Search Engine Optimization is a funny term, because really, your site should be optimized for the searcher. Search engine companies like Google and Bing are constantly working to give searchers what they are looking for, and they are constantly working to prevent companies from being able to “game the algorithm,” because that leads to a poor user experience.

Finding the Right Answer:  Searcher Intent

In “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” they built a supercomputer to give us the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, to everything.  After waiting seven and a half million years, the computer delivers the answer, “42.”

Having the right answer is useless if you don’t know what the question is.  The academic term for identifying the question is “Searcher Intent.”  Researchers break web searches into three basic modes: Informational, Navigational, and Transactional.

Optimizing for Informational Searching

Informational searching is where users are trying to satisfy their curiosity or need for information.  This is where your content marketing strategy lies.  Users who are searching for information are the ones who are consuming the blogs you write, the videos you produce, and the product reviews your other customers are posting.  This is at the top of the marketing funnel, so your approach here needs to be broad.  You should consider creating content with that broad focus in mind, including many simple blogs, videos, and posts that provide a broad overview of anything that you want to be found for.  This is where you can begin to refine your audience, and introduce your ideal customers to your products.

Optimizing for Navigational Searching

Navigational searching is a completely different beast from informational searching.  These users are searching for a specific site, one they know of or one they may just “think exists.”  I may have never been to a business’s website, but I may just guess they have one.  Car dealerships, local stores, my doctor, I assume all of them have a site, though I don’t know for sure.  I may just type their brand name into the search engine to find their site.

This can be top or mid funnel.  This is your branded search.  If your site isn’t in the top search results for your brand name, then there’s a problem.  This is where you add some content to your site that includes your brand name.  Site tags, titles, H1 tags, all of these need to consistently reflect your brand throughout.  The NAP, or Name, Address, Phone Number for your site needs to be consistent across all of your properties, including your site, your My Business pages, your social media, etc.  All of these build you some brand authority, and help you with your branded search.

Optimizing for Transactional Searching

This is your bottom of the funnel search.  If you have a unique product, then maybe it’s a lot simpler to come up for this search.  If you’re in a highly competitive market, well here is where you make your money.  A great technique to build some authority is to look at all keywords you want to be found for, and organize it by how competitive each is.  Take some of the relevant, less competitive keywords, and start generating content that targets those words.  This is not a quick strategy, but as you build up authority with the less competitive words, then your efforts on the more competitive words will bring in better results.

Conclusion

A good SEO strategy involves a three-pronged approach to being found online.  Considering user intent in your strategy can make a big difference in the results you bring in.  The best SEOs work within your existing structure to make small and large changes to help optimize your site to better attract the right customer at the right time.  Is your site optimized?

WSI is the world’s largest network of digital marketers.  Let our team of search engine experts help you optimize your site to attract the right customersContact us today for a free internet business analysis!