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How to Match Content to Searcher Intent
How to tailor your articles to different stages of the buying process
There are a few different reasons why people type queries into search engines. Most affiliate marketers - for obvious reasons - tailor most of their content towards people who are intending to buy a product. This is the most lucrative type of searcher intent, but if all of your content is only targeting people who want to buy, you’re never going to be successful.
In this guide I will teach you how to create content for all types of search queries so you can totally dominate your niche.
Different types of searcher intent
This type of query is entered by a searcher who is interested in buying a certain type of product but hasn’t made their final decision on which product to buy yet. This type of searcher is looking for product reviews, best-of lists, and comparisons. They’re open to considering different products and are evaluating their options.
The keywords in the search query reveal the customer’s intention to buy a product at some point in the future. Some examples of investigational queries are: Best sneakers for running, iPhone vs. Android, Lenovo laptop review, etc.
Informational queries are searched by people who are looking for an answer to a question or solution for a problem. This type of query will bring you few, if any, conversions since the searcher is not planning to buy anything.
You can tell that a query is informational because it won’t reveal purchasing intent. Some examples include: how to fix a flat tire, airport directions, amount of calories in a bag of chips, Ledger wallet instructions, super bowl 2022 winner, who is BowTiedTetra?, etc.
When a searcher types the name of a website or a brand name into Google, it’s referred to as a navigational search. People do this if they don’t know the exact URL of the brand they are trying to visit or if it’s quicker/easier than typing out the full URL.
Anytime the search query refers to a specific brand or website, it’s navigational. Examples include: BowTiedTetra Substack, Jungle Twitter, The New York Times, ShareASale login, Amazon Associates dashboard, etc.
A query that indicates that the searcher has a strong intention to buy is considered to be transactional. Transactional queries differ from investigational queries in that the latter are still gathering information. People searching for transactional keywords are ready to buy NOW.
Anything with the word “buy” in the title or other indicators of immediate purchase intent is a transactional query. Examples include: Domino’s delivery near me, RV for sale, buy Xbox, Samsung Galaxy coupon, etc.
How to tell searcher intent
One way to identify the searcher intent is via the words that are present in the query.
If a query includes words like “how to” or “guide”, then it’s almost certainly informational. If it includes a product name or the words “best”, “review”, or “comparison”, then it’s likely investigational. Brand names and websites are navigational. “Buy”, “for sale”, and “coupon” indicate that the query is transactional.
The problem with inferring searcher intent from keyword modifiers is that not all searches contain them. The BEST way to make sure that your interpretation of the intent is correct is to take a look at the SERPs.
For example, if we enter the query “best sneakers for running”, the top results are best-of lists.
If you want to have any hope of ranking for this query, you’ll need to write your own best-of list.
Best x for y queries are obvious. What about a more ambiguous query? If someone is searching for “flat tire fix”, what exactly are they looking for? My first impression is that there could be three possible things that the searcher is looking for: a local repair shop to get his flat tire fixed, a product that will help him fix the flat tire himself, or a guide to learn how to fix a flat tire.
Let’s enter the query and find out.
This query returned mixed results. The first page of the SERPs is populated by tire repair shops/mobile repair services, a how-to guide, and also a website for a product.
If you’re doing local SEO for a mechanic, this is a great query to target. If you’re running an e-commerce site, you can also possibly rank a product page since it’s returning the result for Fix-A-Flat, a tire repair product. If you are an affiliate, you should focus on writing a how-to guide.
What’s not on the first page? A review or best-of list. This is not an investigational query. People are searching for this because they have a flat tire and want an immediate solution: a product, a service, or a guide on how to fix it themselves.
If you want to be successful with SEO, you have to tailor your site to what searchers are looking for. It doesn’t matter how much you want to push product, if a certain query is only returning informational results, then that’s what you need to write if you want to end up on page one.
Fighting against reality is a losing strategy.
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