5 tricks to tackle search intent mismatch


It is a continuing misconception that SEO is as simple as picking the keywords with high volumes, adding those keywords to your page and then building a few links. This strategy will not work if the content does not also match the reason visitors are typing in the query. 

If your site is suffering from search intent mismatch, you’ll be contending with depleted rankings, reduced dwell time and fewer conversions. Ultimately, you will be spending budget and never generating a ROI. 

To ensure your content is aligned with your target audience’s search intent, check out these 5 tricks to tackle mismatch issues. 

1. Use keyword modifiers 

Make your primary keyword more specific with words or phrases that convert it into a long-tail query. There are different types of modifier you can utilise: 

  • Location modifiers will help with targeting users seeking a product or service near them. If you are based in a specific city or have a physical location somewhere, then use the modifier ‘near me’ in your content optimisation strategy 
  • Time modifiers can help users to find your content at a specific time. For example, if an ecommerce store applies the modifier ‘summer’, to specific seasonal stock, content can be tailored accordingly to ensure it’s found during this time 
  • Intent modifiers such as ‘buy’ can pin down a user’s search intent, as you would know in this example that the user has a transactional intent and wants to make a purchase. Optimise your product pages for this modifier to mitigate the risk of informational pages ranking for the wrong intent 

2. Dig into the SERP features 

Go old-school and abandon the special tools for a moment. Simply type your target query into the search bar and see what materialises. You will be able to tell what search engines deem as the most relevant search intent per query – here’s an overview. 

  • Informational intent – these SERPs typically feature knowledge panels, PAA (people also ask) and featured snippets. If you’re seeking to optimise for the keyword ‘drip coffee maker vs French press’ and note that SERP features include PAA and rich snippets, you’ll want to ensure your content contains authoritative content from a specialist, as well as a comprehensive FAQ section.  
  • Commercial intent – paid results will often be at the top of these SERPs, but featured snippets typically appear below the ads. Instead of providing knowledge and information, this rich result will include a summary of brand or product options for users to compare. 
  • Transactional intent – you will see paid results, but above these there will often be a shopping carousel. The intent is clear here – the user wants to make a purchase, so ensure your product pages are optimised here. 

If you don’t want to check the SERPs manually, then use a keyword research tool such as SEMrush instead. You will be able to find out the SERP features which get triggered by the keyword.  

3. Capture broad informational intents with long-tail variants 

If a user searches for ‘best coffee maker’, this is a broad informational search intent. They could have one of the following in mind: 

  • A specific coffee maker 
  • A coffee maker in a certain price range 
  • General information about coffee makers 

What you want to avoid is a user clicking onto your content, being unsatisfied with the results, then clicking away again. How might this happen? 

Your site might only cater to one specific type of coffee maker. If the user is seeking to compare coffee maker types, they won’t get what they want. If they want general information, yours may only focus on the specific product you sell.   

How can this issue be tackled? By creating content which is relevant to a variety of search intents. You can branch out this broad query with keyword research, which could result in long-tail queries such as: 

  • ‘Best coffee maker under £30’ 
  • ‘Best coffee maker for coffee beans’ 
  • ‘Best coffee maker for camping’ 

You can then strategise and create content clusters which align with the long-tail keywords. For example, you may want to create a comparison piece which suggests coffee machines for different price points. Alternatively, you could compare coffee machines for beans, capsules and pods.  

Be sure to internally link your topic cluster, as you’ll be sending positive signals to Google that your site is an authority on the topic and should appear in various places – including rich results and fractured SERPs.  

4. Use structured data markup to indicate relevancy  

If you know that your article is targeting a specific search intent, incorporate clear indicators about the composition of the piece with structured data markup. 

  • Informational intent – include clear information about the headline, description, publication, featured image, article body and relevant keywords. 
  • Commercial intent – include information about the name, description, category, brand, seller information and customer reviews. 
  • Transactional intent – include details about the offers, price and availability as well as select commercial-focused markup such as description and seller information. 

5. Create targeted landing pages for specific intents 

Ecommerce brands in particular may like to create multiple landing pages that target different search intents relating to a broad query such as “mens jeans”. For example, the user may be seeking a buying guide, style recommendation or a brand-specific search. 

  • Comparison guides – These landing pages service commercial intent whereby the user wants to find out more about different types of mens jeans so they can make a final decision 
  • How To pieces – These landing pages cater to informational intents which involve a user seeking answers to questions about style trends, tips for choosing the right pair, different types of jeans and so on 
  • Seasonal sales – Landing pages for specific events help to target transactional intents; for example, a Father’s Day sale page on a mens jeans site may be a good way to hook in traffic for those who want to get their parent an item of clothing 
  • Branch locator – Navigational intent can be targeted again with branch locators which help to provide information about specific locations where users can find and purchase what they are looking for 

Book a Free Acquisitions Workshop

With Skittle Digital’s Free Acquisitions Workshop, you can receive free expert advice from our experienced marketers, along with free resources, and a personalised action plan, tailored to any concerns you may have. 

If you want to take your SEO content strategy to the next level, then book your slot at one of our Free Acquisitions Workshops – but hurry, because we only have a few slots left.


Imogen Groome

Content Lead

Imogen is the SEO Content Lead at Skittle Digital. Imogen has worked in SEO since 2016. She helped to define SEO strategy at Metro.co.uk before guiding the newsroom at The Sun Online as SEO Editor. She has more than 5 years’ experience in scaling content strategies that drive revenue for brands through organic search channels. In her spare time, Imogen writes books, watches poor-quality reality TV and hangs out with her cats.

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