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Understanding User Intent [The Key to Successful Inbound Lead Generation]

Understanding User Intent to Boost Inbound Lead Generation

Attracting users to your website is one thing, but converting them into paying customers is a different beast altogether. If you are not seeing conversions despite generating more organic website traffic, there is a high chance you are not catering to the user intent.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what user intent is, the different types of user intent, and how you can leverage these insights to improve your inbound marketing efforts.

What is User Intent?

User intent is the purpose behind a specific search query, and it can fall into one of three categories:

1. Navigational intent

Navigational search intent refers to a user’s search query that is aimed at locating a particular website or web page. This type of search intent is commonly used when a person wants to visit a specific website, such as social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Twitter), e-commerce stores (e.g. Amazon, Walmart), or news sites (e.g. CNN, NY Times).

An example of navigation intent is if a user searches “Facebook login page.” The user already knows the website they want to navigate to and is using a search engine to quickly access it.

When it comes to SEO, ranking for navigational intent searches is more or less a byproduct of good optimization. In a sense, it’s equivalent to ranking for your brand name.

An Example of Navigational Search Intent
An example of navigational search intent

2. Informational intent

Informational search intent refers to a user’s search query that is aimed at discovering information about a particular topic. This type of search intent is commonly used when a person wants to learn something new, explore an idea, or gain knowledge on a particular subject.

An example of an informational search query would be something like “how to make vegan chocolate cake.” In this example, the user is looking for a step-by-step guide or recipe rather than a specific website or product.

As a content creator or marketer, catering to informational search intent can be beneficial as it allows you to capture users who are top-of-funnel — meaning, they’re at the start of their buying journey. 

An Example of Informational Search Intent
An example of informational search intent

In the context of SEO, you’ll want a website that ranks for various informational searches as these provide good opportunity for generating lots of organic website visitors. By covering various topics in this manner, you can attract users who are at the start of their buying journey. Once educated, you can then lead these users to a point of conversion — whether that’s subscribing to a newsletter or filling out a form to engage your services.

Here is a list of phrases that would qualify as informational intent. Knowing these, can help shape your content strategy and ensure you’re covering topics in their entirety:

  • How to…
  • Best practices for…
  • Tips for…
  • Ways to improve…
  • Guides to…
  • What is…
  • The history of…
  • Explaining…
  • Step-by-step guide to…
  • Frequently asked questions about…
  • Pros and cons of…
  • Reviews of…
  • Comparison of…

3. Transactional intent

Transactional search intent refers to a user’s search query that is aimed at completing a specific transaction, such as making a purchase, signing up for a free trial, or filling out a form. This type of search intent is commonly used when a person has already made a decision to purchase or take action, and is looking for a specific product or service to fulfill that need.

An example of transactional search intent would be a query like “buy Nike Air Max shoes.” In this example, the user has already made a decision to purchase the shoes and is now looking for a website or page where they can complete the transaction, indicating their transactional search intent.

As a business owner or marketer, catering to transactional search intent is a no-brainer. At the end of the day, your SEO efforts should be aimed to increase website conversions. 

An example of transactional search intent
An example of transactional search intent

By optimizing for transactional search intent, your website will be more likely to appear at the top of the SERPs when someone types in specific keywords related to your product or service, and the user will be more likely to convert into a paying customer.

Here are some examples of phrases that match transactional intent. Knowing these, can help inform content and interactive elements that should be included on your webpages:

  • Buy…
  • Purchase…
  • Get a quote for…
  • Sign up for…
  • Register for…
  • Download…
  • Subscribe to…
  • Add to cart…
  • Checkout…
  • Book…
  • Schedule…
  • Reserve…
  • Request a demo…

Why Do You Need to Cater to User Intent?

Understanding your audience’s intent and providing them with relevant information that aligns with their search query can help drive traffic to your website and keep potential customers engaged.

In this section, we’ll discuss why understanding user intent is essential for inbound marketing success and the benefits of aligning your marketing efforts with your audience’s intent.

  1. Improved User Experience: By providing content that matches the user’s search intent, you create a seamless user experience that keeps potential customers engaged and on your website for a longer period.
  2. Better Search Engine Rankings: Search engines like Google appreciate websites that provide relevant and helpful content to users. By creating content that matches user intent, you’re more likely to improve your search engine rankings, leading to increased visibility and traffic to your site.
  3. Increased Conversion Rates: When you cater to user intent, you’re more likely to attract qualified leads who are already interested in what you have to offer. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of conversions, and ultimately boosts your revenue.
  4. Higher Engagement Rates: By creating targeted and engaging content, you’ll be able to keep potential customers on your website for longer periods, reducing bounce rates, and increasing engagement rates.
  5. Better ROI: By creating content that caters to user intent, you’ll be able to achieve better returns on your investment in content marketing. Instead of creating generic content that doesn’t resonate with your target audience, you can create highly targeted content that leads to more conversions and revenue.
  6. Improved Brand Credibility: By creating content that caters to user intent, you’ll be seen as a trusted and credible source of information in your industry. This, in turn, can attract more customers to your website and grow your brand reputation in the market.
  7. Competitive Advantage: By creating content that’s tailored to user intent, you set yourself apart from your competitors who may be creating generic content. This gives you a competitive advantage in the market, making your website more attractive to potential customers.

