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How to Identify Search Intent in Organic Results

 

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Going after keywords with the highest search volumes can't give good ranking results if you don't have search intent in mind. This is the crucial thing that is often overlooked when creating content. Although companies understand the importance of search engine optimization and getting their website to rank well, they often completely forget about the searcher. This practice leads to ranking for the wrong keywords that are not relevant to the niche. It creates a mismatch between the company's website content and the searcher's intent. In order to avoid it, it is vital to understand and identify search intent before starting any content production.

This article is going to help you achieve this and step up your game. Keep reading to learn about the search intent, its importance, and how to identify it with ease.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent (also known as keyword intent and user intent) is the primary goal a person has when typing a query into a search engine. It is the reason behind a search query. It is essential to point out that people don't just type random keywords. The keywords they use are the ones that relate to their current interests and needs. Thus, it is possible to tell exactly what the user needs and wants at that moment, just from the search intent.

Why it is important to understand and identify search intent?

Google's number one goal is satisfying user intent. Therefore, if your goal is to succeed in search engine marketing, you need to identify search intent and create your content around it for better results. The math is simple - the more you match your content with specific user intent, the more users you can reach, and the better ranking you will get. 

Identifying search intent in organic results

Knowing the user's intent and producing content around it is among the best writing strategies for creating quality content. Although this seems simple, figuring out what users need when they use specific queries can be challenging. You will better understand this if we look at an example and try to identify search intent. 

A person has typed “wall painting” into Google’s search bar. Is this person looking for:

  • Companies that offer wall painting services;

  • Design ideas for painting a wall;

  • A wall paint;

  • A painting they can hang on a wall?

As you can see, all four options can be the right answer. But don't worry; there are ways of identifying the meaning and intent behind search queries. To do so, we first need to go through the types of user intent. 

Types of search intent

Even though there are endless search terms, we can place them all in four categories. Keep in mind that some search terms can be placed in more than one category. The four types of user intent are:

  1. Informational

  2. Commercial

  3. Transactional

  4. Navigational

Informational

Informational search intent comes from users who are looking for information. They might look for a how-to article, a definition, or some other information. 

Examples:

Commercial

These are the searches performed by users who are investigating the market and are not yet ready to make a purchase. They want to research or compare products, brands, or services. 

Examples:

  • Best MacBook

  • Apple vs. Samsung

  • Starbucks reviews

Transactional

Transactional search intent comes from a user who is ready to make a purchase. In most cases, they already know what they are going to buy. 

Examples:

  • Buy iPhone 11

  • Shop Armani bags

  • Converse sneakers sale

Navigational

These are quick searches from users who want to navigate to a specific website. In most cases, it is simpler and faster to type the name of the company in Google than to type the entire URL.

Examples:

  • Facebook login

  • Twitter sign up

  • MEX SEO

Research the SERPs to identify search intent

It would help if you put yourself in the position of the searcher. That's why you should perform varied searches. Enter a query, look at the results, and enter a modified query in the next search. Add prefixes or suffixes and see how the results change after every search. These simple modifications can give a lot of useful information. Just based on these results, you will likely be able to tell how Google "thinks" and ranks pages.

Use Intent modifiers

Intent modifiers can also be of great use when it comes to determining user intent. These are the words that imply intent. For example, adding the word "best" next to a search term suggests that the user wants to compare different products. 

Therefore, this immediately becomes a commercial search intent. On the other hand, adding the word "buy" next to a search term implies that the user wants to purchase a specific product, so this immediately becomes a transactional search intent. Play with words and see how the search results are changing.

Analyze top results

While you analyze search results, make sure to ignore ads - you should only look at pages. Even if the user intent is obvious, you will still want to investigate top-rated pages. Take a look at their meta description and title. In addition, you should compare the top three results and try to figure out why they are ranking higher than the others. This is a critical step because it can tell you how you can optimize your site accordingly. No wonder many experts claim that researching SERPs and analyzing top-rated pages is an essential part of SEO techniques for 2020.

Once you master user intent, you will be ready for the next step - using this knowledge as best as you can. Think about how you can optimize the content on your website. Before producing it, perform both keyword and intent research. Look at the full picture and think like the user. Start creating content with search intent in mind, and you will start seeing the first results in next to no time.



Author Biography:

Bill Robertson is an SEO expert with more than 7 years of experience in this field. Currently, he and the rest of the Link Department crew are helping companies make a strong impact and grow their brands. When he’s not working, Bill likes to spend time outside or read a good book.

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