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Small Business SEO: What Is “Search Intent” and How Does It Help Increase Sales?

search intent SEO

When someone visits your small business’s website, how do they get there? What search term did they enter to bring them straight to your virtual doors? Did they find what they were looking for, or did they bounce because you didn’t immediately offer up the goods they wanted?

Understanding so-called search intent is a huge part of running a successful website and making a name for yourself in the search rankings.

Here’s what you should know.

What Is Search Intent?

Simply put, search intent is understanding what people are looking for when they enter a query in a search engine. If they search “pressure cooker,” what are they really searching for? Do they want to purchase a pressure cooker? Are they looking for recipes for the pressure cooker they just bought? Are they searching for accessories or replacement parts for their pressure cooker?

We’ll never know, because it’s not a very specific search query. But Google, in its infinite wisdom, creates algorithms that decide what the majority of people are searching for based on the keyword they enter. Those algorithms then rank sites that prove relevant to the search intent higher than those with less relevancy.

Types of Search Queries

Most search queries fall into one of three (very broad) categories:

  • Informational. The searcher wants to know more about a specific thing. They might be wondering where Abraham Lincoln was born, how a combustion engine works or how to replace a shattered iPhone screen. Informational searchers aren’t necessarily buyers. Still, providing them with the information they’re looking for can help establish your brand as an authority, generate leads or keep you top of mind when they are in the market to buy what you’re selling.
  • Navigational. A navigational search is when someone types the name of your small business directly into the search bar. They clearly have knowledge of your business and are seeking you out directly. So it’s important to meet them on their terms with a welcoming, easy-to-navigate website.
  • Transactional. This is where the cha-ching magic happens. A transactional search query is made when someone knows what they want and are ready to buy. These searches should be sent directly to a landing page with an “add to cart” or “buy now” button to make the transaction go as smoothly as possible.

Broadly speaking, you should be actively trying to rank in each of these categories to “handhold” your customer through their entire journey. But wouldn’t it make sense to cut to the chase and only try ranking for the transactional queries?

It’s not quite that simple.

A good way to think of search is by comparing it to a person’s overall health. Let’s say you have exceptional cardio capacity but are extremely stressed all the time. It’s likely, then, that you wouldn’t perform at your peak.

It’s the same with SEO. All the content you create, targeting the different stages of your customer’s sales lifecycle, will help your overall SEO performance.

Just as there’s no such thing as spot treatment for weight loss, there’s no magic bullet that will increase your sales. You need a holistic approach.

Pro Tip: Watch What Google Is Ranking

Google’s algorithms are an ever-changing mystery. But you can still get a glimpse into what it’s looking for just by seeing how it’s currently ranking topics.

Plug your keyword into Google and check out the results that pop up. Is the top content for that keyword mostly blogs or mostly videos? How-to posts or landing pages? Product descriptions or pages that mention a discount?

Once you see the type of content Google is prioritizing for your keyword, it makes it easier to use search intent to climb the rankings. If, for instance, you’re trying to rank for a “small business marketing” keyword and the top results are all blog posts, you need to follow suit.

You can also start digging into your analytics and see which keywords lead to actual sales.

Search Intent Helps You Climb the Rankings!

Understanding exactly what your potential customer is looking for, then delivering the goods as painlessly as possible, will put your small business in Google’s good graces. In turn, you should climb the search rankings and see more people in your sales funnel. A little research and some keyword-tweaking is all it takes to get started!

Do you need a bit of help growing your small business? Make Mischa Communications your first call. We can’t wait!