#FreeAdvice: Search Intent vs Keywords

May 21, 2020#FreeAdvice

According to a Search Engine Journal article, in a May Google update, it was found that with search results that have multiple search intents or where the Google favored intent in the SERP was not explicit, weaker landing pages lost rank. This isn’t something new that happened, but it is becoming more and more prevalent. This just solidifies why search intent is so important and why the objective of each page should be very clear. 

For this reason, we decided to go back to the basics when it comes to search intent as a refresh.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent is the reason behind your keyword. What results were you expecting to find after you plugged the keyword into the search bar? For example, if I were to search for “peanut flour”, there could be a few different things I was hoping to find.

  • Where can I buy peanut flour?
  • What are some recipes that have peanut flour in them?
  • What is the nutritional value of peanut flour?
  • How is peanut flour different from regular flour?

There are four different kinds of search intent.

Informational – This is people looking for information about a certain topic. It could be in the form of a question or something as simple as “weather”. Be aware that Google has a sense of what kind of results people are looking for. For example, if someone searches for “tacos” Google will recognize that people probably want to find a restaurant to eat tacos and if someone searches for “how to make a birdhouse” videos are helpful.

Navigational – This is when people are looking to visit a certain website and either do not remember the exact URL or it is just easier to type it into the search bar. Search queries like “facebook”, “amazon” and “yahoo finance” are examples of this kind of intent.

Transnational – This is when people are looking to buy something. Terms like “buy”, “cheap” and “coupon” might be accompanied by the thing they are looking to purchase.

Commercial Investigation – These are users that are not yet ready to buy but are in the beginning stages. People might be searching for different kinds of item models, the “best” of something or looking for reviews.

Why Does Search Intent Matter?

Google wants to bring the most relevant content possible to its users. Their job is to organize the vast amount of information and put the most relevant, accurate and valuable information at the top of their search results. If you are not providing users with what they are intending on finding, you can get lost in these results.

How Can You Optimize for Search Intent?

  1. Check the SERP history of your keyword. Say you want to learn about rock music. Here we took a look at “rock”. You can see that Google is very confused. Rock and roll, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, how to make a rock? This graph shows that there has been lots of rank change throughout the past 6 months for this term. 

So say we were interested in “rock music” and got a little more specific with the term “rock and roll”. Unfortunately, you can see that music is ever evolving and so are the rankings for this keyword.

Now getting SUPER specific with “rock music genre” is probably your best bet. 

  1. Make sure your content matches what people are looking for. If you want to show up for “buy a blue dress” you probably aren’t going to write a blog post. If someone wants to know “how to make spaghetti” maybe a how-to video is best. If it is a topic that remains mostly consistent, a static landing page would be best.
  2. Finally, see what else Google is giving you. What are the questions in the “People Also Ask”? Study the top ranking pages, what are they doing, how is their content structured. 

Keep in Mind

1. It is always changing

Search intent changes just like fashion and fads. Current events can give topics a new meaning such as “corona”. It is always important to revisit the objectives of your pages to make sure nothing has changed.

2. Google does not always get it right

Google may be a very powerful robot, but it can not read minds. If Google is having a hard time determining what people want, it may be best not to use the keyword. Try a more descriptive term.

WordPress SEO: Optimization, Tips, And Best Practices

In the ever-expanding digital landscape, a website's visibility in search engine results is often the key to its success. WordPress, a versatile and widely used content management system, offers a ton of tools and features to optimize your website's SEO performance....

Organic Traffic Loss After A Site Migration

Listen to the experts discuss.

How to Prioritize SEO & PPC for Startups

Listen to the experts discuss.

Magento SEO: Optimization, Tips, And Best Practices

Magento - also known as Adobe Commerce - is a “flexible and scalable commerce platform that lets you create uniquely personalized B2B and B2C experiences, no matter how many brands you have.” Magento is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms we encounter every...

Boosting Tourism Success: A Case Study of Effective SEO Strategies

Tourism was massively hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and we were tasked with growing organic traffic.

Empowering Startups: The CMS Choice From the SEO Experts

What is a CMS? A Content Management System - or CMS - is a powerful software application that enables website owners to create, edit, and manage digital content on their websites without requiring extensive technical expertise. A good CMS provides a user-friendly...

5 SEO Quick Wins You Can Do In 2023

SEO is complex. Understand the basics and empower yourself to improve your own site today.

Will AI Kill SEO?

Short answer - not today.  Still, it is a big deal. Don’t take this conclusion as a denial of the transformational potential of this moment we’re in. But with all big shifts in technology, there’s a rush to draw conclusions about how our world will change. For...

SEO for Site Migrations – Listen Up Developers!

I’ve seen sites lose as much as 75-80% of their traffic.

What do you think? Share your thoughts below.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to learn even more cool stuff? Chelsea Scaffidi can help!

Reach out today! We’re happy to help talk more about whatever search marketing issue is keeping you up at night.