Search Intent: The most Important Factor for More Visibility on Google

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a part of the standard repertoire of digital marketing – also for law firms. Content is optimized for a top ranking on Google. Search intent – the motivation behind a search query on Google – is playing an increasingly important role in this respect.

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Search Intent: The most Important Factor for More Visibility on Google

Of course, keywords remain important. So you should still include the right keywords in your texts. However, to get to the top, you also need to consider the intention behind a search query. This determines the success of your website, your blog posts and your landing pages.

What is the search intention?

Users who start a search on Google are pursuing a goal with this query. For example, they are looking for information, want to buy something or contact someone. If you want to land at the top for this search query, your content must meet this intention and fulfill the associated desire.

Google's business model is based on providing its customers with access to the information they are looking for on a user-friendly website within hundredths of a second.

Google is getting better and better at fulfilling this value proposition. This performance is based on Google recognizing the intention behind a query so that it can then offer the appropriate information from all available content.

For example: For the search query "construction defects" there are thousands and thousands of websites that contain the relevant keywords and also fulfill the technical requirements for a good ranking (e.g. page speed).

So how does Google select the top results? This is where the search intention comes into play. Users who search for "construction defects" probably don't just want to know what falls under the term "defects" or what types of construction defects exist. Those affected are primarily interested in how they should proceed and what rights they have. The result on Google looks like this.

Ansicht der Google-Resultate für "Baumängel", die anzeigt, dass Resultate auch das Vorgehen und nicht nur eine Definition enthalten.

Even if several results come into question for the search query, Google recognizes that the users behind the query are not just looking for one definition. So the search engine offers further solutions.

Side note: We could have easily imagined meeting them here...

How does Google know our search intention?

In order to determine the intention behind a search query, Google intensively observes the behavior of us users. Specifically: If a user clicks on a search result for a search query and then returns directly to the search results, Google concludes that the displayed result was not relevant to the search intention. The result: the page slips down.

Kehren hingegen nur wenige User einer bestimmten Anfrage wieder auf die Suchresultate zurück, schliesst Google daraus, dass die Inhalte die Absicht der User hinter der Suchanfrage bedient. Solche Webseiten haben gute Chancen in die Top-Rankings zu kommen.

The following intentions can be recognized in the example of "construction defects":

  • What do I have to do if construction defects are found?
  • What is a construction defect?
  • Who is liable for a construction defect?

Four Categories of Search Intention

There are four categories of intentions behind search queries:

1) Informational

  • Purpose: Users search for information
  • Examples: "What is a will?" or "Writing a will yourself"
  • Typical elements in the search query: W-questions, guide, instructions/tutorial, tips or examples

2) Navigational

  • Purpose: Users search for a specific page
  • Examples: "Law firm Müller contact" or "Outlook login"
  • Typical elements in the search query: brand name, products, contact, registration/login

3) Commercial

  • Purpose: Users prepare a purchase decision
  • Examples: "best lawyer for inheritance law Zurich" or "comparison of large law firms in Switzerland"
  • Typical elements in the search query: comparison, experience, alternative, top, test report

4) Transactional

  • Purpose: Users want to complete an action (e.g. a purchase)
  • Examples: "Book inheritance law seminar online" or "Price legal advice on wills"
  • Typical elements in the search query: Buy, Rent, Participate, Cheap, Price, Cost

What can you do? 3 Steps to More Visibility

It's simple: For your most important keywords / search queries, you analyze the intentions behind the search query, identify the appropriate content formats and then write suitable content on your own website. Easy-peasy.

Step 1: Determine the most important keywords

In the legal sector, companies often lack a structured overview or a targeted approach to the most important keywords. Blog posts, landing pages etc. are created without targeting specific keywords. As a result, the valuable time invested in marketing does not bring the ideal return.

Step 2: Understand the intentions and content formats

To understand how Google evaluates the intention behind a search query, we analyze the top results of the respective search queries.

  • Which pages are displayed at the top?
  • Why do they rank so well?
  • What information is contained here?

It is advisable to study the first 10 to 20 results. In most cases, the information contained in a page can already be recognized in its presentation in the search results. Conclusions about the intention can then be drawn from the recognized content formats of the top results.

Content formats such as news, reports, commentaries, interviews, infographics, quizzes, studies, instructions, training courses and guides are suitable for the search intention "Informational".

The following content formats are particularly valuable for commercial inquiries: comparisons, test reports, rankings, guides, testimonials and demos.

And the search intention "transactional" can be picked up well with the following formats: lectures, webinars, white papers, calculations, case studies, experience reports, demos, free consultations, guides, comparisons and rankings.

These lists are not exhaustive. And the work is not done with the right content format. ⬇️

Step 3: Produce the right content

First, you determine the angle from which you want to approach the topic. Back to our "construction defect": We've seen that there are different intentions in the Google results. For example, you could decide to write a guide for builders or publish an infographic explaining the most common construction defects.

You have now done your homework in preparation. Now you can get started and create your content.

Important: For all your love of content, think about your readers too. Don't forget to structure your texts well and make them reader-friendly.

How HeadStarterz Can Help!

We bring order and structure to your content production. Do you need help implementing these steps or training your team? Digital legal marketing is our core competence.

We look forward to hearing from you.