20th Sep 2018

What Were They Thinking? Tips For Decrypting Search Intent

As business owners and marketers we depend on search engines to provide search results that are based on their intention and authority. For your digital marketing strategy to be successful not only does your content needs to be valuable, but you also need to be able to trust that search engines actually understand searchers intent. 

Search intent is the reason why people conduct a search. Why are they searching? Are they looking because they want an answer to that question? Are they looking for something specific? Or are they searching because they want to make a purchase? 

Throughout the years Google has become much better at being able to determine the search intent of it’s users, something that is essential when it comes to making sure that relevant content is showing up for the intent of the audience. 

Types Of Intent

There are 4 major types of search intent, each has their own distinct features and has a number of opportunities attached to them: 

Informational Intent 
Informational intent is when users are searching for information about a certain topic, for example, information about the weather or the football results. It’s worth noting that informational intent can be users searching for a quick answer to a question or it can be users carrying out extensive research about a topic. 

Navigational Intent 
Navigational intent is when users are searching in order to try and find a specific website, for example, searching for Facebook to reach the actual Facebook website. Ranking high within navigational intent results can be beneficial for your organic traffic when users are looking specifically for your website. 

Transactional Intent 
The third type of intent is transactional intent, this is where search users are searching for products or services with the intention of making a purchase. There are plenty of people who are searching for the best deals or best product, this is where transactional intent can prove to be beneficial. 

Commercial Investigation Intent
Similar to transactional intent, commercial investigation intent is where users search for a specific product in order to find out which is best or which might be worth buying. Those searching with commercial investigation intent usually aren’t ready to make a purchase but are starting to carry out research about a future purchase they wish to make.

While finding out these types of intent won’t always give you a complete understanding of what search users are thinking when they carry out a search, it does allow you to align searches to a type of user. 

3 Ways To Determine Search Intent 

It can be difficult to determine search intent, however, there are a number of effective ways you can figure out what your audience is searching for when they come across your content within search results. We’ve highlighted the 5 more effective ways of doing so:  

Check Your Bounce Rate 
This is possibly one of the easiest ways you can determine if your content is meeting your audience’s expectations. High bounce rates can indicate that the page that shows up in results actually matches what users are looking for when they initially search. Although high bounce rates can happen for a number of reasons beyond search intent if you have an understanding that it isn’t because of user intent, it’s a good place to start. 

Check Your CTR
A high click-through rate and low conversion rate can indicate that you aren’t meeting the expectations of search users. You should double check the click-through rates to your landing page in order to work out if they are too low and compare these with the number of conversions, if you’re not delivering on user intent it can show that your audience isn’t getting relevant information from your site, heading elsewhere instead to find out the information they need. 

Conduct A Survey
Perhaps the most costly and time-consuming way of understanding user intent is to conduct a survey, asking your audience directly what their intent was. By offering surveys through email to existing customers or even having a chatbox on your site that asks users, you can ask audiences what brought them to your website, what questions they had regarding your product and what search they carried out to get there, you can gain more of an understanding. 

It’s vital that your content fits your audiences search intent, determining what intent a keyword or search term has, allows you to optimise your content in order to generate even better results! 

Article By
Sarah Seymour,
Published: 20th September, 2018
Categories: Marketing

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