword, just go to Google and search it. The results will give you an idea of what Google thinks the user intent is.
If you see shopping results above the fold, that’s a good sign Google thinks you want to buy something:
If you see information instead (like a definition), Google thinks you’re looking for the answer to a question:
Follow these 2 steps to get an idea of what people are really looking for when they search for your keywords in Google. Once you have a better understanding of your visitors’ user intent, the next step is to make sure your website gives people what they want.
How to Optimize for User Intent
Now that you have a better idea of what your user’s goal is, here are a few ways you can help them achieve that goal on your website.
Focus on value
When looking at the content on your web pages, think about what the use is looking for, then ask yourself:
What can I do to make this page more valuable for that person?
Let that question be your guiding light. Anytime you’re unsure about what to do, just think about what’s going to be the most helpful for your user. Remember that in the end, Google rewards the websites that provide the most value with higher organic ranking.
Conduct user testing to see your website with fresh eyes.
You’re way more familiar with your website than your users. As a result, it can be hard to see your website objectively (the way a new visitor will).
A web page might be confusing to your visitors, but may seem perfectly clear to you. Some user experience experts call this “the curse of knowledge.”
You might think your product page has everything the user needs to make a purchase. But maybe there’s no easy way to change the product quantity, or customize their order, or browse through related products.
One way to get a more objective look at your website is to conduct user testing.
User testing is a type of online evaluation where people browse through your website to accomplish certain goals that you give them.
The visitor’s session is recorded, and they provide verbal & written feedback to help you understand where they’re getting stuck or confused.
It’s a great way to help optimize your content for those user intent “blind spots.”
Target transactional terms
If you sell TVs, your highest-value keywords are going to be those that indicate an intention to buy a TV. These keywords could include:
- Panasonic EZ1000 (or any brand name/model number)
- HDTV sales
- Free shipping TV
This doesn’t mean you should target only transactional searches. You can get a lot of benefit from creating informational content (like “what is 4k resolution”), but you should make sure you’re targeting high-value, end-of-funnel transactional keywords.
They’re the searches that are most likely to result in a purchase.
Ask Us for Help
Optimizing your website for user intent is not always easy. It’s a multi-disciplinary task that requires a collaborative effort between multiple different channels. Your SEO, content marketing, paid traffic, and even your website design all play a role in giving your visitors the experience they’re looking for.
This is partly why so many small & medium businesses struggle with SEO.
Here a BKMedia Group, we’re experts in optimizing the critical elements of your website to speak to the needs of your most valuable users. Read how we grew one client’s organic website traffic by 384%.
Just contact us for a free strategy session, and we’ll discuss how we can help you meet your business goals with better SEO and smarter digital marketing.