Identifying user intent is a fundamental SEO building block for digital marketers who want to generate genuine, profitable, and long-standing customer connections. Creating content that checks the right boxes is nearly impossible without a keen grasp of the underlying motivations that drive user searches.
Captivating your audience and showing them precisely what they’re after is vital to boosting SERP positioning and demonstrating your organisation’s expertise and authority in any given field. Successful SEO specialists recognise the catalyst driving search behaviour and alter their content accordingly. Whether someone is looking for knowledgeable answers to specific questions, recommendations, entertainment, or comparisons, your copy must be the relevant piece of the puzzle.
Content Lab consistently explores SEO’s shifting landscape to enhance our approach and deliver the highest-quality content to our clients. We use our blog to share our findings and help our community achieve its goals. We have previously examined important concepts like E-E-A-T, and have identified user intent as another key factor to bear in mind.
Keep reading for a detailed breakdown of the concept of user intent, how Google classifies potential searches, and how this information affects your digital marketing copy. We’ll cover the main types of search intent, how to identify the right category, and essential tips to enhance your own writing. And remember, Content Lab is here to help you boost your SERP rankings and drive targeted engagement. Contact us to see how we can help.
User Intent: A Fundamental Overview
User intent, also called search intent, is the origin of any search query. Understanding the different categories that lead users to make specific search queries is vital so that you can tailor your content accordingly.
For example, individual casino reviews must typically hit comparison and evaluation objectives derived from first-hand experience, as most users will be searching for advice first rather than a specific product.
On the other hand, a sports betting landing page should be geared more towards a specific type of intent, either to find a particular website or to place a wager. In these instances, writers must instil their copy with more practical information and calls to action.
At Content Lab, we’re acutely aware of the nuances that come with different user intent categories. Check below for the four main examples:
Informational user intent is among the most common drivers behind online queries, especially in the iGaming niche. Essential keywords and phrases almost always involve a how, what, when, or why. For example, ‘how to bet on football’ or ‘what is RTP?’. Supplying accurate, up-to-date, and unbiased information is particularly important for online gambling content. It falls under the ‘Your Money Your Life’ umbrella, so writers must pay special attention to get this right. It’s also an area where the E-E-A-T principle rings especially true. Alongside commercial intent, it’s the #1 category for affiliate iGaming websites.
Navigational user intent is arguably the simplest to write for. This category refers to search queries where users are looking for a specific brand or website. Landing pages for online casinos or sports betting sites are the most significant areas where this applies to online gambling content, especially regarding welcome bonuses and other promotions. The most important keywords for navigational search intent are brand names, so bear this in mind.
Transactional user intent refers to users who want to actively make a purchase or register with an organisation. In the iGaming sphere, this generally means depositing or claiming a welcome bonus. Transactional keywords to target can include things like ‘online casino free spins’ or ‘free bets’. Calls to action are especially important for transactional search intent content, ideally with in-built links to make the process even smoother and faster.
Commercial user intent is a stepping stone between the transactional and informational categories. Keywords focus on users actively researching a service or product to purchase. This is another area that iGaming and sports betting affiliate websites must emphasise, as articles can often include keywords like ‘highest RTP slots’ or ‘best casino bonuses’.
Why is Identifying User Intent so Important?
Sole keyword research can only get you so far. Identifying user intent before doing so is absolutely vital to your long-term SEO prospects. As described by SearchEngineJournal, learning how people search will highlight the right keywords and uncover new ways to engage your target audience.
Put it this way: if you run an informational search query to find live dealer games with the lowest minimum table limit, you wouldn’t want to just receive results for specific brands. Instead, the user intent would signal a need for first-hand evaluations and accurate information about various platforms and software providers.
Conversely, running a search for Content Lab copywriting services, for example, would require results directly relating to our brand, as users have already decided on the company they want to use.
Just as leveraging E-E-A-T principles will enhance your website’s rankings, so too will focussing on a precise user intent to target with each piece of writing. To give you a more holistic idea of why identifying user intent before writing and selecting keywords is so important, here are a few more vital factors to appreciate:
- Relevance: Creating content relevant to your target audience is a core digital marketing goal, and understanding user intent is one of the most critical parts of the equation. Before you can supply relevant content, you must consider the underlying motivation behind a search query. Otherwise, your copy won’t be entirely relevant to what a prospective customer actually wants to see, and its value will be diminished.
