Marketers have been aware of the importance of search intent since 2002 and Andrei Broder’s first taxonomy of web intent.
Search intent only gained in importance with the breakthroughs in the development of search algorithms.
Google RankBrain algorithm has become very sophisticated when it comes to understanding the nuances of language.
This means that the algorithm is less reliant on keywords and can focus more on the intent behind every search instead.
In this paradigm shift, search intent cannot be ignored.
Let’s examine the benefits of optimizing content around search intent.
What is search intent?
The concept of search intent is very simple.
Search intent is the reason behind the search.
For example, why is Billie searching for “the best gaming mouse under $100?”
Does he want to know what a gaming mouse is?
There’s almost a 100% chance that he already knows that.
Is he interested in finding out what characteristics make a computer mouse “the best gaming mouse under $100?”
Billie most likely isn’t interested in the technical aspects of gaming mice.
Is Billie looking for a list of gaming mice recommendations within his budget so he can buy one?
And Billie is not going to click on any search result that doesn’t fit his search intent.
What does this mean for content marketers?
It means that if they want to target the keyword “the best gaming mouse under $100” and don’t deliver content that matches Billie’s search intent, their content will not get anywhere near the top of the SERPs.
Yes, missing search intent is that severe.
However, nailing the search intent and optimizing your content around it can potentially carry significant benefits.
Let’s see what some of them are!
1. Increased content relevance
By understanding that Billie is looking for the best computer mouse for his gaming hobby that’s also under $100, you are able to provide exactly that.
In other words, you are able to produce relevant content that will connect Billie with the solution to his problem.
By providing relevant content to Billie, he will spend more time on your page and possibly click on one of your affiliate links.
This will bring positive results when it comes to both SEO and monetization efforts.
Check out my article on content relevance and how to create relevant content if you want to know more about that topic.
2. Increased content comprehensiveness
Just like content relevance, content comprehensiveness is a known Google ranking factor.
Because you understand what Billie wants, you’re able to create a comprehensive piece of content that will answer any and all of Billie’s questions.
You can also address any objections he might have which would help seal the deal.
Knowing that “the best gaming mouse under $100” is a transactional query, you can optimize your page for transactional search intent as well.
If you want to know more about this topic, check out my guide on content comprehensiveness.
3. Reduced bounce rate
Bounce rate is another direct Google ranking factor.
It represents the percentage of users who enter your website and then leave instead of visiting another page on your domain.
A high bounce rate is not necessarily a cause for alarm, but keeping users on your domain for longer is always a good thing.
Billie will certainly appreciate a relevant piece of content on his topic of interest so much so that he’ll probably want to check out more pages on your domain.
Relevant content based on search intent research undoubtedly impacts bounce rate in a positive way.
4. Increased average session duration
To calculate the average session duration, you take the total duration of all sessions in seconds and divide it by the total number of sessions.
However, understanding the average session duration and its impacts is not as simple as calculating it.
Feel free to check out my article on avg. session duration and tips to improve it.
What matters here is that satisfied users who get what they’re looking for, like Billie, usually open more pages and stay on the domain for longer.
Paying attention to search intent and optimizing your content around it will guide your content creation strategy in a way that will facilitate this kind of behavior.
5. More page views and sessions
Page views and sessions are very important metrics when it comes to joining premium ad networks, for example.
Google AdSense pays peanuts and it isn’t worth disrupting the user experience by adding ads through that ad network.
Premium ad networks like Mediavine pay a lot better, however.
But they all have requirements to join that are closely tied with the number of page views or sessions your website is getting.
This is just another reason why it’s important to pay attention to search intent and provide content that aligns with it as much as possible.
If you accomplish this, users will trust your opinion more and they will open more of your pages instead of bouncing.
6. Higher SERP rankings
All of the minor impacts on the Google ranking factors mentioned in this article can compound into profound ranking shifts for your content.
Look at search intent research as another tool in your toolbox that you can use in your content marketing efforts.
Every little bit helps when you’re trying to get your content to rank higher.
Especially in the beginning when you have to work extra hard to get on the search engines’ radar.
7. Wider audience reach
Search intent-centric content is inevitably consumer-centric as well.
Such content doesn’t just reach wider audiences by getting higher up in the SERPs.
It’s also shared more often by both users and industry peers.
When your content starts being shared and referred to, it not only reaches wider audiences, but that’s also a hint to Google that the content is useful and should be bumped up in the SERPs.
The links from other domains pointing towards your domain are called backlinks and are one of the most important Google ranking factors.
Marketers go to great lengths when it comes to earning backlinks.
Relevant and useful content optimized around search intent carries a higher potential of earning backlinks without you having to do any extra work.
Which is amazing!
8. Establishing expertise
Who do you consider to be an expert on any given topic?
Experts are people who not only know a lot about their subjects of expertise, but they can also cover topics from many different angles, leaving no stone unturned.
Experts can also tell to a high degree what questions the person their content is catered towards might have even before they have them.
Being aware of the importance of search intent behind topics you’re covering can guide you to tailor your content like an expert would.
When you start digging deeper into search intent behind queries, you start unearthing many questions users might be looking for answers to.
Even if you don’t know the answers to those questions on the spot, you can always research them and actually become an expert on the topic.
In the end, you’ll be able to create content that successfully solves people’s problems.
They will appreciate it and consider you an expert.
9. Covering the entire buyer’s journey with your content
A funnel looking like this where a single dot represents a single piece of content would tell you that you probably don’t have enough content covering the transactional queries.
Of course, this is a hypothetical situation and there is no prescribed number of content pieces per category.
A content audit like this can help you discover content gaps and guide your content creation strategy from thereon.
Your goal should be to have search intent optimized content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, from discovery to purchase.
10. Brand building
Cleverly distributed content along the entire buyer’s journey will make your audience think your content is everywhere.
Pair that up with the fact that your content is very useful since it’s optimized around search intent and your business will start looking authoritative and trustworthy.
In other words, it will start looking like a brand.
Branding has always been extremely important and it’s about to become even more important in the age of voice search.
Long story short, in the voice-first world, AI assistants will decide who gets the business if the user doesn’t specify the exact business they want to reach or order from.
And users will want to specifically reach your business or order from you if you position your business as a brand that they are aware of.
Optimizing your content around search intent supercharges your content.
It helps you to create relevant and comprehensive content that your audience will love.
This can lead to many positive benefits in areas like SEO and content marketing strategy.
Which of the benefits discussed in this article would be particularly good for your business?
Let me know in the comments section!