How to Optimize Content for Search Intent
Optimizing your content for search means you are intentionally trying to know what search engines will look for when ranking content in their search results. In this article, you will find out what search intent is, why it's important, and how to optimize your content.
The purpose of every search engine is to give accurate results to its users without necessarily caring about you or your website. They care more about their users' search experience and mainly display websites that best cover the topic a user searches for at the top of search results.
What is Search Intent?
Search intent, also known as user intent, is the reason a person makes a search query. People search the internet to find answers, purchase items, or learn about something.
Search engines place web pages in their results to satisfy the searcher's intent in the best possible way. So, if you can identify and solve the problems of a searcher when they click on your web page, you can make all the difference in keeping them on your site.
Why is Search Intent Important for SEO?
When you rank high on a search engine like Google or Bing, you will increase your chances of attracting visitors and making more sales.
Google works hard to improve its algorithm to determine people's search intent and will only rank pages that best fit the search intent and term of a searcher. This is why you need to make sure that your page matches the search intent of your audience.
SEO is key, and if you want to convert more customers through SEO, optimizing for search intent has to be a big part of your plan. Some core benefits of search intent for SEO include:
Reduce Bounce Rates
The best way to keep your visitors glued to your site is to offer high-quality content and optimize keywords for the right search or user. If you do these for your website, it will solve the problem of people leaving your pages too early.
The more relevance and user satisfaction your website can build, the higher it will rank in search engines.
Leading social media with over 300% gap, search is the number 1 traffic driver to sites. Google values web pages that meet visitors' needs, and this gives them more reason to rank your site, leading to more traffic.
If you're among the top-ranking results for a user and you provide answers to their queries, they're going to see you as a credible resource and would always come to your page whenever they need insights on any topic in your niche.
Types of Search Intent
Think about this. Once you type in the Google search bar and click the Search button, what are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to shop? Or trying to find out where to take dance classes, or do you need a home remedy for a fever? You know the answer. It’s all dependent on the goal you have in mind.
Using key phrases during searches matters if you're trying to get in front of searchers whose intent is to buy what you're selling. However, to fully understand how search intent works, you need to know the 4 types of search intent.
1. Navigational Searches
Users with the navigational search intent look for specific web pages and don’t know the exact URL of the web page. So, they use the search engine to find the web page. For example, when the search phrase "YouTube" is entered in the Google search bar rather than visiting the official website.
2. Informational Searches
Though not all informational searches are formulated as questions, the user is often looking for information on a specific subject that is non-commercial. For example, news updates and case results are types of informational searches that can be conducted.
3. Commercial Searches
Searches conducted to purchase in the long run qualify as commercial searches. They are not directly transactional but may result in the exchange of money or goods later. Users conducting these kinds of searches are likely weighing their options and looking for reviews on the products. Examples of these searches are:
4. Transactional Searches
Once you're performing this kind of search, you're looking to do business — this type of search results in the exchange of money or goods. For example, buy iPhone X or Facebook Ads coupons. Signing up for or free trial can also pass for a transactional search.
Understanding these four search types and their focuses will also give you a better sense of what keywords to target or try out.
6 Ways to Optimize your Content for Search Intent
Over 60% of marketers don’t optimize content for search intent. Search intent optimization will ensure you stay ahead of the competition and put your content in front of searchers who need solutions or responses to these queries. Here are six smart ways to help achieve that:
1. Select the Right Content Format
Not every individual enjoys content the same way, so the first thing to do when optimizing your content for search is to select the right content format. Once you identify the right content format, it becomes easier for readers to navigate through and share your content, thereby maximizing your reach.
For example, Catania&Catania find the Q&A format effective and engaging so they are using this type to answer the most popular questions and drive more traffic to your site.
2. Map your Content Ideas by Search Intent
Mapping out your content idea enables you to keep all your customer needs organized, making it easier to accomplish those needs. Using a spreadsheet can help keep your work in one place. You can also include infographics, videos, or other content types that customers might like.
3. Use Long-Tail Keywords
Relying on only short-tail or popular keywords is not a good strategy for ranking fast in search engines. Instead, consider using long-tail keywords.
With over 70% of user searches being made using long-tail keywords, you're missing out if you're not targeting them in your content or SEO. Long-tail keywords contain more than 3 words in the search query with low competition and search volume. For example, "sleep apnea in children" is a good example of a long-tail keyword.
Using long-tail keywords in your content will help you attract highly focused traffic to your site. You can come up with one by taking a guess or using tools like AnswerThePublic or SE Ranking.
4. Use Latent Semantic Indexing and Synonyms
Latent Semantic Indexing or LSI allows search engines to give quality web page content the credit they deserve. This means by including similar phrases in your page's content, you give the search engines a better understanding of your page, company, and services.
For instance, if a page is about "shoemaking" and optimized for that term, there may be other words such as sole, boots, Dongola, buckle, heel, pad, lace, etc that are similar and could be ranked for. With LSI, Google finds it easier to associate similar terms related to a specific topic.
5. Optimize Meta Descriptions and Title Tags
Meta tags are those invisible lines of codes that describe the pages or content of a website. When someone searches for content and your site pops, the meta description is the first thing they will see.
Ensure your meta description and title tags are always optimized and they do not have to be lengthy to achieve that. You can write something short and catchy to drive people to click your page and take the action you want. It also helps search engines categorize your page while serving as an essential part of your on-page SEO efforts.
6. Use Structured Data
Using structured data will help to prove to search engine spiders that your data is relevant and then optimize your content for search. Structured data gives search engine spiders data when crawling your site to enable it to generate informative snippets for searchers.
Most structured data searches use schema.org that helps make all copies and properties suitable for an appearance in Google search while reassuring that the data is what it claims to be. Therefore they can confidently display it in rich formats on the web.
With proper optimization for search intent, you are going to achieve long-term results. Search engines show results according to a user’s search intent. If you want your website to rank on search engines, aligning your goals and your visitor’s needs with search intent in mind should be your best-kept secret.