Jeremy Smith, expert entrepreneur who wrote at The Daily Egg, had an interesting comment about user’s intent role on both SEO and conversion rate optimization. He said:
“User intent is a major factor in search engine optimization and conversion optimization.”
If you take a close look at how marketers look at user intent, the subject focuses mainly on search engine optimization. And in the case of CRO, not so much. But SEO and CRO come together so closely when user intent is the center of conversation, that it’s close to impossible to separate the two.
What’s my point?
User intent is the real starting point of an effective conversion rate optimization plan…
Think about it. If you fail to identify the searchers’ intent, then you wouldn’t know which keywords to try and rank for. And because you’re grasping at straws for the right keywords to use in your content, that means SEO done poorly. No SEO means no traffic. And your failure to generate enough traffic means you won’t have any need for CRO at all.
That’s quite a chain reaction, isn’t it?
But it’s true…
There’s no way around the fact that user intent is crucial to your CRO strategies. It’s a fact of every marketers’ life.
Understanding Searcher’s Intent
Over the years, Google has evolved into a sophisticated search engine catering to how people search for things on the internet. Where the SEO game used to be just keywords and the quantity of a site’s backlinks, today, search engines are after showcasing content that answers a searcher’s needs.
It goes without saying that if you want to appear in front of your target audience, there is a need for you to understand the intent behind a keyword search.
The basic idea is that everyone who types a query into the search bar has intentions. They’re looking for something. They want and need something from the search engine. And they fully expect to meet content that would match their intent.
Data and research points to user’s intent being classified into four types:
- Navigational intent: Searchers with this kind of intent are after a specific website. Take for instance people who are looking for Twitter. They are on their way to Twitter’s website.
- Informational intent: This is otherwise known as the most common kind of intent. For a fact, lots of searches conducted on the internet are made up of people looking for information. And in cases like this, searchers have a specific question in mind.
- Transactional intent: Improvements to the digital world nowadays have opened the way for transactions to be made. A lot of people buy products and avail of services online, and they go on the web to find the best comparisons and purchases.
- Commercial investigation: And then there are those searchers who look up specific products and services with the intent to purchase them in the future.
For sure, it takes more than knowing a person’s gender, location, or buying power to tailor a product or service to their specific needs. We are human beings. And if the universal had only one universal truth, it would be that humans aren’t one-dimensional beings.
We all have diversified and complex personalities. And we have our respective motives for going on search engines to type in our queries.
How do you understand user intent for your CRO strategy?
The very idea of user intent is a motivation for companies — big and small — to create the best experiences for their clients and customers. In understanding user intent, your business can also create targeted campaigns to gain audience’s attention and generate desired traffic.
#1 Identifying queries that bring your target audience to the site
Jeremy Smith is the brains behind this tactic. In pointing out the queries that attract users to your site, you instantly get a cheat sheet. As Jeremy Smith points out: It’s “a simple matter of analytics and webmaster data.”
Go to Google Webmaster Tools. Find “search traffic” and then navigate to “search queries.”
I tried that for myself while researching this article, and I couldn’t have said it better than Jeremy Smith did.
#2 Use Google to clarify user intent
We have searcher intent classified into 4 types by the experts. But knowing which keyword belongs in which is not always easy. Some keywords can appear as commercial intent at first, but they might actually be informational in nature.
An example would be “small business digital marketing.” I could be on Google looking for a small business that offers digital marketing services. But in fact, when I go and type the long-tail keyword on the search engines, it gives me a list of informational content.
Obviously, my presumptions were incorrect. But in searching for the keyword and seeing the results, I can easily understand that Google classifies the keyword under informational intent.
All that’s left now is to take note of this and continue with my research.
#3 Map user intent to keywords you want to target
As you continue your keyword research, you might want to include “intent” along with the highest ranking keywords you find and the volume it generates. In doing this, you can determine where some of these keywords fit into your overall content and SEO strategies.
#4 Create content that matches searcher intent
From the start, we all know that awesome content is useless if it doesn’t serve a purpose. Not meeting the audience’s needs, and not ranking for keywords that matter is one way to have buried content.
To create content that ranks on search engines and compelling enough to convert requires an in-depth understanding of what your target audience is looking for. And upon identifying the user intent, you can then review your content that ranks, and consequently search for opportunities to improve that piece of content. That goes for content that’s about to be produced too.
User Intent is Your New Marketing Strategy
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that digital marketing has changed over the years. Even SEO now belongs in the broader spectrum of digital marketing.
Digital marketing practitioners understand the importance of optimizing content for the users’ experience. It’s not just about search engine bots anymore.
In taking user intent into account, you actually think about the best ways you can meet a potential customer’s needs. And upon closer scrutiny, understanding user intent is indeed a marketing practice.
The Key Takeaway
The core thought is quite simple:
Optimize for user intent to have more effective CRO strategies.
CRO is what you do with the traffic you generate. So go ahead and create your landing pages and do your split testing. But keep in mind that without a well-optimized user-centered content and SEO strategy, you wouldn’t be doing conversion rate optimization in the very first place.
Al Gomez is a digital marketing consultant. He is the President of Dlinkers, and he specializes in SEO, PPC, & web development since 2008. Al has over 10 years’ client digital marketing experience and has helped businesses such as Dr. Berg, Patexia, Panel Wall Art, the Ritz Carlton, and countless others use the web to drive online visibility and generate leads. He has even started, developed, and managed an e-commerce website — Unlideals.com and an SEO website, Alseoperth.com.