As Google’s algorithm becomes increasingly sophisticated, consumers aren’t afraid to ask complicated questions, especially with the growth of voice search. People trust Google to return quality search results, which is why it’s the go-to search engine for consumers and brands alike.

Keyword optimization is still important, but optimizing content for user intent is how today’s savvy content marketers are winning online.

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What is Searcher Intent?

Searcher intent – or user intent – is the reason why someone is searching for something in a search engine. They have a question, want to buy something, or they’re searching for a specific website.

Google is better than ever at determining search intent, awarding higher rankings to pages that best answer a query. This is why you should optimize content for search engines and conversions.

There are three primary types of queries that define search intent:

  • Informational. The searcher has a broad question: What are the health benefits of yoga?
  • Transactional. The searcher is looking for a specific product or service: Buy Tesla yoga pants.
  • Navigational. The search includes a brand name or company website: Blooming Lotus Yoga School.

Transactional search intent can also be split into two secondary categories:

  • Commercial. The searcher is in the early research phase of shopping: Online reviews for yoga pants.
  • Local. The searcher is looking for local services or products: Yoga pants in Vancouver.


How to Optimize Content for Informational Search Intent

Around 80 percent of search queries have informational search intent, so even though you may be giving away “free” information, this type of content should be the backbone of your content strategy.

Targeting users in the early stage of the sales cycle are crucial for driving website traffic and increasing inbound links. These links will strengthen your website authority, increasing your rankings for transactional and navigational search terms.

  • Put the user first. Answer questions about every aspect of your business.
  • Use analytics to discover what people are searching for before they arrive on each web page.
  • Tweak your top landing pages to match search queries.
  • Link to case studies and statistics to build trust.
  • Produce a blog series that explains a topic in more detail.
  • Include informational language in title tags and meta descriptions such as “How to,” and “What are.”
  • Create a how-to video that is relevant to your business.

Providing comprehensive informational content means consumers are more likely to remember your brand when they’re ready to buy.

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How to Optimize Content for Transactional Search Intent

Optimizing pages for transactional search terms should attract more ready-to-buy prospects. These pages are closely linked to sales and key to maximizing your content marketing ROI.

  • Provide all the information required for users to make a purchase decision.
  • Use purchase-driven language.
  • Include clear links to purchase pages.
  • Use prominent calls-to-action.
  • Optimize title tags and meta descriptions using language such as “Buy,” “Discount,” and “Best offers.”
  • Consider pay-per-click campaigns. One study suggests that twice the number of people click on paid results over organic results for queries with high commercial intent.


How to Optimize Content for Navigational Search Intent

Navigational searches include a specific website, brand, or business name. This is why it’s so important to build your online presence across various online channels with content that addresses informational and transactional search intent. Consumers become familiar with your brand.

  • List your business on all the major online business directories such as Yelp and Yellow Pages.
  • Claim your Google My Business page.
  • Optimize your social media profiles by including your business name, description, and a link to your website.
  • Include your company name on product pages.
  • Encourage team members to update their social profiles with company details and website links.


How to Optimize Content for Local Search Intent

While search engines personalize results pages according to a user’s location, they still need to know where your business is located.

  • Ensure your business name, address, and location are present and consistent on every page of your site.
  • Include your location in your homepage’s title tag.
  • Create a dedicated landing page for your location that includes your city or state within the URL.
  • Create a page that lists each business location with a link to Google Maps.
  • Register your company’s Google My Business page.
  • Link to other complimentary local businesses, government sites, news sources, and local organizations.
  • Create more content that revolves around local issues and news.


Tools to Identify Searcher Intent

Keyword research is critical in identifying valuable search terms, whatever the corresponding user intent is. To discover commonly asked questions and search terms for a given subject, try the following tools:

  • Google’s Keyword Planner
  • Moz’s Keyword Explorer
  • SEMrush
  • Buzzsumo
  • Ahrefs
  • MarketMuse
  • HitTail


Adapt Content to Searcher Intent

Intent-based optimization is the new challenge for content marketers who want to maximize their content marketing ROI.

Get to know your target market. Address their needs at every point in the purchase journey. Earn their trust. Prove your relevance with informational and transactional content. When you combine these strategies, you’ll be in a great position to increase organic traffic and also your conversion rates.

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