When it comes to understanding user search intent a common issue is that one search query may have multiple meanings, for example someone searching for “Mercury” may be looking for information about the planet or the element.
Search engines such as Google handle this issue by classifying the query by its interpretation. The interpretation of the query can then be used to define intent. Query interpretations are classified into the following three areas; Dominant, common and minor. Which helps to understand the user's search intent. This is a key part of the equation that is often overlooked when content is produced, it’s great that you are wanting to rank your business for a specific term or keyword but the content has to not only be relevant but also satisfy the users intent.
This article will explain not only what a search query and intent is, but also how intent relates to the content we produce, and how to better understand it for the best optimisation.
What is a Search Query?
A search query is a question, keyword or phrase based on a specific search term that a user types into a search box in order to pull up a list of results to satisfy their information needs. Web search queries are distinctive in that they are often plain text or hypertext with optional search-directives.
What is Search Intent?
Search or User intent is the purpose behind people's search queries; when they click on to a search engine, their intent is their dominant concern. And, the same should be true for your business. While SEO best practices focus mainly on key-word optimisation, it's time to turn your attention to user intent instead. As you want to be providing the correct information about what that person is searching for. There have been a lot of studies conducted into understanding the intent behind a query; and this is reflected by the types of results that search engines such as Google display.
Basic theories on how a user is searching for a specific store (e.g. The Warehouse), they are most likely looking for their nearest store or the online shopping website, not the brand’s head office in Auckland.
Understanding Search Intentions
When trying to understand search intentions there is the Do - Know - Go concept, that search queries can be segmented into three categories: Do, Know, and Go. These classifications then to an extent determine the type of results that search engines deliver to its users.
“Do” - the user wants to complete a specific action, such as booking an appointment or purchasing a product from an eCommerce site.
“Know” - the user is searching for more information about a certain topic
“Go” - the user is searching for how to get to a specific place, for example if they search ‘Facebook’ they are probably wanting to go to that specific website.
Defining the user's intent is one thing, but the user's journey is a completely other. We assume that users know exactly what they want to do when they are searching, but mobile and voice search have introduced a new dynamic to our daily lives that shapes our day-to-day decisions in a way like never before. Businesses need to learn to optimise for voice search and be able to provide the information people are seeking in ‘micro-moments’
Micro-moments are also evolving. These micro-moments have made us change and question our understanding of the user journey. People are no longer just searching in a single manner, they are asking their Alexa a question as if talking to an actual person and because of how Google has developed in recent years, there is no single search results page. This can actually help us to determine the stage that the user is at, and through the search results that search engines display.
This is why it is important to understand a user's search intent. This will help your business to choose the right keywords for your campaign, whether that’s through SEO, AdWords, blog posts, or other content marketing. The key is to make your website appear to relevant users - for example there’s no point placing Google Ads for your takeaway restaurant when users are searching words related to fine dining, and eat-in restaurants. As this would be a waste of your budget going towards people that are unlikely to want your restaurant in that instance.
If you want help to better understand user search intent and want to be putting your business in front of the right people at the right time. Our expert team at Firefly can help you send your business skyrocketing. We specialise in digital marketing strategies, performance marketing (SEO, Google Ads, Social Media Ads) and data analytics. Get in touch with us today!