- User Experience: Users who instantly find highly relevant content for their desires naturally have a more positive experience across the board. This translates into prolonged on-site engagement, increased brand loyalty, and potentially higher conversion rates. For example, an affiliate website that repeatedly shows users precisely the right commercial user intent content will have a better reputation among its readers. Google is also sure to take notice, leading to higher SERP positioning.
- Active Engagement: User intent is a crucial factor when considering the sales funnel and which stage of the buyer journey your target audience is at. Recognising their intent enables you to create content and calls to action that guide users towards conversion. It’s critical for turning visitors into customers or subscribers, especially within the iGaming sphere. Whether you’re writing for an affiliate website or brand platform, conversion will always be the ultimate goal.
- Reduced Bounce: If your website attracts users that regularly bounce, it’s a surefire sign that your content isn’t hitting the right search intent. Bouncing means leaving a site straightaway, almost always because it’s not what you’re looking for. Not only is this a wasted opportunity to gain a new customer, but it also signals to Google that your website isn’t relevant. As such, you could see your SERP plummeting. The best way to combat the bounce is to focus squarely on user intent.
Ticking these boxes results in your content possessing more value for users, influencing Google’s overall SERP rankings as a result. As we’ve explored in previous articles, the search engine’s primary goal is to deliver highly relevant, valuable, genuinely informative, and impartial content to help people find exactly what they’re after.
Moreover, reading through Section 2.2, ‘Understanding the Purpose of a Webpage’, of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines shows how important user intent is for the search engine’s initial ranking system. For example:
‘The goal of PQ rating is to determine how well a page achieves its purpose. In order to assign a rating, you must understand the purpose of the page and sometimes the website’.
Identifying search intent is, therefore, fundamental to Google’s backend evaluation process alongside digital marketing targeting users. The importance of this cannot be overstated; a holistic and maximally effective SEO strategy must always incorporate user intent identification as a core foundational pillar.
Top Methods for Identifying User Intent Before Writing
Identifying user intent isn’t always straightforward, although digital marketers and SEO experts have multiple tools to help them zero in on their specific target audience. Content Lab regularly utilises some of the tactics below to provide the most user-focused copy possible:
- In-depth Keyword Research: Popular SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush can help you identify the best short-tail and long-tail keywords to optimise your content, but this is just scratching the surface. We highly recommend considering each keyword or phrase and categorising them using the different types of search intent. For example, CTA-based keywords like ‘register’ or ‘deposit’ should be reserved for commercial or transactional categories. On the other hand, keywords like ‘how’ or ‘why’ will target informational intent.
- Competitor Analysis: As with all facets of digital marketing, competitor analysis can significantly help businesses and copywriters identify the correct user intent before writing. Pay particular attention to the language and structure used for specific pages and tailor your content accordingly. You can also learn from low-quality pages by looking for elements they don’t perform as well with.
- Surveys & Feedback: Getting user feedback about your website and content is a fantastic way to examine whether your previous content hits the right user intent objectives. You could also gather information from consumers about their experience on other sites and what they’re looking for when searching for particular services or content. This provides invaluable knowledge you can use to influence your decision-making.
- Customer Journey Mapping: Use web analytics tools like Google Analytics to track user behaviour on your website and extrapolate the typical customer journey from awareness to conversion. Doing so will help you identify the keywords to use for each page category. You can also test your existing content to see whether it’s successful. For example, are users reading an entire article focusing on informational intent? Or are users clicking on calls to action on content aimed towards transactional or commercial intent?
- Consider The Intent Marketing Funnel: Customer journey mapping will also enhance your appreciation of the intent marketing funnel. Colin Cooper has a highly informative article providing an in-depth exploration of this essential sales concept. In a nutshell, intent marketing refers to targeting the right customers to ‘reach them at the moment they are most likely to purchase products or services’. The funnel begins with awareness and ends with conversion, with each stage requiring a slightly different user intent concept. Leverage the intent marketing funnel while writing to ensure your copy hits the optimal boxes.
Alongside the steps above, take a step back from writing content and consider what you would want as a consumer if you were searching for a specific term or query. Getting yourself into the right headspace will help you hit the right objectives.
Content Lab: SEO & Digital Marketing Specialists
Content Lab’s experts are firmly committed to staying up to date with SEO best practices to guarantee the best possible copy for our clients across the digital marketing sphere. Check out our Content Lab blog for previous blog posts for vital information on wide-ranging subjects, from the art of proofreading to who to follow in the SEO space.
Whether you’re looking for copywriting, translation, proofreading, enhancement or SEO consultation services, Content Lab is here to take your digital footprint to the next level. Contact us, and let’s get started.
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