Your ability to address the search intent is of utmost importance for ranking well on Google. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, search intent is basically the expectation that searchers have. Google’s goal is to fulfill people’s expectations when they perform a search.
Many marketers (including our own Joshua Hardwick) tend to group all searches into four distinct search intent buckets: informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial.
But I’m not a big fan of that approach.
Let me give an example. Instead of trying to figure out if the search query “backlink checker” is informational, navigational, or transactional (and what that means for your page anyway), it is much more productive to review the actual top-ranking pages for that keyword and analyze what searchers get from them.
SERP overview for "backlink checker"
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As you can tell from the screenshot above, all the top-ranking pages for the keyword “backlink checker” are free online tools. So the search intent of this keyword is “a free online tool to check backlinks.”
Thus, if you try to target this keyword with a blog article or a landing page, it won’t work.
I know this for a fact because we actually tried it.
Organic traffic for our "backlink checker" page increased after we nailed search intent
Above is the graph of organic search traffic to our backlink checker page.
Before the end of 2019, it was just a simple landing page explaining that Ahrefs has a backlink checker tool and offering people to sign up for our paid trial. No matter how much we optimized that page, it never ranked higher than #8 for that keyword.
Then we studied the pages that were outranking us and realized that all of them were free online tools. And as soon as we converted our landing page into a free tool, it shot up to #1 for the keyword “backlink checker” and started ranking high for many other relevant keywords.
Infographic showing the before (landing page) and after (page to use free tool) versions of our "backlink checker" page
So instead of trying to decide if the search intent of your keyword is “transactional” or “informational,” just browse the top-ranking pages and figure out what exactly people expect to get from it.