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What Is Intent-Based Content? An Introduction

What is intent-based content, and why is it important to your marketing plan? 

Published: August 2, 2022
Intend based content

Rebekah Carter

Focusing on “intent” when creating content makes thinking about why customers engage with your blogs, watch your videos, or read your articles. 

The age of “intent-based content” has emerged mainly as a response to changes in search engine algorithms. Tools like Google now examine intent to deliver the most relevant answers to consumer queries. 

When you consider “intent” in your content strategy, you can improve your chances of ranking higher with your SEO efforts while also forming deeper relationships with customers. 

Let’s dive a little deeper into the reality of intent-based marketing.

What is Intent-Based Content?

In the past, Google’s algorithm would return search queries based on the presence of specific keywords alone. This often meant companies would invest in spammy SEO strategies focused on repeating the same terms on a web page time and time. 

As the digital landscape evolved and customer expectations changed, Google began focusing more on the context around a search query. Rather than just looking at the keywords a customer searched, the algorithms would also consider why they were searching for that word. After all, the “intent” behind a search for a “Content marketing forum” is very different to “what is content marketing?”

Creating intent-based content is how business leaders can ensure they adhere to the expectations of the latest search algorithms. However, it’s also a valuable tool for interacting with your customers through every stage of the purchasing cycle. Some marketers even believe intent-based targeting leads to better results than demographic targeting alone. 

The more you know about a customer’s intent, the more you can tailor your marketing and sales messages to suit their specific focus at the time. 

What are the Types of Intent?

Notably, there are many reasons someone might search for something online. Most of the time, however, intent falls into a few distinct categories:

Navigational Intent: 

When someone types the name of a company or a specific website URL into Google, they’re looking for a particular location. Navigational intent is usually something you’ll see most often from people who already know about your website. 

Making sure your online presence is optimised for navigational intent is often an excellent way to boost sales. For instance, you could invest in your company on Google my Business and ensure your website URL is easy to remember.

Informational Intent:

One of the most common types of intent in the digital world, people with informational purpose are looking for answers. For instance, if you search for “How to make carbonara sauce”, you’re looking for specific guidance on how to do something. On the other hand, if you searched for “carbonara sauce”, you could just as quickly be looking for insights into where to buy the product.

Google can detect informational intent in a search surprisingly well. The company’s intelligent algorithms have developed a deep knowledge of how people search over the years. At this point, the search engine knows when people search for “Mercury” in certain parts of the world, they’re more likely to be looking for information about the planet rather than the element, based on historical data.

Transactional Intent:

Possibly the most exciting form of intent if you’re selling a product or service, transactional intent indicates a person’s desire to buy something. When you search for a specific product online, like “Sony PS5”, Google knows you’re probably looking for insights into where to get the item. 

These days, you don’t necessarily need to put the word “buy” or the words “for sale” into a search for a query to be identified as transactional intent. 

Investigative Intent:

According to some marketing experts, another form of intent in today’s digital world combines informational and transactional purposes. An investigative dream involves doing specific research to help you decide what to buy.

For instance, if you’re looking for the phrase “Best lightbulbs in 2022”, you’re probably looking for advice on which products to buy. 

Why is Intent-Based Content Important?

While intent-based content marketing can require extra work, it’s well worth the effort. Producing content for different types of intent means you’ll be able to connect with your customers through various stages of the purchasing journey. 

As your customers move through the buying process, seeking out information to guide them online, their intent changes. When you target that intent with your content, you can bring your customers back to your website over and over again. This means you have more opportunities to capture audience attention and boost sales. 

Intent-based content is essential because:

  • Search engines already use it: Search engines like Google rely heavily on intent-based algorithms to improve their chances of giving customers exactly what they want. Modern-day search engines constantly look for examples of intent to help them decide which information to show to customers. 
  • It builds customer relationships: As mentioned above, intent-based marketing helps you connect with your audience at multiple stages through the buyer journey. Most customers have already done extensive research about a company before they consider purchasing. If they’ve already been able to gather helpful information from your brand, they’re more likely to trust your products.
  • You can boost conversions: Intent-based content marketing is also a fantastic way to increase your chances of conversions. Using marketing for each form of intent, from investigational to informational purposes, you can position yourself as a thought leader for your customers while simultaneously drawing attention to the positive attributes of your business or product.

As the search engines grow more intelligent and customers continue to do the majority of their research for purchases online, the demand for intent-based content will only continue to grow.