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Organic Search 101: Understanding Search Intent

Look, we get it; organic search sounds like something you’d find at a health food store or farmer’s market, but we’re here to help stop the confusion.

What is Organic Search?

Put simply, organic search refers to any enquires you get from a search engine that you don’t pay for.

Organic search is one of the most effective channels to gain traffic or conversions because it’s free – relative to paid search, where you have to pay per click (PPC) to get to the top of the results.

While organic search is free, getting to the top of the organic search results requires some time and investment in search engine optimisation (SEO). Organic search is competitive. If you don’t tick the right boxes, you’ll just get lost in the millions of search results.

Compared to paid search marketing (PPC), Organic search can take time to be effective, but in the long run, it’s by far the most cost-effective means of generating leads and revenue. Organic search is effectively the cornerstone of your digital marketing strategy: You don’t want to pay for every click to your website, you want to get as many free clicks as you can. And because you’re answering users’ questions when they’re asking them, it produces highly relevant traffic and that can result in higher conversions than other channels.

The key to ranking is understanding Search Intent.

What is Search Intent?

Search intent is just a fancy way of saying, ‘what are they looking for?’

This could be:

  1. Informational: For example, trying to get general information on the weather, building standards or historical facts.
  2. Navigational: Navigational intent is people looking for a particular website. They generally know exactly where they want to go when they type on the search bar. For example, they might want to go to Facebook, so they type that straight in.
  3. Transactional: Transactional intent is when people are ready to purchase at the time of searching. For example, they may be in need of some new light bulbs, and they’re ready to order them right away from wherever has the best price.
  4. Commercial: This is when people are doing research on a product or service with the intention of buying in the future. For example, they may be considering painting a room in their house and just looking around to see what the options are and what paints might be suitable.

Keywords and Search Intent

Targeting the right keywords is critical if you want to get to page one of the organic search results. Knowing what keywords to target and the content you should have on your website should be guided by the search intent of your website visitors.

If someone searches for ‘bakeries near me’ this is has commercial intent, but if they search for ‘Billy’s Bakery store locations’, it’s navigational. If they search for ‘how many calories are in a loaf of bread?’ it is informational. Finally, if they search ‘order fresh bread Melbourne’, they have transactional intent. The different intents will dictate the keywords that you’ll want to target, which is the basis of your organic search SEO strategy.

How Do I Answer Search Intent?

So how do you actually work out what people are looking for? It’s all about identifying your target market and making sure the content and experience of your website meet their needs.

Are you a bakery selling cakes? Or a government organisation providing information about new legislation? Are you an accountant looking to take on new tax clients? Knowing your business goals and understanding your consumers is critical to answering the search intent accurately and getting relevant traffic through organic search.

Which Search Intent Should I Answer?

If you’re an eCommerce store, you will obviously want to make sure that your website is optimised with transactional search intent in mind; however, you don’t have to be limited to focusing on a singular type of search intent.

For example, by adding FAQs to your pages, writing blogs or providing well-written product descriptions, you may also broaden your reach and appear in the organic search results for a variety of search intents. The more relevant content you can provide, the more enquiries you will receive, and the better you have positioned yourself as a trusted brand.

Ultimately, focusing on answering the search intent within organic search is one of the best SEO strategies to increase long-term traffic to your site. Not sure where to start with it all? 80/20 Digital can help you improve your organic rankings and drive real results with a dedicated SEO strategy, so give our team a call today and start making organic search work for you.

80/20 Digital's Content & SEO Specialist, Abbey Faulkner is dedicated to staying on top of industry trends and putting her creativity to good use for her clients. She combines her expertise in media and writing to boost rankings, improve brand awareness, increase engagement and generate leads across clients' websites, email marketing and social media.

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