User intent plays an important role within your ecommerce SEO strategy, helping you attract and convert buyers in a way that is highly focused. Understanding HOW people search is extremely beneficial to bringing in traffic that is targeted to your products. When you fail to consider user intent in SEO for ecommerce marketing, the result can often end up hurting your bottom line. When you stop to think about how and why people search for your products, you have the chance to turn even the broadest search into a potential sale.
There are three typical stages of user intent, each with its own place within your ecommerce SEO strategy. Here’s how each stage works:
- Informational searches. During these searches, the user is typically looking for information on a specific product or topic. For example, the user might be looking for broader information on supplements for new mothers. They are not quite ready to purchase but instead, they are looking for information relating to supplements (the best type for new moms, how to take them, what not to take etc). Optimised blog posts and video content targeted to these types of searches will target this user effectively.
- Navigational searches. During these searches, the focus changes from broader information to something a bit more focused. For instance, during this type of search, the user may begin to search for specific information relating to supplements. There is a higher intent at this stage – the user is often still not quite ready to move on to purchase. Here is where you would make use of how-to guides, in-depth blog posts, comparisons of supplements, benefits of supplements, and other optimised content that helps guide the user in their quest for further information.
- Transactional searches. During these searches, the user is ready to move towards making a purchase. For example, the user may search for where they can buy specific supplements. This stage is the most important as it is when the user intent moves towards taking action – ideally, converting into a sale. Special offers and highly focused landing pages, category pages or blog posts will work best for this stage.
How do you go about optimising user intent for a more effective ecommerce SEO strategy? Let’s take a look.
Optimising User Intent in Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy
Of the search types were mentioned above, the most important two include informational and transactional searches. Although navigational searches are also important and should certainly be included within your wider ecommerce content strategy, informational and transactional searches will typically have the biggest impact on your conversion. Along with targeting these types of search phrases, there are a number of other ways that you can optimise your ecommerce SEO strategy around user intent.
Target informational search phrases
Informational searches may seem very broad and generic – and, in some cases, they can be too broad to offer much in the way of value. With that said, when you take the time to sit down with your team and put together a content strategy that is designed for this stage, you can then begin to find search phrases that help to attract the right sort of customer to your store. Remember that the majority of people use search engines to find information. If you are able to create winning informational content, you will be able to add value in the earliest stage of the buying process. This is pure gold as far as conversion goes.
Users at this stage are researching products before they start to make a buying decision. They may not be ready to make a purchase but they are making note of every store and product they encounter in their research. If you are able to answer common questions and provide information that is genuinely useful, you have a far better chance of the user returning when they move towards their purchasing decision. The user will very likely return through the navigational stage if they feel that they are getting the information they are seeking from your blog, website or product pages. Providing value early is therefore key towards optimising for user intent.
Focus on transactional search phrases
Another important stage is the transactional stage. These terms still remain an essential part of any ROI focused website. Needless to say, these search terms are vital for ecommerce websites. These are the phrases that will turn a browsing customer into a paying customer. Ultimately, in order to optimise these search terms and get the most from this stage, you will need to ensure that you are able to give users the best possible value.
Make sure that products can be easily purchased from landing pages or blogs, either through links or featured product displays. Ensure that your calls to action are clear and focused. It’s also important to give the user as much information as they need to complete the purchasing decision. Keep language clear and focused on the product or purchase. That brings us to the next point…
Understand your customer flow
Understanding customer flow is important for informational and transactional searches. You already know that good ecommerce SEO is far more than link building, onsite work, and content. Ideally, you want a cross-marketing approach that incorporates a wide range of channels, each designed to help you attract users and convert them into purchasing customers. When you have a better understanding of how customers use your store, you have a far higher chance of getting this goal sorted. Think about every possible element, from layout to design, CTAs, shopping cart ease of use, navigation, and even the type of content you provide on the site. Make sure that you cater for all types of users but also take the time to invest in strategies such as buyer personas so that your audience is focused and clear. With a clear flow, you will soon see an impact on your conversion.
Adjust your title and meta tags
Don’t forget about the seemingly small details, such as onsite title and meta tags. These will ultimately depend on the user intent stage you are optimising. If you are writing a blog post designed to target users during any of the three search stages, make sure that your onsite elements are aligned. You could also consider factors such as schema markup. Even image optimisation can help to keep your focus on track.
If you are using transactional search phrases, for instance, you would need to not only include your keywords but also use enticing wording on your metadata. If you are using informational phrases, you would use metadata that suggests that users will find answers they are seeking.
Make use of outreach and similar strategies
Finally, it is also worth considering your outreach strategy. Don’t forget that you can also use linkbuilding and other strategies to further optimise user intent as part of your ecommerce SEO strategy. One such strategy is split testing to see how certain pages or blog headers or even metadata compares. You can also experiment with singular or plural versions of your phrases to see whether that has an impact.
SEO is not a fixed science
Experiment, keep testing, keep tweaking and you will begin to see what works and what does not work. This is by far the most effective way to ensure that you get the best results. Ultimately, SEO is not a fixed science. Instead, it is something that is always adapting and changing. Ecommerce SEO is especially fluid, with plenty of chance to adapt your strategies as you find new ways of attracting customers to your store.
When you set a strategy in place and then forget about it, you will battle to see any difference in your traffic or sales. When you adapt and grow, you will start to see how optimising user intent can make all the difference to your ecommerce SEO strategy.