Understanding Searcher Intent Through Advanced Research





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Understanding Searcher Intent Through Advanced Research

Putting the ‘User’ Back in SEO

You know, when I first got into the world of search engine optimization, I’ll admit – I was a bit of a keyword-obsessed robot. My idea of “advanced research” was simply cramming as many relevant terms into my content as humanly possible. Little did I know, I was completely missing the forest for the trees.

You see, the dirty little secret of SEO is that keywords don’t actually matter all that much anymore. At least, not on their own. What really moves the needle these days is understanding the intent behind those keywords – what your target audience is actually hoping to achieve when they type a particular query into Google.

Enter the Age of Search Intent

As Brian Dean of Backlinko puts it, “Simply put: satisfying Search Intent is ultimately Google’s #1 goal.” In other words, the search engine giants have become laser-focused on providing the most relevant, useful results possible – results that directly address what the user is looking for.

So how do you crack the code of search intent? Well, it starts with recognizing the four main categories:

  1. Informational – The user is looking to learn or gather information about a topic.
  2. Navigational – The user is trying to find a specific website or page.
  3. Commercial – The user is researching a product or service with the intent to potentially make a purchase.
  4. Transactional – The user is ready to take a specific action, like making a purchase or signing up for a service.

Now, you might be thinking, “Okay, that’s all well and good, but how do I actually figure out which intent a given keyword represents?”

Decoding the SERP

The key is to look at the search engine results page (SERP) for that keyword. As the team at Semrush explains, the pages and content that are already ranking can give you invaluable clues about the dominant intent.

For example, let’s say you’re targeting the keyword “best dog food.” If the top results are all listicles and review articles, that’s a clear sign of commercial intent – the searchers are looking to research their options before making a purchase. On the other hand, if the SERP is full of ecommerce product pages, you know the intent is more transactional.

It’s all about paying attention to the details. Do the top results include things like “how-to” guides, step-by-step instructions, and definition-style content? That’s a dead giveaway of informational intent. Are the pages mostly branded, navigational queries like “[company] pricing”? Yep, you guessed it – navigational intent.

Putting It All Together

Once you’ve identified the dominant intent behind your target keywords, the next step is to create content that aligns with those user needs. This might mean swapping out a generic product page for a detailed buyer’s guide. Or shifting from a high-level informational article to a more granular, step-by-step tutorial.

And let’s not forget the importance of evaluating your own existing content through the lens of search intent. As Brian Dean points out, pages that “should” be ranking but aren’t often have a search intent problem that needs to be addressed.

For me, that was the case with an old link-building guide I had on my site. It was chock-full of valuable advice, but because it was geared more towards SEO pros than SEO newbies, it just wasn’t a great fit for the broader “backlinks” query. A quick content refresh later, and boom – back on the first page.

The Future of SEO is All About the User

At the end of the day, search intent optimization isn’t just some passing fad – it’s the future of SEO. And quite frankly, it’s the future of the entire digital marketing landscape. After all, what good is ranking for a keyword if the content doesn’t actually satisfy what your audience is looking for?

That’s why the team at MCR SEO is so laser-focused on understanding searcher intent. We know that by putting the user first, we can create content and campaigns that not only rank well, but also drive real, meaningful engagement and conversions.

So if you’re ready to take your SEO strategy to the next level, it’s time to ditch the keyword-centric approach and start thinking about search intent. Trust me, your users (and your bottom line) will thank you.

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