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How People Search: Ultimate Guide for Search Intent

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When you think of search engine optimization (SEO), you automatically think of keywords. Having the right keywords on your website is one of the main ways for search engines and visitors to find you.

However, SEO has expanded to more than keywords. If you want to rank high in search, you need to develop content that embraces Search Intent.

What Exactly Is Search Intent?


The best way to describe search intent is that it is the “Why” behind what someone types into the search box. Did the person typing in the box need information? Are they looking to make a purchase? Are they trying to find a specific site that they can only partially remember? These are the questions answered by search intent.

Search intent is very important to the major search engines. Sites like Google are striving to provide the most relevant information when a search is conducted. To do this, they need to understand search intent.

If you want your webpage to rank high in search, you will have to adjust your content to reflect search intent that coincides with the purpose of your webpage.

Four Types of Search Intent


Search intent is divided into four categories:

  • Informational
  • Transactional
  • Commercial Research
  • Navigational

Informational Search


Informational searches are usually multiple word searches like “When is the next rocket launching?” or “Who invented light bulbs?” They can also be single word searches as well, such as “polymer.” Informational searches do not have to be typed in as questions.

Transactional Searches


When conducting a transactional search, the person already knows what they want to buy; they just want to know where to make the purchase. Common search phrases may include “Wedding Invitations” or “coupons for ‘product name.’”

Commercial Research


A person who is searching for information about a product or service but has not made their final decision may conduct the following types of searches: “Best tennis racket” or “Top five protein powders.” These searchers want more information before deciding to purchase or use a product.

Directional Search


Sometimes it is just easier to search for a website by keying in the name of the company. Directional searches usually only contain one word or phrase like “eBay” or “American Airlines.”

3 Steps To Optimize Your Site For Search Intent


Optimizing your site for search intent is not as hard as it may seem. There are three steps that you can follow that will help you change your content to meet this requirement.

  • Explore Your Keywords
  • Align Your Content With Intent
  • Look At “People Also Ask” Box On Search Engine

Explore Your Keywords


It is very important to understand that keywords are fluctuating and that one strong word this month may not be good two months from now. It is very important that you continually look at your main keywords and make sure that they have remained relevant.

If your keywords have become irrelevant, it is time to update your content with new keywords. Create some new posts, update current pages, or add additional pages with the new relevant keywords so that you can anticipate what people are looking for when they seek your product or service.

Align Your Content With Search Intent


Different types of searches produce different types of information. For example, some searches will pull up all videos when the search is conducted. Other searches may pull up all review sites. To make sure that your site ranks high in search, you will need to research what types of sites are listed first in the search for your main keywords.

If you conduct a search and all the top-ranking sites come up as product reviews, it would be in your best interest to design content that acts as a review of a product or service.

The next thing that you should do when researching the top sites with your keyword is to see what types of content they contain on their site. Are they all product descriptions? Do they just have blog posts? Are there charts and videos that enhance the written content? All of this is important information that you should try to incorporate into your site.

The final thing that you should do is make sure that your content has an angle. For example, if you have a content page that contains recipes for cherry pie, you will want to make sure that the content is titled something like: “best cherry pie” or “Southern cherry pie.” Having specifics in your titles will make a difference in search intent.

“People Also Ask”

Google has a feature that shows other questions that people ask. This is a feature that anticipates what other people may search for under the same topic or may have previously searched for to reach that page.

When you see these commonly asked questions, you can start to anticipate the intent of the people searching for that keyword. When you know what to anticipate, you can fill that need with your content, allowing you to rank higher in search because you offer a more “complete experience: for the person conducting the search.

Don’t Forget To Visit Other Top Ranking Sites


The best way to stay on top of search intent is to visit and review the other top-ranking sites. Research is your best friend when it comes to search engine optimization, and it should be conducted at least every other month.

The Internet is endless, and the amount of available information is too vast to even count. Search engines continue to develop ways to get the most reliable information to their users, which means that SEO practices also continue to change.

In the end, if you are concerned about creating content that responds to search intent, think about how you use a search engine personally. Think of the searches you conduct and what responses you anticipate after you click “search.” Use that knowledge to try to create content for your site that would fill that need for your visitors. This can be your guideline as you conduct the research for keywords and content styles for your site.

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