If you were to head to Google’s search bar right now and start typing “coffee...”, are you looking to buy some coffee? Are you looking for the Starbuck’s website? Or do you want to learn about the history of coffee production? The purpose behind your coffee search query is called the search intent.

There are three common types of search intent: informational, navigational, and transactional. Understanding how to optimize content for each search query type will improve your overall SEO strategy by increasing the relevancy of your website to searchers.

Why is Search Intent Important?

Google has come miles since the days of keyword stuffing being a common tactic to hack the SERP. Search intent is often overlooked as a ranking factor, but Google revolves around trying to figure out the intent of the searcher and provide the most relevant results possible. So, if you want to rank nowadays, your goal should be to provide the most relevant result for the queries you are targeting.

How to Optimize Content for Search Intent Types

Here are the three most common types of search intent explained and how to adjust your strategy for each:

1. Informational:

The searcher is primarily looking for information. This could be as simple as “How is coffee made?” to “Explain the difference between a theory and a law”. Informational searches often produce featured snippets and show up in the “People Also Ask” section. The strategy behind this is to answer questions. Your content should include answers to “How”, “What is” and “How To”. Common content types include informational guides and tutorials that provide relevant information that answers the query.

2. Navigational:

This searcher is looking for a particular brand or website. They know what they are looking for and are likely just taking a short-cut with Google’s search bar instead of typing out the whole address. Some examples are “Forthea marketing”, “Instagram” or “Starbucks”. Although navigational queries can be a challenge to optimize for (due to the searcher already knowing what they are looking for), there are a few ways to enhance your strategy. Ensure that you are meeting your user’s needs by creating concise landing pages, product listings, and demos. Most importantly, be sure to optimize for all spellings and variations of your brand name.

3. Transactional:

In this case, the searcher is seeking to buy something or complete a transaction. They likely already know what product they want but are finding a place to make the purchase. An example of this would be “Buy Nike Pros”, “Spotify Premiumsign-up” or “Order coffee in bulk”. To rank for transactional keywords, use terms like “buy”, “where to buy”, “purchase”, etc. + brand name in your strategy. Optimize the content on your product pages, pricing pages, and sales pages for these transactional terms. Be sure to consider local search patterns and check out what your competitors are doing.

The Bottom Line

Search intent can vary. Some searches can represent more than one type, or change depending on the week. Ultimately though, by focusing on user experience and optimizing for what consumers are looking to obtain, you can increase your chances of ranking in the SERP. Overall, search intent should inform the content that you create and by doing so, you can improve your overall SEO strategy.

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