User intent is the key to the castle and you’re ignoring it.
Let me ask you a few simple questions:
- How much time do you spend on keyword research?
- How much time do you spend creating article briefs?
- How much time & money is spent creating your content?
- How much time & money is spent promoting your content?
You now have a clear picture of how your resources are being invested.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you were able improve your ROI and make better use of your precious resources while also improving user experience?
Well…you can. It’s simple.
You need to create content around the current intent of your visitor based on the keywords they’re using to solve their problems. Doing so will help increase conversion rate, increase time on site, decrease bounce rate, and improve overall UX.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is User Intent?
- 2 The Keyword Conversion Funnel
- 3 Writing to the Intent of the User
- 4 The Final Word
What is User Intent?
User intent refers to the “want” or “need” someone has in mind when they perform a search.
When someone performs a query on a search engine, they have a specific question that needs to be answered or a problem that needs to be solved. Google’s goal is to present them with the best option to meet their needs.
This means that, in order to rank highly for a given term, you’ll need to have content on your landing page that resolves the pain point that the visitor is currently experiencing.
This makes a lot of sense logically. People are constantly seeking trusted resources, product specifications, user reviews, and all types of different information.
If you can first identify those needs by analyzing the underlying intent associated with the keywords used at the search engine level, you will have a much easier time creating content that matches the intention of the user so that you can ultimately lead them to a conversion.
Additionally, by fully addressing the intent of a given keyword within your writing, you will be giving yourself a shot to be the “best” option and ultimately ranking in the top spot for a given query.
The Keyword Conversion Funnel
Marketers have long used hierarchy of effects models to help them identify where in the conversion funnel a user currently resides. By segregating users into buckets like this, marketers are better able to identify common trends at various stages of the funnel. That information will then allow them to engage with the user in a way that directly addresses their current intent.
Within a given overarching topic, keywords will generally fall into one of three intent categories that signify which stage of the funnel they’re currently in at the moment. We’ve also added a fourth category (commercial) that is somewhat of a mix between informational and transactional intent.
- Informational – informational keywords represent users seeking more information on a topic regardless of how specific or vague
- Navigational – navigational keywords represent users seeking a specific person, website, location, or brand that they think will help resolve their issue
- Commercial – commercial keywords represent users seeking more information on a specific type of resolution to their problem
- Transactional – transactional keywords represent users that are ready to take action in the very near future
Each stage of this model contains users who have very different mindsets. They are using different search queries to find the information they need.
Taking the time to identify which queries are associated with which stage in the model will allow you to engage a user based on their current mindset and then move them towards the bottom of the funnel where they will be ready to make an action.
Writing to the Intent of the User
Let’s take a look at how we can craft our articles around user intent for each of the four stages of the keyword conversion funnel.
Since my personal experience is in affiliate marketing, we’ll use an ongoing example for a fictional niche site to illustrate the idea. However, these basic concepts will apply to just about any site.
For our example, we’ll be using the topic of “crate training” for dogs. Within the overarching topic, there are various keywords that land in each of our four stages. We’ll show you the characteristics of keywords in each stage and specific keyword examples.
When someone uses an informational keyword to perform a query, they are looking to fulfill a need for information on a given topic. Empirical evidence has shown that approximately 48% of all search queries are informational in nature.
A key point to make about this stage in the funnel is that users don’t always know that the information they need exists. They don’t have a particular resource or website in mind when they perform their query. Instead, they’re simply assuming that the information exists and use logical queries to find it.
Here are few easy ways to identify informational intent keywords:
- They use who, what, where, when, and why (how to, when was, what is)
- They do not include technical terms or jargon words
- They are descriptive and generally use 2 or more words in the query
- How long does crate training take
- What is crate training
- Why is crate training important
- Crate training tips
Someone using these queries to perform searches are just getting started. They have an idea that a topic exists and that it could potentially be the thing that resolves their problem. The queries they use demonstrate that they understand that the information they need is probably available and that they’re using the most logical phrases to find it.
