Once upon a time, to rank highly and dominate search results, your content had to be “stuffed” with keywords. And, I mean there had to be LOTS of them. Sound familiar?
Tofu is a popular plant-based meat and dairy alternative. Tofu can be used as a protein replacement, which is tofu’s main health benefit. Tofu is made from soya by curdling fresh soya milk, pressing it into a solid block and then cooling it. Tofu is a staple ingredient in modern cuisine, especially popular in the vegan diet.
Unfortunately, even now this is often the case and many content creators believe that this actually still works and is acceptable, passing it off with a simple: too many keywords can’t hurt, can they?
Except that’s NOT the case anymore.
As we all (mostly) know, overstuffing keywords can seriously harm your site’s rankings. Additionally, if you write your content solely for SEO, your copy may be difficult to digest.
Google’s algorithm is extremely clever and no longer has to rely on keywords to judge what the content is about. Take the MUM Algorithm, for example, which will help Google understand the user’s query far better, even beyond keywords.
Of course, keywords are still important, but the way we use them has changed significantly.
So, if you want to rank well in 2022, you’re going to need to start targeting your customers and not just keywords.
Enter search intent.
What is search intent?
Search intent is simply the reason behind the search. To help demonstrate this, check out my search below. By searching for ‘tofu’, was I:
- Looking to buy tofu?
- Searching what tofu is?
- Wanting to learn more about tofu, i.e., benefits, recipes etc?
Google’s job is to identify the intent behind my query in order to display the best, most succinct results.
To achieve this, Google is constantly releasing updates in order to fulfil this mission and provide even more accurate results to searchers. In 2018 alone, Google reported making over 3,620 “improvements” to search (Search Engine Journal).
What’s more, the MUM Update will reduce the number of search queries by giving users more targeted answers by:
- Searching for answers from 75 different languages.
- Understanding information across format types, be it an image, video, or audio clip.
- Applying advanced AI to search to anticipate the true intent.
Consequently, in order to improve your rankings, your content – be it a product or ecommerce page or a blog – needs to align with the search intent. This is why relying on solely keywords will not work.
Why is search intent important?
Ahrefs did a study analysing how optimising for search intent can increase traffic; the results were stunning:
+ 677% MORE TRAFFIC
All they needed to do was examine the top-ranking pages for the keyword they were targeting and make the necessary changes to the page they were trying to improve.
In other words, they exactly matched the users’ intent. But, the benefits don’t stop there:
- Improved conversion rates – aligning your content with user intent will allow you to connect with the right audience and if you offer exactly what they are looking for, the chances of conversions will skyrocket. This is especially relevant to transactional pages with clear calls to action.
- Reduced bounce rates – the right content will mean users will stay on your pages for longer and complete a desired action.
- Increased page views per user – meeting users’ needs means they are more likely to click through and explore your website.
- More chance of getting featured snippets – By answering the users’ questions directly, your content might be featured in the answer box, which means more traffic to your site.
What are the types of search intent?
Ultimately, there are 4 types of search intent:
- Informational – as the name suggests, a user is looking for information and may use the words from the table below – Consider our tofu search for example.
- Navigational – the user usually knows what they are looking for and will use a brand or product name directly, like Tofoo Co. for example.
- Commercial – this is an investigation stage, usually before purchasing, i.e., ‘tofu restaurant’.
- Transactional – this is the purchase stage and usually the displayed search results should directly lead to a sale, i.e., ‘silken tofu Tesco’
How to optimise for search intent
Your job when planning content for your website is to match it with one of these four stages of intent.
But as there are over 3.5 billion searches performed daily on Google, you must be thinking it is an impossible task.
The easiest way to do so is to look at the ‘3 Cs of search intent’:
- Content type – a blog post, a product page, or a landing page
- Content format – a how-to guide, a review, or a comparison
- Content angle – a unique selling point, for example tofu vegan restaurant
Take the ‘tofu restaurant’ example we mentioned earlier, all the top results, including local suggestions, for this search terms relate to restaurants where you can find dishes containing this ingredient.
Furthermore, take inspiration from the top-ranking pages for your target keywords.
- Featured snippets or people also ask section
- Content for the top raking pages which will help you determine the angle and format for your content piece
For our tofu example, most top-ranking pages are guides focusing on health benefits. So, if you are looking to create content about this topic, this is the good angle.
Google is constantly working on providing users with quality content that matches their queries. All updates, including Google ‘s MUM update, are about relevance.
If you want to rank well, it’s all about matching intent with content your target audience will truly value. Consequently, planning your content strategy, should focus on targeting each specific stage of search intent to ensure you don’t lose out on any prospective customers.
Think about what your potential customers are looking for at the awareness stage and how you can influence them to choose you over your competitors.
If you have any questions about our approach to content marketing and search intent trends in 2022, or would like to know more about any of our other services, please get in touch with our team of experts