Search intent and your financial services website


Richard Cowdery

Lead Digital Developer

Posted on September 2, 2019

User intent is a big part of the search engine ranking process, and we’re going to take a quick look at how intent should shape the content on your financial services website.

As search engines evolve and become even more sophisticated, they not only rank our search terms based on over 200 ranking factors, but they can also understand what our intentions are.

This intention or purpose of a search is typically broken down into three categories. Transactional, informational and navigational. That’s usually shortened to “do, know, go”.

This is described as follows.

Do. The user wants to do something. e.g. Open a bank account or apply for asset finance.

Know. The user wants to know something. How do I trade in forex? IFAs near me? How are structured products used in wealth management?

Go. A navigational query, where the user knows where they want to go. Not geographical, but rather a particular website.

With the above in mind, we can make our web content not only use the keywords and phrases we want to rank well for, but we can write content that fits around these three categories.


A ‘Do’ search means that people are ready to make a purchase and have real buying intent. Now is the time to make sure that the product or service you offer is presented in the best possible way and the process of making a transaction is as straightforward as possible.


‘Know’ content is your opportunity to educate, inform and delight potential customers. Many search queries are based on a question the user has.

Carry out some research and find out what the most popular questions around the services you offer are. A good place to start is with the Google search bar. Enter some questions that you think might matter to your customers.

No doubt you will see plenty of results and Google’s auto-complete function should provide further variations around the questions being asked. If you’re not appearing in these results and your competitors are, maybe it’s time to write some more content.

The trick here is to identify and answer the types of questions that are at the top of your customer’s minds. You might have a FAQ section on your website that answers many of these already, but Google isn’t going to rank it higher than a page that answers a particular question specifically. The products and services offered within the financial services sector are many, and often quite complicated. Use this chance to help people. They will hopefully thank you by deciding to become a customer.

If visitors are not ready to make a transaction right at that moment you still have a chance to impress them sufficiently enough that they sign up for a newsletter or a blog. This will give your business even more opportunities to engage!


‘Go’ content can be the easiest category to rank well for. These queries are from people actively looking for your website and that will usually involve them searching your company name.

It’s important to keep any reference to your business consistent across all the digital channels you are active in. If your business is appearing in other online directories, and the information they have on your business is incorrect, reach out to that site and get it changed.

Name, telephone number and address consistency, along with registering for a Google My Business account should see your business show up with a knowledge panel on the results page. This will add legitimacy to your site and hopefully attract even more visitors.

If your financial services website has a business goal to attract more customers, think about how they might find you. Creating content just around the search terms is going to get you so far. Content that answers specific questions will be more useful and relevant to the visitor and this will increase the chance of that visitor, hopefully, one day, being a customer.