An Overlooked ‘Ranking Factor’ According to Joshua Hardwick of AHREFS

If you are looking to rank in Google this year, then you need to create a content that aligns with search intent. This article will be discussing the most overlooked ‘ranking factor’ that every marketer should start optimizing – the search intent. This applies to all businesses, marketing companies, as well as corporate video production companies.

 It is not easy to stress the importance of the concept of search intent when it comes to SEO. Joshua Hardwick, the Head of Content @ Ahrefs, tells more about this topic. It is but logical to say that if you want to rank in the SERPs, then having a good understanding and creative content with search intent in mind is very critical.  Just look at the diagram that Joshua presented here:

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That is a huge jump in organic traffic! So, how did they do this? Well, they made a slight change to the page to bring it in line with search intent. Even for corporate video companies can make use of this study.


The goal in this article is to teach you:

  • What search intent is
  • Why search intent is important in SEO
  • Get to know the 4 types of search intent
  • How to infer keyword intent
  • How to increase traffic by optimizing search intent
  • How to optimize search intent

Search Intent

This is the why behind every search query. You ask yourself, “Why did this person make this search?,” “is there something they want to learn from?” or “are they looking to make a purchase?” Or perhaps they are looking for a specific website?

You need to find out what the user’s “intent” is when performing the search. Do you notice that when you do a search you would get a variety of results – it can be images, videos, news, websites, articles, etc.

Why Does It Matter?

The simple answer to this is for Google or for any search engine to provide the most relevant result to a query. Besides, if you look into Google’s mission–“Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”–this should be a dead giveaway.

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But for us marketing agencies, why do you think this matters? Simple!

To rank in Google, you have to have the most relevant result for a certain query and that means creating content that aligns with the search content. It is more about information, infographics, blog posts, comparison charts, and etc.

4 Types of Search Intent

This is something that requires an in-depth or longer information.

Navigational: This is when a searcher is looking for a certain website, a searcher just types a certain search term if the user is unsure about the website address – Google will generate the results for you.

Transactional: For those who are looking to make a purchase, e-commerce sites are the best examples for this.

Commercial Investigation: If a searcher is looking for a specific product or service but has yet to make a decision, they would most likely look for reviews and comparisons. So websites that offer that would fall in this category.

Infer Search Intent

Search intent of a searcher is often obvious based on the query they enter. These are keyword modifiers that would indicate a specific type of search intent:

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There are different tools to help you do a keyword research and use these modifiers to filter for keywords with a more specific search intent.

There is just one slight problem:

Modifiers are not foolproof because not all of the keywords would contain modifiers. So with that, do not rely too much on modifier words to infer search intent.

How to Optimize Search Intent

Now that we know about search intent, when we do try to optimize our search intent, it should dictate the type of content that you want to create. If the keyword is focused on informational intent, then a blog post is what you need. If it has transactional intent, then create a product page, and so on . . .

It may sound simple, but it has its complications, too. While it would be logical to align your content with your search intent, there are pending issues, such as:

  • The 4 search intent types are very broad to just take action.

So in order for you to utilize this and optimize your search intent, you need to keep this in mind:

  1. Check SERP reliability
  2. Make your content align with the 3 C’s of search intent, namely: content type, content format, and content angle.
    You can dig deeper into this at the blog.
  3. Take hints from the search results and the top-ranking pages.


The search intent is the most important ranking factor, especially this year. If you fail to give the searchers what they are looking for, then your chances of ranking on the SERPs are slim, even for a corporate video production company. Every digital marketing company should keep this in mind.