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Searcher Intent and why is it important for SEO? - Insights
Searcher intent

Searcher Intent and why is it important for SEO?

Regular Google algorithm updates, search innovations – for example, voice search – and evolving user behaviour ensures SEOers are kept on their toes. SEO requires strategies to be adapted when needed, as well as ongoing learning to ensure you are up-to-date with the latest changes. However, it is important that you don’t forget about the fundamental principles.

When you come up with a list of keywords and phrases you would like to target for SEO, it is important to understand the intent behind them. You should always ask yourself:

  1. Should your page rank there?
  2. What will the rankings achieve?

These questions focus on understanding the searcher intent which is the basis of a successful SEO strategy.

Types of Searcher Intent

Searcher intent is understanding why a user is searching a query and what they are hoping to attain. There are four categories that searcher intent can be segmented into:

  • Informational
  • Navigational
  • Commercial
  • Transactional

Informational Intent

Informational intent is searchers looking to learn information about something. This type of search is the most common and have the largest search volumes. It became so popular that Google was added to the Oxford Dictionary as a verb in 2006. Informational searches are at the top at the marketing funnel where searchers are less likely to convert to customers. They want answers quickly and clearly and the search results associated with these searches will reflect that.

Navigational Intent

Navigational intent is searches needing help to navigate to the company or brand they are looking for. These queries will often include brand names or specific products or services. The search results pages will typically feature homepages or the specific product or service that the searcher is looking for.

Commercial Intent

Commercial intent is a mix of informational and transactional searches. These searchers are looking to make a purchase but would like information to help them make their decision. The results page usually have a mix of informational pages and product or service pages.

Transactional Intent

Transactional intent is searches specifically looking to make a purchase. These searches usually include words such as price or sale. You will find the SERPs for this type of searches to mainly include commercial pages.

Should your page rank there?

Now you understand the different types of intent, you need to optimise your pages for them before you can optimise your pages for your keywords and phrases. The best place to start is by looking at the results pages and seeing what pages are appearing. If you are looking to rank a product page and the results pages show your competitors’ product pages, you know that by optimising your page, you have an opportunity to rank highly.

Google wants to make searchers’ lives easier by showing pages that answer searcher intent. This research will help with your content creation strategy. If you don’t have a page similar to the pages that are ranking for a specific query, you will have to create a similar one on your website to have a chance of ranking highly. You can also find opportunities where a query has not been answered and you can optimise one of your current pages or create a new one to quickly compete for a high ranking.

What will the rankings achieve?

It is important to know what you are hoping to achieve from ranking for your chosen keywords and phrases. When setting expectations and KPIs, you need to consider intent.

To ensure all your potential customers are able to find you, it is important to have a balanced SEO strategy rather than just focusing on converting all traffic. Searchers are more likely to click on your link if they have heard of your company or brand, with brand recognition impacting CTR by +2-3x. When choosing your keywords and phrases, you should ask yourself what the rankings will achieve for your business and how they align with your marketing goals.

Need help with your SEO strategy?

If you would like to learn more about searcher intent and creating your SEO strategy, get in touch with one of our digital experts today.

Written by: Thomas Coughlan
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