How Do You Know If Your Website Isn't Optimized For User Intent?

There are a few signals you can track in Google Analytics to determine if your website is optimized for user intent. 

By measuring the following, you can gain a better understanding on whether the tactics and strategies we’ll provide below are necessary.

  1. High Bounce Rates: A high bounce rate could indicate that users aren’t finding the content they are looking for or that the website design is not user-friendly. Additionally, a high bounce rate might indicate that your SERP presence is misleading — for instance, a user is expecting to find guidance on a topic but instead lands on a page that is strictly selling a product or service.
  2. Low Average Time on Site: If users are leaving your website quickly, it may suggest that the site isn’t providing the content or information users are looking for. It could indicate you need to adjust your content to better meet user needs.
  3. Low Pages per Session: If users are not navigating through the website, it may suggest that the site isn’t easy to navigate or that users are not finding the content they need.
  4. Low Conversion Rates: If users are not converting after visiting your site, it may suggest that users are not finding what they are looking for or that the site may not be providing enough information about the product or service.
  5. Poor Engagement Metrics: If your engagement metrics, such as form fills, are low, it may suggest that you’re not creating content that is educating users and helping them make informed purchasing decisions.

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How to Leverage User Intent for Inbound Lead Generation

Understanding user intent is crucial for inbound lead generation, but it’s not enough to simply know what it is. To turn that knowledge into successful marketing results, you need to leverage certain SEO tactics and strategies that meet the user’s expectations. By doing so, you’ll be able to create more targeted content, optimize your website for search engines, and generate more leads and conversions.

In this section, we’ll discuss concrete tactics and strategies for leveraging user intent. By implementing these methods, you’ll be able to improve your inbound lead generation performance and ultimately grow your business.

SEO Tactics for Leveraging User Intent

  1. Keyword Mapping: Conduct thorough keyword research to identify the keywords and search terms that your target audience is using to search for topics related to your business. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, or SEMrush to find those keywords and optimize your content accordingly.
  2. Content Creation: Create high-quality, informative, and engaging content that addresses the questions and interests of your target audience. Tailor your content to match the type of user intent – informational, navigational or transactional – to meet your target audience where they are at in their customer journey.
  3. On-Page Optimization: Optimize your website content and metadata, including headings, titles, descriptions, and internal links to ensure they align with your target audience’s search intent. This will help search engines understand the relevance of your content, and help you rank higher in search results.
  4. Site Structure Optimization: Create a logical site structure with clear navigation paths and URLs that match common search queries related to your target audience’s interests. This will help search engines understand the organization and context of your content and help you surface in relevant search results.
  5. Analytics and Tracking: Track and analyze user behavior, engagement, and conversion rates on your website to better understand how you can adjust your content, metadata, and site structure to match user intent and improve your inbound lead generation efforts.

SEO Strategies for Leveraging User Intent

  1. Creating Targeted Content: Create content that specifically targets the user’s search intent. This means tailoring content to meet their needs based on user context, such as the user’s location, demographics, and previous search behavior.
  2. Personalizing Content: Use the data you collect on users to personalize your content across all stages of the customer’s journey to increase engagement and drive more conversions. This includes personalized homepage greetings, recommended content, or product recommendations based on previous searches and purchases.
  3. Mobile Optimization: With mobile having surpassed desktop traffic, it’s critical that your website is optimized for mobile. This includes designing mobile-first and ensuring the design is suitable for mobile users, ensuring page speeds are fast, and deploying responsive designs across all your website pages, as well as ensuring information is easily accessible and digital interactions, like button clicks, are functional.
  4. Optimizing for Voice Searches: As the use of voice assistants and smart speakers continues to grow, optimizing your website for voice searches can help you capture more qualified leads; especially for informational and transactional search queries. 

Elevate Your Inbound Lead Strategy

In conclusion, understanding user intent is essential to creating successful inbound lead generation strategies. Optimizing your content, website, and marketing efforts to match user intent can lead to higher search engine rankings, increased engagement, and ultimately more conversions and revenue for your business.

It’s important to keep in mind that user intent can vary depending on the stage of the customer journey, and it’s crucial to tailor your content and marketing efforts accordingly.

By continually analyzing user behavior and data, you can adjust your inbound lead generation strategies and ensure you’re providing your target audience with the information, products, and services they’re looking for.

We have a proven track record in this field, so if you’re looking for sound guidance or a team of expert SEOs to energize your marketing efforts, get in touch

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