In our continuing look at the important of user intent, we're focusing on "informational queries" for this piece. Informational user intent occurs when someone uses a search engine primarily for research purposes – they want more data on a specific topic. This user intent is important for turning leads into buyers and building a great B2B brand, so let's look at how to prepare your content for this type of user!
1. Know the Difference Between Casual and Commercial Searches
This may seem like a minor point, but it's vital when you are planning content for informational user intent. You see, there are two types of information searches. The first is casual, tends to be very broad in nature, and usually happens when someone is first getting acquainted with a term or subject. These people aren't usually interested in making any purchase decision, at least not yet, but they do want to find authoritative sources. Commercial searches, however, are all about purchasing. These users want to buy the right product, and are doing research first. Most of your potential sales will come from the second group, but if you want to focus more on thought leadership, spend time appealing to the first group as well.
2. Define Your Audience and the Way They Search
Hopefully you already have customer personas and target audience data to examine, because it's time to link that info to informational searches. You see, your audience not only has particular products/services that it searches for (say, "sheet metal") but also a particular way of searching when looking for more information, say, "wire gauge sheet metal cut to size"). They search based on their needs, their grammar, their age, and several other factors. Study these factors to product content that meets user intent more directly!
3. Data First, CTA Last
Informational queries want information. That means that CTAs often get in the way or annoy people who just want the data. If you've crafted the perfect CTA, good! Don't let it do more harm than good. If you are producing informational content, put the CTA in after the content so that users get what they want. If people are hit with forms or popups the moment they visit a site, they'll move onto somewhere with a purer focus on data.
4. Don't Just Make Information Content – Link to It
Your content can be incredible...but it will always have limits. To really feed information-hungry searchers, you also need to connect to other sources of similar content. Don't just link to your past blog articles – link to respected journals, magazines, whitepapers, and other content outside your site. Remember, informational users are constantly judging you based on how well you are answering their questions. If they find that your content is a hub that can send them out to many other useful spots for research, their esteem will quickly rise.
5. Always Build Credibility (Show, Don't Tell)
In today's information-drenched internet, it's not enough to just put data out there and expect these researchers or decision makers to come running. There are too many choices out there for that! To avoid getting lost in the crowd, put time into your credibility. Do you have a lot of great facts about a product? That's great! Don't just say them – show them through pictures and gifs. Are you proud of production? Don't tell people them – show it through a video walkthrough or diagrams. Every time you publish new, useful information, ask, "What can I do to make this information more complete, more dynamic, more useful?" Build out from there.