Google’s Keyword Planner is the most popular keyword research tool — paid or free — on the market. While Keyword Planner provides a wealth of metrics, including average monthly search volume, suggested PPC bids and competition levels, it isn’t helpful in determining what people are actually looking for when they enter a search term into Google’s search engine.
“What people are actually searching for…” can be simplified as ‘searcher intent’ (or search intent) in digital marketing terms, and comprehensively understanding this intent and selecting keywords accordingly is at the heart of a successful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy.
What is searcher intent?
Searcher intent is the reason why someone searches for something using a search engine like Google, Yahoo! or Bing. Naturally, Google is the most advanced of the major search engines and it’s become extremely effective at determining the search intent of its users, and showing search results based on the search intent of their specific search queries. Google, therefore, shows search results based on the pages that best fit the search term, as well as the search intent of that specific search query.
As a searcher, understanding search intent enables you to streamline your searches and find — in a highly efficient manner — what you’re looking for in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). As an SEO agency, it helps us select the right keywords with which to drive organic traffic to a specific page (based on the purpose of the information it contains) as part of a broader content and SEO strategy. This is what good keyword research is all about — identifying the best keywords and phrases searchers are using to find the products or services your business provides, and matching those keywords and phrases to the right landing pages on your site.
The search volume of a keyword is important, after all, there’s little point in optimising a web page with search terms that no one is searching for, but the intent of the term is what’s really important here. If a search term doesn’t relate to your business and it doesn’t meet the needs of the audience you’re targeting as part of your digital marketing campaign, there’s no point in optimising any page on your website with that term.
When dedicating resources to SEO — financial, human or otherwise — this is an incredibly important consideration, as it ensures the best results for the effort and energy expended in optimising a page to appear in SERPs. As a Brisbane SEO agency, focusing on search intent as part of the SEO strategy ensures our clients get maximum ROI for their SEO investment.
The 3 Search Query Intent Types
When you understand the 3 search query intent types, you’re better able to conduct keyword research and identify the search terms which best fit the search intent of your audience in relation to your products and services.
Transactional (Commercial) — The searcher is looking to buy something, perhaps not right away (they may request information or download something) but the ultimate goal is likely to be a purchase.
- Place in Do-Know-Go framework — Do
- Example search terms — buy, discount, sale, offer…
Informational — The searcher is looking for information on a specific subject.
- Place in Do-Know-Go framework — Know
- Example search terms — who, what, where, why, when, how…
Navigational — With this type of search, the user is looking for a specific website. They could enter the website URL directly into the browser or enter the name and click on a SERP result.
- Place in Do-Know-Go framework — Go
- Example search terms — google.com, Google, Google Keyword Planner…
If someone searches for a term that starts with ‘best way to…’, chances are they’re looking for information on a particular subject. However, if they search for a term like ‘where to buy…’, there’s a very strong chance that they’re looking to buy something. Most search queries let you know immediately what the searcher is looking for — and what their intent is — while others may require further investigation.
Leveraging Searcher Intent to Boost SEO Rankings
Does the landing page you’re trying to drive traffic to match the search intent of your target audience? This is the first step to leveraging searcher intent to boost your keyword rankings — before you’ve even selected keywords to optimise the page with.
For example, what’s the intention of the page — is it a product page or an information page? If it’s a product page, optimising the content with commercially-driven words that explicitly denote buyer intent, such as ‘buy’ and ‘offer’, help that page to be found by people at the bottom of the sales funnel (BoFu) who are looking to buy a product. However, if it’s an information page intended to increase knowledge, then optimising the content with keywords such as ‘how to…’ and ‘best way to..’ helps people at the top or middle of the sales funnel (ToFu and MoFu) find the relevant information they’re looking for. And hopefully, make their way to the BoFu stage!
Bear in mind that it isn’t enough for your optimised content to match the search intent of your target audience — it must fit both the target audience’s search intent as well as the terms that they’re searching for. This can be tricky at times, but it is achievable, and it’s only going to become more important as voice search increasingly becomes the go-to search medium.
Looking to maximise returns on your digital marketing investment with a targeted SEO campaign strategy that puts your landing pages in front of searchers who are actually looking for the products and services your business offers? Leading Brisbane SEO agency, Bambrick Media, has you covered. Contact us here.