It's time to talk about navigational user intent! This type of user intent is easy to parse – people want to find a particular website, so they search for it. They know where they are going, and they are using the search engine as a travel route to get there ASAP. So, if prospects out there are trying to find your website, how can you make sure their intent is fulfilled? Let's talk about it.
1. Know the Two Types of Navigational Searches
There are two primary types of navigational user intent search queries, and the different between them is important when it comes to proper SEO and site building.
- Clear: In this case, users know exactly what website they want to visit. They either know exactly what the domain name is (maybe thanks to a handy business card) or they know the precise name of your company. In this case, your options are limited, because the search is so direct. Thanks to Google's autofill and recall features, many of these users don't even get to a search results page before being whisked away to your site. It's best to stand back and let them get there.
- Fuzzy: These users want to get to your site, but they aren't as precise. They may remember a couple words of your company name, but not the rest – or they may search for vaguer brand terms because "they'll know it when they see it." Accurate SEO and site management can help these fuzzy users find your site much more quickly...without stumbling across competitor sites.
2. Become Master of Your (Unique) Domain
Choose an easy, accurate domain name that reflects the real name of your company! Sounds easy enough – but that's only the first step. Next, you need to make sure that your domain name isn't too generic. There are two things you really want to avoid here. First, you don't want your website to be that close to any of your competitors, to avoid the chance of confusion. Second, you probably want to run a few tests to make sure that individual results from your brand aren't confusing, either. For example, if a search for your company name brings up a mishmash of social media profiles before it gets to your home page, you may be losing some navigational users. Don't let it get in your own way!
3. Name the Names and Understand User Practices
Important keyword phrases should include proper nouns to scoop up all the navigational users (and the terms they may remember in fuzzy searches). That means not only including the full name of your company, but also the names of company leaders, brand names of popular products, and – this one is important – what users tend to call your company and products. If you've got a popular nickname or slang term, you may want to include it as well.
4. Offer Access On Multiple Platforms
Navigation users are searching on many different platforms these days, so make sure your site is easy to find no matter what device people are using. That means plenty of mobile optimization and proper mobile formatting, which Google is now rewarding by boosting your page rankings and making navigational searches more successful.
5. Embrace Voice Searches
Voice searches are particularly important when it comes to navigational intent. Today's intelligent voice command assistants are good at identifying particular sites or company names and bringing up possible results for quick navigation (they aren't quite as good at other types of intent – at least not yet). This makes it very ease for a user to depend on voice searches when finding a particular site. Voice searches appear to prefer simple, direct approaches, so make sure your SEO follows suit.