After all, Google obviously knows a users intent (or at least pretends to). It's part of our job to learn from them, and make sure we plan accordingly.
We use Ahrefs on a regular basis, but additional free tools we sometimes use include:
Pay Attention to These Keyword Metrics
The alternative is a keyword that can contain multiple clicks to websites per search.
Types of Search & User Intent
We can see informational queries coming in a variety of types, such as:
- When is Labor Day
- Where is the closest cafe
- What is a Puli
- Tips for staying hydrated in the heat
- How to stay warm in Milwaukee in December
The common theme for informational keywords? They are typically questions or at least can be rephrased to become a question. 'Best Paella Recipe' for example can (and commonly is) turned into 'How Do I Make Paella'.
Optimizing for Informational Keywords
'No Click' informational keywords: Questions that Google can answer with a simple knowledge graph or featured snippet are becoming more and more extinct in content marketing strategies. If only 4 out of 100 searchers actually click through to a result, why would we invest time and energy building content and links just to lose clicks to a search result?
Sticking with the keyword 'best paella recipe'—if a restaurant can draw traffic to their website based on this keyword, think about what it can tell them about users. They're interested in spanish cuisine, cooking, and finding quality dishes. Wouldn't it be great if we could filter that by location and advertise to that exact group of people? Spoiler alert, we can!
What search marketers have to do is watch out for queries that seem informational, but are actually more navigational.
If a brand is owning the entire first page of Google search results for a search query, it's more likely than not that Google is viewing that result as navigational/branded, meaning we'll have a very hard time gaining any traffic for that content.
Optimizing for Branded & Navigational User Intent
Examples of branded navigational intent include:
- UW Credit Union Login
- City of Milwaukee Website
The majority of the time, users already have a location online they know they want to get to, they just don't know (or are too lazy) to type in the URL.
When navigational keywords get interesting...
From an SEO standpoint, unless your brand is being typed in the search bar, you're probably not going to rank on the first page of Google. There are times that Indeed or Glassdoor may come in the organic results, but a competitor will have a hard time ranking for those types of keywords at all.
A fun and interesting way to steal some high-intent traffic is by bidding on competitors branded search terms. Of course, you have to be careful and think through this strategy—if a social media startup starts bidding on the search term 'Facebook', users who click on a page that isn't Facebook aren't going to stay on that site, meaning you just paid for a user to immediately leave your website. On the other hand, if you're seeing conversions coming in and have a positive return on investment (ROI), go for it!
Transactional Intent Keywords
Transactional intent keywords often include words such as:
At this point, a user has moved down the purchase funnel and is closer to checking out than any other keyword category.
During this phase, we should still give users information, it just needs to be the information they're truly searching for. Shipping information, return policy, a comparison document highlighting benefits, or whatever a user is looking for to help them make their decision.
If you're ever curious if a keyword is considered transactional, just let Google guide your decision. If all you're seeing are organic results and possibly a featured snippet, it's more than likely informational. If on the other hand you're seeing an over abundance of ads (see below), it's likely considered transactional.
Make Sure Content Matches Your Search Intent
If our target keyword is "Increase My SEO Rankings"—while we do see ads at the top of the page, every organic result on the first page of Google is blog posts, this tells us that it is a keyword with informational intent. We're going to have an extremely hard time ranking an SEO service page for a term like this.
‘SEO Services in Milwaukee’, on the other hand, shows all local businesses either featuring their homepage or their SEO service page. This is closer to a transactional keyword, and we should target this keyword with a service page.
In the end, making sure the way you plan and write your content to write the intent of a particular keyword is going to save you time, energy and money.