The ability to connect with your audience is a learning curve. Why do some brands have trouble connecting with their audiences? There can be a number of reasons—bad SEO, a poor and confusing UX, maybe even the landing page experience.
While these reasons can be solved by SEO audits and website optimization, there’s no such thing as a quick fix for bad or disconnected content. After all, content reigns supreme. Connecting with your target audience requires intentionality. All content must be clear and relevant. Here are some tips on how to incorporate user intent into your content creation.
What EXACTLY is User Intent
To craft content that packs a punch, the first step is to learn what user intent is. Abhishek Talreja of Single Grain describes user intent as the purpose behind a search query. Simply put, learning your target’s intent is to know the meaning behind something they typed into Google then delivering relevant answers to those questions. How can you create effective content and make sure it’s served to users when they need it? Incorporate user intent into how you write your piece.
To reach a user, know the 3 main types of search queries:
- Informational Search Queries: This is when users search for information around a problem. It’s usually less about specific products and brands. Rather, it’s centered around their desire to understand a pain point they experience as a consumer. This is an excellent opportunity to set yourself up as a solution to their problem.
Searches like “How to keep my plants from dying after repotting?” or “How to cook healthier food” are examples of informational queries.
- Navigational Queries: This is when a user has some awareness of their problem, or the brand surrounding their problem, as familiar solutions. This is also the case for internal site searches. Tailoring the content on your site’s internal pages is a great and easy way to edge out your competitors. Beat your competition by optimizing numerous internal pages to help increase conversions.
An example of this could be “Toyota car for young family” or “Diet-friendly Coke.” These both lead to internal pages that list products befitting the criteria.
- Transactional Queries: After doing initial research on a problem and the products and features needed to solve it, the user is ready to look for the best options in the market. When faced with choices, we’d all pick an option that best suits our different needs and budget. This type of search query is a great indicator that a user is sufficiently informed and ready to make a purchase. These searches may not be brand specific but aim to find and acquire the best solutions.
Common examples of these searches include qualifiers like “best” for the most bang for your buck products. Another example is the word “promo” for pages and products with ongoing discounts and promotions. A search term would then appear more like “best Bluetooth speaker 2021” or “running shoes for sale on discount.” These searches are commonly followed by immediate purchases.
Keep in mind these three types of online searches. This will help guide content creation to best reach users right when they need you. To make sure you meet them halfway, optimize your content so you’re among the top choices.
Here’s a quick guide on how to optimize SEO for each of the queries.
1. Informational Search Queries
This type of query is top-of-the-funnel. It’s the best type of query to put yourself out there. At this phase, most users try to figure out the answer to the problem themselves. They may not enter the clearest of search terms. The best content for this type of search is specific enough that it provides solutions to problems but broad enough that even if users haven’t articulated it clearly, the result could still be served to them.
Help your ideal customer understand their problem. Provide an easy way to get rid of the said problem, too. Populate your page with informational plugs or qualifiers like “how to…,” “solve,” and “troubleshoot,” among many others, and pair them up with your brand’s keywords. These qualifiers are likely part of the users’ search terms at this point of the funnel and will boost your chances of ranking for their search.
Remember, the earlier you can start users on a journey in your brand’s funnel, the better the chances of conversion. Consider developing content around “tips and tricks,” “hacks,” or detailed how-to guides to provide valuable information.
2. Navigational Search Queries
While these may be more commonly associated with brand searches, there are actually two types of navigational queries: Brand searches and internal page searches.
Brand searches are a little trickier, especially for third-party sites that don’t actually own the brand. However, writing meaningful and relevant content such as blog posts, product or service reviews, and news articles on the brand are easy ways to boost your chances to rank. When considering a purchase, people usually look for features and reviews.
The second kind of navigational search query is an internal page search. Most don’t consider the optimization of internal website searches, so this is an excellent option. Internal site search optimization can lead to higher rates of conversion. 30% of ecommerce visitors favor these internal searches to a standard search engine query. Here are a few steps you can take to optimize your internal search experience.
- Conduct a metrics audit. Audit metrics such as page loading time and bounce rates and correct where necessary to create a smoother, more pleasant user experience.
- Improve UX. Make the internal search as easy to navigate as possible. Include intuitive categories and an easy-to-find search bar. Make sure mobile visitors have just as seamless of an experience as your desktop visitors
- Review your top-performing pages. Prioritize these when optimizing since they already bring in traffic. Flag pages that receive little to no traffic; they may make it difficult to navigate your site.
3. Transactional Queries
Transactional queries are the searches closest to the end of the funnel. Indicative of a user’s desire to make a final purchase, these searches are extremely important when securing that last push. Create search results to encourage purchase by highlighting satisfied consumers and star features of your product or service. This is how to create content that converts.
Common formats for this type of page include qualifiers like “the best ______”, “the pros and cons of _____”, “ratings and reviews on_______”. This is precisely why many brands are eager to rank among popular review sites such as Trivago and Yelp! Another flag for transactional queries is keyword additions like “promo” or “discount.” Here are a few easy ways to improve transactional queries.
- Work on external links
Reputable review and ranking sites provide valuable traffic, especially for dependent industries like food and travel. Encourage customers to leave reviews to attract the attention of these websites.
- Brainstorm categorical wins
Assess the best ways to drive conversions in specific categories. Consumers may have visited your site in the past, only to bounce or abandon their cart because of the price. Create pages or results specifically for products on promo or sale.
To be an effective marketer, it’s important to fill a need. With different types of people come different types of searches. Wherever a customer may be in the funnel, knowing their search intent is integral to meeting them in the middle.
Brushing up on your SEO skills and doing your research for best practices is an absolute must. If you need help, partner with a trusted SEO agency so you can focus on your brand while they crunch the numbers.
Author Bio: A web professional of 20 years, Bernard San Juan is the General Manager of Truelogic, an SEO Company based in the Philippines. He is a strong advocate of creating a culture of leadership. He has launched four companies, over 300 websites, and more than 11,000 marketing campaigns.