User intent simply refers to identifying the motive behind a user’s search query. For instance, when Jane searches ‘Best SEO agency in Austin,’ what does she really want? A search result that leads her to HighMark SEO landing page, or one that leads to a page listing all the SEO agencies in Austin?
The following explanation of the three broad categories of user intent will help you deduce the correct answer to this question.
Here, the user is a blank canvas waiting to be painted over with new knowledge. Realizing the dearth of information competing for users’ attention should drive any brand to work hard, not only towards optimizing their content for keywords that lure leads but also towards ensuring the relevance of these content to the leads’ burning questions.
Failure to achieve this will lead to a high bounce rate and affect sales conversion.
In the query ‘Best SEO agency in Austin,’ the user is certainly not looking to be shown a list of SEO agencies in Austin (informational), as they likely know them already.
It is obvious at this point that they need authority content to nudge them towards the acclaimed best agency, and hopefully, this agency will be prepared with content quality enough to convince them that they are indeed the best.
User intent makes it possible for a brand to display and sell its products to prospective customers whose searches do not necessarily read ‘I want to buy XYZ.’
For instance, it helps the brand know to develop an e-commerce landing page in readiness for and response to queries like ‘best price for XYZ product’ because it is obvious that the user is ready to dispense with some cash for that product.
But transactional queries do not only apply to buying but also to other forms of conversion that can be nudged through CTAs, such as email subscriptions and product updates/upgrades.
Although categorizing user intent based on query types and developing content to cater to the needs behind the queries has been identified as an infallible conversion strategy, finding the point of intersection between user queries and the customer life cycle is the ultimate strategy.
The life cycle is in five stages, where the customer:
- Is not unaware of how to go about solving their problem (unawareness).
- Is now aware of the solution to the problem (solution awareness).
- Compares various similar solutions in the market (comparison).
- Decides which solution to adopt (decision).
- Becomes a full-fledged customer, occasionally returning for guidelines, information, and other helpful resources to help maximize user experience (retention).
So, how does the intersection work to influence content quality? Queries such as ‘Top 5 SEO Strategies’ fall at the intersection between informational and solution awareness.
It tells you that this user is not at the point of purchase, they need educative content, but it also tells you not to bore them with such information as what SEO strategies are and how they can boost business. They know already.
User intent provides you with the insights to create timely, and highly helpful content that earns the trust of your leads and makes them more open to buying whatever it is you have to offer ultimately.