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Why is Search Intent Important in Content Marketing?

     -     Nov 19th, 2018   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

When incorporating SEO into your businesses content marketing strategy, it’s important to understand and then focus on what your prospects and customers may be searching for or about. In other words, understanding intent of the searcher’s inquiry is necessary to develop relevant content. This is why and where keywords enter the picture and are important to both content marketing and SEO. It’s essential to consider, what keywords users are searching for and howcan we incorporate those keywords into our content (and therefore website)? In recent years, research has emphasized the importance of the whybehind user searches. Why are users searching certain keywords and howcan we optimize our content to match their intent? To help dissect this important question we have provided important information on the types of intent, different categories and best practices for law and accounting firms to integrate into their strategy to enhance ROI.

Why is Understanding Search Intent Important?

In the old days of website marketing all one needed to do was simply focus on ranking for certain keywords and search engines would grant higher ranks for related term searches. Weren’t those good old days? However, a lot has changed since then and Google amongst other search engines have made changes that allow results to be based more on finding results for what they believe searchers really want. This started with the general Google algorithm update in 2013 known as Hummingbirdbut is often referred to as RankBrain. So why is this important? Since Google (and presumably other search engines) are looking beyond keyword use to identify the best results for a search, it’s essential to understand the various types of user intent and tailor your content for those best suited to your marketing goals.

What Is Search Intent?

Search intent is the identification of what the user conducting the search intended when they typed in a specific search query. It’s based on the concept that everyone who performs a search is looking for something specific such as fact checking or shopping for a product. Originally, there were three categories of user intent but eventually a fourth was added. These categories include: transaction, informational, navigational and commercial. Below is a general explanation of each and how marketers can adapt their content marketing approach to attract relevant searchers for each category.

Transactional Search Intent

Searchers who have the intention to buy something (product/service) or complete an action are searching with transactional intent. Examples include searches for discounts, trials, or samples. Transactional intent also covers actions that may not be specifically geared towards a purchase – such as downloading content, registering for an event, or signing up for a contest. When catering content to this type of searcher it’s important to have content that clearly identifies the services your firm/company offers, and the process involved in making a purchase. Since most professional service firms don’t sell their services without first meeting with a prospect and understanding their needs, transactional search intent is often considered the least relevant for the industry. However, for those that have related software or other products, this search intent should not be underestimated.

Informational Search Intent

This type of search is designed to find information on a specific topic. In basic terms it can be on today’s weather or information about the latest movie times. More relevant to this audience, it could also be about the changes due to tax reform or a new court ruling impacting California businesses. The use of the word where or how is often an indication of information search intent. Whatever the topic, the purpose of the search is to gain information on a topic. Sample informational searches:

  • Law Firms Near Me
  • How do I incorporate a business in Florida?
  • How to claim the 20% business income deduction?
  • Tax deadlines for C-Corporations

Companies can capitalize on informational intent queries by providing content that offers additional information on a specific subject. This can be accomplished by writing detailed blog posts based on questions commonly received or as part of a targeted landing page. Remember to offer related items of value where and when appropriate for your business. As an example, it’s not a leap of faith to believe that someone searching for information on tax planning in 2018 may want to participate in a webinar on the same topic. These calls-to-action not only offer another way to connect with the searcher, but also provide additional learning (information gathering) opportunities.


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