What are Search Intent Signals?

What are Search Intent Signals?

Carl Lewis

Have you ever considered search intent signals before investing in paid search? For those that answered no, you’ve likely wasted money. Despite its importance, it’s often overlooked in favour of a more guestimated approach. Unfortunately, this relaxed attitude can see even the most generously funded PPC campaign fall short.

So, what are search intent signals?

Put simply, search intent can be inferred by those keywords which prospective customers are searching on. Some may have higher intent than others, otherwise known as higher commercial intent. These keywords would suggest a strong desire to make a purchase whether the user is inquiring about a product or making a statement to buy a product – “buy holiday insurance” or “subscribe to Vogue.”

Targeting those keywords with the highest commercial intent – those which can add the most value – is a sure fire way to not only increase traffic, but bring more qualified prospects, generate more leads and drive sales.

The types of search intent signals

Search queries can be defined into one of three categories: navigational, informational, and transactional.

Navigational would be any keywords where the user is seeking to find a specific website e.g. ‘twitter’ or ‘asos login’.

Informational is categorised as the desire to acquire information e.g. ‘cold symptoms’ ‘best bars in Manchester’ ‘smartphone reviews’

Transactional – as the name would suggest – is any search made where the user is intending to make a transaction of some sort. As mentioned above, this covers anything from ‘buy makeup’ to ‘get party event quotes’.

While low intent keywords are either navigational or informational, high intent are always transactional. Think about it – those users looking for information on a topic will be far less likely to make a purchase based on that search.

What’s the advantages?

In the case of online marketing, quality often outweighs quantity. It’s an ethos lost on many marketers who desperately seek to attract as many users as possible in a bid to increase conversions. But this common mistake could be costing money and resources. Say for example, you set up a PPC campaign and fail to consider the keywords with highest intent. Visitors performing informational or navigational searches may be clicking on the ads without any desire to buy anything. You’ll now be charged for that click, but hey, at least you got some visitors, right?!

Wrong. This is quick way to blow your marketing budget without generating any worthwhile results. Instead, by considering those high commercial intent keywords, you may be targeting a much smaller audience, but they’ll be qualified and ready to buy.

Not convinced? Thanks to Google AdWords it couldn’t be easier to target higher intent keywords. There’s heaps of options, few more impressive than ‘Shopping Ads’ which is very lucrative for transactional searches. This from of PPC is guaranteed to be more cost-effective due to the conversion rates and could reduce waste significantly. That said, you’ll want to consider search intent signal before your next campaign. It’s fairly straightforward and the results are likely to impress.

Carl Lewis

Author Carl Lewis

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