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SEO – Intent Based Search

6 ways to improve your SEO with Intent based search optimisation

We’re focussing on search marketing, and specifically on creating content that will get you ranked and keep you ranked, using a system called intent based search optimisation.

Rather than focussing on linking and keyword density, intent based search optimisation is all about creating great content that satisfies the needs of someone searching the web.

So please join us as we go into exactly what this means. Because I’m so nice, I’m even going to illustrate it all with an example!

This isn’t a technical-based system – anyone can do it. If you’re a small business owner thinking about your search marketing strategy and what kind of content you can create, this system’s perfect for you.

Don’t feel like reading? No problems, watch this video were I explain everything you need to know.

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The biggest problem in search marketing is that people often jump straight into keyword research and end up building a search strategy that’s not aligned with what their customer actually wants.

In contrast, intent based search optimisation starts by considering the searcher’s intent and context before anything else. Intent based search optimisation has six elements:

Intent, Context, Asset, Channel, Optimisation, Purpose.

Let’s look at each of these and then see how they all fit together.

Intent and Context

Each search query carries an individual’s intent (what they’re searching for) and context (why they’re searching for it).

For example: Imagine you have a hotel on the Gold Coast and Henry, a husband, is looking for accommodation. Henry’s intent is a place to stay. But why is he searching for accommodation? To surprise his wife for their anniversary.

Great! Now we’ve got two elements: Intent and context. Obviously, any intent (e.g. searching for accommodation) could have various contexts (e.g. an anniversary; a business meeting; a family holiday) so when using intent based search optimisation we always need to understand both these parts of a web search.

Once you consider both parts, you can then start to develop content that meets the searcher’s needs very well.


When we search, we hop onto Google and search until we find an asset that satisfies our intent or context.

But the asset is not Google; it’s actually the thing the searcher then looks at or uses e.g. a blog post, infographic, photo, quiz, calculator, video, podcast, review or something else.

For Henry, the asset might be a blog post entitled “Top 10 romantic ideas to surprise your loved one in the Gold Coast.”


The channel is where you asset lives. Once again, Google is not the channel! Google’s just a search engine – the channel could be your website or any other vertical platform where you asset lives.

Your asset could also live on a platform that can be both a search engine and a channel. For example, YouTube can be used as a search engine and as a place for your assets (e.g. a video tour of your hotel) to live.

Other platforms that can house some of your assets include iTunes (for podcasts), Pinterest (for posts), Amazon, Yelp and TripAdvisor but mostly commonly it will be your website.

For Henry’s search, the asset could be a blog post and the channel is your website.

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Optimisation is mainly about converting rather than about ranking. When we have an intent based search optimisation strategy in place, we don’t build content simply for traffic; we build content for conversion as this is its purpose.

In our example, we want Henry to book a room (of course!) but before that he might check out the hotel’s rooms and facilities and photo gallery, and check availability for his anniversary dates. So these are all valid purposes and each one deserves your consideration.

Obviously, even when we use this new intent based search optimisation system we still need to do several standard technical tasks for optimisation.

For example, for a blog post we need to make sure that:

  • The SEO title is right.
  • The meta description follows our keyword strategy (and that we actually have a keyword strategy!).
  • The heading and the page title are correct.
  • The URL structure is aligned with our keyword strategy.
  • The body copy is written well; has the key words in it; is spaced out nicely; and contains imagery or videography (and that all of our images have an Alt tag).

>> Want to know how to optimise your website pages using Yoast SEO check out the tutorial here.<<

But in addition to doing these behind-the-scenes technical things for every page and blog post on your website, we also need to consider social sharing (i.e. integrating buttons into your website that make it super easy for people to like and share your content) and freshness (i.e. going back through your website’s existing content and deciding whether to delete or update each piece of content). Don’t automatically delete all your old stuff – just review it.


OK guys, we’re onto the final piece of the puzzle:

Basically, this is the goal. If we’re creating content, we want the people who see it to perform some action.

Three of the most common goals or purposes are:

  • To consume more content on your website (by clicking around onto various pages and seeing more things like your hotel’s facilities or a photo gallery) for more brand touch points.
  • To opt in for a gated offer (like getting a free ebook or subscribing to your newsletter) so that you get more subscribers.
  • To get a deep discount offer (so the goal here is initial customer acquisitions, and you might then be able to upgrade them to something else).
  • Don’t forget you need to put the calls to action throughout your blog post and/or any other assets so that your visitors can easily reach their (and your) goal.

In Summary

And that’s all there is to it. This covers the six key areas of intent based search optimisation strategy, and it’s definitely something you can implement. Just follow the steps in order.

If you do decide to apply this strategy, I’d love to hear in the comments what  your next asset’s going to be.

Thanks guys!





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We’ll generate you a free & actionable SEO report that will help you increase your website rankings.

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