Do you know how many people use Google every day to perform a search?
A few thousands? Or a million maybe?
Well, the number is way more than this. According to www.smartinsights.com every day, more than four billion use Google to search for their queries. It signifies that there are four billion people on average with a need every day. The businesses that successfully reach these people and can fulfil their needs are successful ones.
However, now the question is, do you understand what a user’s need is? It’s not just about what product or service you are offering. Instead, it’s about identifying what the user’s need is and are you able to provide a solution for that need?
Think about times when you need some financial assistance such as tax consolation. What’s the first thing you do? In this era of technology and internet, you will most probably turn to the internet to find about the best financial advisors near you and then make a decision. Obviously, there will be hundreds of financial advisors and accounting specialists in your country, city or area. However, your search engine will bring to front only those whose SEO matches with your query.
To put it simply, to attract clients to your brand, you must understand what they actually want. In other words, what their intent is. Let’s understand it with an example. Suppose you are a financial advisor or accounting specialist. You provide a different kind of services such as investment management, estate planning, tax planning and so forth. You operate in a specific area. However, while optimising your website, you didn’t add the keywords related to the individual services you provide keeping in my mind the user intent, or you didn’t optimise your Location/Contact Us page at all. Do you think Google will rank your website on its first page? Obviously not. Users are not SEO specialists. They don’t search keeping in view the specific keywords. They type whatever they have in their mind. You optimised your website using keywords such as “financial planner,” “financial advisor,” financial consultancy service,” and so forth. However, if the user wants tax consultancy or investment management service, they will search using these particular phrases. Even if your Location/Contact Us page is optimised, but if you don’t work keeping in view the user intent, Google won’t rank your page high.
What is user intent?
User intent is the aim behind people’s search questions. When they type their query on Google, their intent is their main concern. And the same should be important for your business. Most of the SEO best practices emphasise mainly on keyword optimisation. However, it’s time to shift your attention to the user intent.
To understand the user intent better, let’s first see how many types of search queries are there.
Types of User Intent
There are three types of search intents:
Most of the search done on the internet is informational. It is the first stage of the search where the user just intends to gather information about something. It can be anything such as information about weather, books, latest models of mobile phones or laptops and so on. Google’s identification of intent is way smarter than simply showing results that give information about a particular term. When a user searches about “apple.” Google can identify whether the query is about the fruit or the brand “apple.”
This is the second stage of the search when the user becomes specific about what they search. For example, a user searching for financial or accounting books may become specific by mentioning the author’s or publisher’s name. Similarly, if a user is searching for the latest models of mobile phones by Sam-sung or Huawei only, it will be considered as navigational intent.
This is the third type of intent when the user has decided to buy a product or service from a specific brand. The user will directly search for the website of that specific brand and make their deal. For example, if a user is looking for financial consultancy in XYZ area and they found your website and services appropriate at the first and second stage of their query, they will most probably want to avail your services.
According to research conducted by www.sciencedirect.com, more than 80% of the total search intents are informational; whereas 20% is almost equally split between navigational and transactional.
Since now you have got a little familiar with the user intent and its types, let’s understand how you can optimise your website for each intent type.
How to Optimise for Informational Search Intent
Informational search intents are those queries that incorporate a wide range of topic for which there may be thousands of related results. For example, what is financial counselling, how to prepare a balance sheet, the difference between financial and management accounting and so forth. Now the question is how to make your website stand out and respond to the user’s need.
You might be thinking that informational intents can seldom be monetised so, what’s the purpose of optimising them?
Yes, you are right, as I mentioned that out of all intents, only 10% are transactional. Nevertheless, optimising informational intent is totally worth it. The websites that are optimised, keeping in view the informational queries, Google treats them “specially.” They are speared in Featured Snippets, also called answer boxes, knowledge graphs or Google direct answers. (Refer to the two images above). Usually appearing at the top of the results page, featured snippets offer you increased visibility to searchers and can promote brand recognition.
Usually, informational search intents contain words like:
- How can I
- What is
- How to
- What are the advantages of
- Steps to
- Step by step
It means you should optimise your content in such a way that it answers all these questions. The most valuable content types for informational search intent should incorporate:
- blog posts with tips and techniques
- how-to videos
- step by step guides
Your primary purpose is to make high-quality content that is beneficial and offers useful information related to the search. Just remember that the users want first-hand information and direct answers. Therefore, you create content that meets your users’ requirement as well as can drive traffic and leads to your website.