Your goal, at this stage, is to create content around these terms that helps a user to become more aware of the topic. Example article titles could be:
- Crate Training 101: Getting Your Dog Used To Their Cage
- 51 Effective Crate Training Tips You Can Use Today
As you can see, the article title examples mirror the keywords pretty closely when it comes to informational terms. The key takeaway here is that your content should provide the information the user is seeking. No more, no less.
Keywords that fall in the navigational bucket tend to be around specific websites, places, people, or locations. Users are using these queries because they assume entities exist or they have seen them already.
They are using these terms because they are already aware that there is a solution to their problem and are now looking to find specific resolutions to that problem.
Navigational keywords are identified as queries using:
- Brand names, domain names, specific people, etc
- TLD suffixes
- Phrases using 3 or less words
- MidWest dog crates
These users already know, in general terms, what they need to fix their problem and are using the most logical search queries to help them find the web pages that will have what they need.
Navigational searches are a bit tricky to create content around and will largely depend on your niche, type of site, and the pain point of your visitors.
Using our “crate training” niche site example, I would most likely be creating brand overview pages to address navigational intent. Users don’t yet know about a specific product or service that will fix their problem, but they do have a good idea of which companies can help.
The brand overview pages would be titled something like:
- Petmate Dog Crates
- MidWest Dog Crates
The content on these pages would speak about the various product or service offerings within the product category from the brand, their UVP within the category, and other related information. We want to present the user their options at this point.
The commercial intent stage represents users that already know what they need, but don’t yet know the exact option that they’ll choose to resolve their issue. They may have an idea of a few options available to them, but will need more information before they can make a decision.
Users will modify their queries to hyper-target options that best fit their needs.
Commercial intent queries may include:
- Review-focused words: best, review, compare, versus
- Modifiers: men, large, green
- Expertise words: expert, master, professional
- Best Dog Crates
- Petmate vs. MidWest
- Petmate 2 Wire Crate
- Professional Crate Training in Babylon, New York
This group of people are getting real close to taking action. They know they’re going to need a dog crate and maybe even a professional trainer who has a lot of experience.
For all of your niche site and authority site builders, this content is going to be your bread & butter and will likely be the bottom of your content funnel. Example content ideas include:
- Best Dog Crates of Large Breeds in 2018
- Petmate 2 Door Training Retreat Wire Crate Review
- Petmate vs. MidWest: Which Company Makes A Better Dog Crate?
- Babylon Crate Training Provider Directory
The running theme here is that the user wants to make an action, but just needs more detail.
So, the pages that target these keywords should provide that detail to them. Commercial keyword pages typically will have comparison sections, specific product reviews, and even buyer’s guides to help visitors make the best choice. We know that the visitor is ready to make a move, so these pages should include all the information needed to make that action as easy as possible.
Finally, we arrive at the bottom of the keyword funnel. Transactional keywords are used when someone already knows exactly what they want and are ready to take action.
Keep in mind that the action they’re looking to take doesn’t always mean money will be changing hands. They may be ready to submit their personal information (generating a lead) or accept one source as the one they will use (recipes, lyrics).
Transactional intent queries often include:
- Price modifiers: buy, discount, lowest price, coupon, etc
- ‘Download’ modifiers: download, software, widget, etc
- ‘Obtaining’ modifiers: recipes, checklist, etc
- Buy Petmate 2 Wire Crate
- Petmate 2 Wire Crate Lowest Price
- Petmate 2 Wire Crate Coupon Code
- Crate Training Price Quote
Now, most niche and authority sites won’t have this type of content on their site. You’ll typically link to this style of content with your affiliate link.
The user will be expecting a landing page that explains the benefits of the product or service and how exactly it will solve their problem. The page needs to have a form that can be submitted or a shopping cart so that the user can make a purchase. Since the user has already decided that THIS is the product or service they’re going to use, the content should focus on making it as easy as possible for the user to take action.
The Final Word
You spend a lot of time and money creating content. It’s in your best interest to craft that content around the intent of the user so that you have a better shot of converting that user immediately or in the future.
Segregate your topical keyword vocabulary into the four stages represented in the Keyword Conversion Funnel. Then, create different pieces of content for each stage that directly addresses the user’s intent as they make their way down the funnel towards action.