Next Search Intent — Whiteboard Friday
Satisfying search intent is a critical component of our daily SEO work. But if you’re not thinking ahead to what a searcher might look for after that initial query is answered, you could be missing out.
In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Ola tells you what “next search intent” is, why it’s important, and how to optimize for it.
Hi, Moz fans. I’m Ola King. I’m a user researcher here at Moz, and I’m excited to join you today for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today I’ll be talking to you about the next search intent. In a previous Whiteboard Friday, I mentioned the three bosses of SEO, and one of the factors that I mentioned affecting SEO are the search intents behind each and every search.
So everyone performing a search on a search engine is looking for something, and the search intent is the purpose behind that search. As an SEO, satisfying that search intent is critical to the success of your content. Britney Muller has a very in-depth Whiteboard Friday on this topic already, so I’m not going to be covering that. Logan Bryant also has another topic called the hidden search intent. So that’s something you should check out as well.
But today I am going to be talking about what happens after you satisfy the initial search intent, so the next search intent.
What is next search intent?
So what’s next search intent? Well, if you’re looking at search as a journey, the next search intent is the next step in a searcher’s journey that is what someone would most likely be looking for next after they’ve completed the objective of a particular page.
So if search intent helps a searcher stay on your page, next search intent helps a searcher stay on your site.
Why is it important?
So why is this important? Well, SEO is not just about ranking. In order to really maximize your efforts for SEO, you have to start thinking about how are your pages converting, how do the pages move people into the next stages in your funnel, so funnel optimization, what’s the user experience for your searchers, what’s the customer journey like and how are they engaged with the relevant content that you want them to be engaging with, how is this helping you retain your ideal customers or searchers, and how is each and every content internally linking with other pieces of content that you have on your site, and also the traffic distribution as well, so how are you moving traffic from the the top-performing pages into pages that might not be getting as much traffic.
How to identify next search intent
So how do you implement next search intent? Well, the goal of next search intent is really to identify what people are most likely to search for next and then nudge the searchers into those next actions. So you can do this with simple calls to action, embeds on pages, and links from one page to another.
Or you can get more advanced by tweaking your nav bar, making things a bit customized, adding a read next section to each one of your pages, having launchers that pop up. So many different ideas. Pretty much your goal is just to think of a particular page and think as a user, as a searcher, “What would I most likely need next after I’ve consumed this information?”
So some ways to get ideas is to understand your searcher’s persona, look at similar keywords that might be related to what your page is ranking for, look at other ranking keywords that you are ranking for as well. Look at what your competitors are ranking for that you might not be ranking for. This might give you ideas of your blind spots for content that might not be relevant to your particular page but other related pages.
Understand the curiosity journey. So this is like customer journey, but instead of looking at your funnel, you’re trying to look at, in terms of an information let’s call it map, what would someone want to know about next. Focus on the user experience as well. Providing the most relevant information always helps with a good user experience.
Check your Google Analytics and see what pages are people visiting when they land on a particular page. That will give you clues into what’s the next page or next intent that they want. You can also look on Google. Just search for a keyword and you can see for some keywords the people search next as well, and that’s the most obvious way to find the next search intent.
Four types of search intent
So how do you do this? Well, if you’ve watched Britney’s video or other information around the search intent, you will understand that there are four main types of search intent — so informational, commercial, navigational, and transactional.
So for informational, your goal is really to provide a good user experience and to optimize your funnel so that you can move people or searchers from one page to another. So you can do this by surfacing related content and then linking to your relevant pages on your site.
For the commercial one, your goal is for conversion because commercial is just about purchase intent.
So you can do this by adding a comparison of your competitors’ product or similar products that you have on your site, adding coupons, discount, and answering any objections that someone might have. So be proactive on the information that they would need before they need it and then surface it onto your page.
Navigational, the goal is also a good user experience, retaining people on your website, and making sure you optimize your journey, so that’s traffic and flow from one page to the most relevant next page. You can do this with launchers that pop up as users perform certain actions on the page.
You can have customized nav bars. You can set up your site links correctly so that from the search engines that becomes apparent what page people can visit as well.
So for transactional, this is someone already knows what they want and they are just trying to buy things. Your goal in this case is just to convert and upsell.
So you want to have your related products surfacing, have your product variations, and then have the compatible purchases, like Amazon’s people also buy type of thing. You can put a little demo as well to help the searchers who might be looking for how your product works in real life by being proactive and having that on your page.
But yeah, so that really is the next search intent. If you have any ideas that I might have missed, please don’t hesitate to reach out and I would love to learn from you as well. The main key points to learn about this is when it comes to SEO, you want to think about things in a holistic way.
You don’t want to just look at one page on your site. You want to look at how each page connects, and understanding the next search intent allows you to bring value from one page that is performing well to other pages on your website so that your entire site can be blooming. But yeah, thanks for joining me today and see you next time.