Anyone who posts a piece of content on the Internet tends to believe they are giving visitors what they want. But when it comes to search intent, it can be easy to miss the mark.
Search intent is serious business. First, a customer who doesn’t find exactly what he or she is looking for on a client’s page is going to bounce. This has several negative effects:
-The customer trusts the brand just a little bit less, thanks to his or her inevitable frustration at finding something other than what he or she needed.
-Opportunities for conversion and lead nurturing are lost.
-The site’s bounce rate increases, signaling Google to lower the site’s position in the SERPs.
The client sees their site is not producing results, and begins to feel as if Fair Marketing is not serving their needs.
Obviously, we want to avoid all four consequences.
Second, failing to accurately match content with buyer intent means missed opportunities to get placement in the most visible results: search feature results, which often squeeze more conventional organic results right off the SERPs page.
These search features include featured snippets (covered in-depth in last month’s newsletter), related questions, the local 3-pack, image results, video results, and more. Visit this site to get a complete run-down on the 16 types of search features, as well as the relative accessibility of each type of result.
How can we understand intent?
We look for clues in search terms. Consider the following searches, relevant to one of our clients.
Tree service – I’m looking for information. I’m not close to making a purchase.
How do I know my tree is sick? – Again, I’m looking for information here. I may travel a bit farther down the sales funnel depending on what I learn here.
Tree disease – I’ve got a problem with my tree. I need to solve it, or I need to find someone else to solve it for me. I’m not sure which yet.
Tree service reviews – I want to compare tree services. I need to know which tree service I can trust. I’m also very close to making a phone call.
Tree service Houston – I’m looking for local providers and am ready to call someone.
Tree emergency – Something has gone wrong. I need help right now!
These queries all fall into one of the following categories:
-I need to know more.
-I need to compare choices.
-I need or want to make a purchase.
If any given piece of web content does not successfully satisfy one of these three needs it does not belong on the site. Additionally, most pages should only attempt to satisfy one of these needs at a time. Attempting to satisfy multiple needs can confuse the customer and leave him or her feeling as though their questions weren’t answered in a satisfactory way.
Of course, targeting intent is the very purpose of our BIPs (buyer intent pages). BIPs always answer four very specific buyer questions; each targets one of these three needs in the hopes of moving customers through each step of the process until they finally make a decision in favor of our clients.
However, this philosophy must carry over to every piece of content we put out on behalf of our clients. We must always ask ourselves which step our client’s customers are on when they land on any given web page.
How can intent make clients more visible?
We must also remain aware of opportunities to take advantage of the three most accessible SERP features: featured snippets, related questions, and the local 3-pack.
The 3-pack is all about smart local marketing. The first two, however, are about digging out customer questions and providing answers to those questions in a format that is both easy to digest and easy to understand.
Fortunately, our recently released Rank Hacker tool is ready to help us do that, providing a road map which tells us the volume of content we need to release as well as the keywords (including intent keywords) we should be targeting, all while keeping an eye on competitors as they, too, seek to take advantage of SERP features.
After all, our intent is pretty simple: help our clients gather more leads and make more sales. The only way to do that is to get ourselves right in front of customers, and to satisfy them when they click on the answers we’ve provided for them.