Search Intent Hierarchy Analysis (SIHA)


The Search Intent Hierarchy Analysis (SIHA) is a framework we use to create SEO content that aims to generate organic traffic and leads.

Why Content Creation with SIHA is worth it

SEO texts that contain keywords but are not aligned with the search intent of Google users cannot rank. With the SIHA framework, we identify the search intent of Google users so that our texts can rank.

Without the SIHA framework, there is a risk of writing a text that is unlikely to rank. This is pure wastage of resources. While the SIHA framework does not guarantee SEO success, it significantly increases the chances of ranking a webpage.

How the Search Intent Hierarchy Analysis Works

SIHA aims to analyze the primary search intent and secondary search intents of users for each keyword you want to rank for.

The “H” in SIHA stands for Hierarchy, implying that there is a specific order in which users want to be informed.

To grasp the SIHA framework, we need to take a brief digression and understand what “search intent” means.

Digression: Search Intent

Search intent refers to what the user wants to understand, purchase, or do when they enter a specific search term in Google. The primary search intent is their main goal, which they want to achieve immediately. The secondary search intents are additional questions that arise during the research process.

The underlying concept of SIHA is based on research by AJ Kohn and is covered by Alexander Rus in his YouTube videos, among others. svaerm has further developed SIHA: Making search-intent optimized content is our core business.

The Objective of SIHA

We determine the primary search intent, secondary search intents, and the appropriate order in which they should be fulfilled by thoroughly examining the Google search engine result pages (SERPs), as well as the competitor webpages that are currently ranking for the keyword.

The idea is: Content that is already showing in prominent positions within the SERP is content that the Google algorithm “considers” to be good. After all, the algorithm ranks content that generates positive user signals, meaning content that is popular among Google users.

The Search Intent Hierarchy Analysis (SIHA)

Therefore, we see what is already ranking on Google as a positive role model to reverse-engineer, instead of reinventing the wheel in a way that might not roll as smoothly anymore. We build upon what already works and make it better.

Better means: More relevant, comprehensive, accurate, up-to-date, and readable. In doing so, we develop suitable original content that can be seen as a “disruptive innovation” compared to the existing competitor content.

The SIHA Advantage

Traditional approaches to search engine optimization do not consider search intent at all or only differentiate between the different types of search intent (i.e., informational, commercial, local, navigational) without going into detail.

Differentiating between types of search intent is a good foundation because it allows us to determine the conceptual format of the webpage:

Type of intentFormat of the webpage
informationalListicle containing tips, step-by-step guide, etc.
commercialCommercial landing page or listicle with provider comparisons
localLocal landing page optimized for a city or region
navigationalPage whose domain or navigation path matches the search query

However, this alone is not enough because the content itself must also fulfill the search intent, not just the format of the webpage. That’s why our SIHA approach goes several levels deeper: It derives a promising headline structure and is also broken down to the level of individual content components.

Practical Example

Our webpages that rank on Google do so because of their conceptualization based on the Search Intent Hierarchy Analysis. This applies to our own webpages on, as well as those for client projects.

For example, the webpage “What Is TPE” for our client Kuraray Elastomer ranks because it provides an informative explanation of what TPE is (primary search intent) and answers to the user’s follow-up questions in the appropriate sequence (secondary search intent), such as the advantages and disadvantages of TPEs and the different types of TPEs.

What is TPE – ahrefs overview international
What is TPE – ahrefs overview Japan

The webpage “What Is TPE” brings Kuraray approximately 2,500 monthly visits (as of July 3, 2023, publicly estimated data from ahrefs) in a highly individual and specialized B2B market. The traffic comes from all over the world, as the webpage ranks not only in many regions of the English-speaking internet but also with the translated version in Japan. Additionally, Kuraray confirms the value of the resulting B2B leads.

Let’s Talk

If you’re interested in our SIHA-optimized texts or would like to see more practical examples, we look forward to your inquiry. Contact us.

Our Workflow with SIHA

The outcome of SIHA is a written briefing for creating an SEO text. Therefore, the work begins in a text editing software such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

First, we enter the focus keyword and its performance metrics: monthly search volume and keyword difficulty, specified for the region and language in which the webpage should rank. Typically, each webpage is optimized for one focus keyword.

Next, we enter the secondary keywords and their performance metrics. Not every topic offers suitable secondary keywords, and sometimes webpages rank for secondary keywords we haven’t consciously optimized for.

Thus, this step is optional. But it is often beneficial to consider relevant secondary keywords while creating the SEO briefing also known as Schreibplan (German for “writing plan”), which the editor or expert B2B copywriter can later incorporate into the text.

Subsequently, you enter the list of competitors that are currently ranking on Google search. The correct region and language settings must be applied in an incognito browser window, depending on where the webpage should become visible.

The average word count of the competitor webpages can provide an initial indication of how long our webpage should be. It’s not solely about the length, but rather about the content and its density. Nevertheless, having an approximate guideline for the minimum length of the text, considering comparable content density to the competition, is helpful.

Afterwards, the process involves creating a headline structure and listing suitable sources for writing appropriate content under each headline. The headline structure is derived from the structure of the competitor webpages that are already ranking in Google, as well as the structure of the search engine results page (SERP) itself.

Featured Snippet, occupied by our client Kuraray, and “People also ask” panel

When analyzing the search engine results page, it is important to pay attention to snippets that go beyond the regular organic search results. Snippets can be seen as Google’s attempt to highlight particularly important content or supplement content that competitors have not sufficiently covered. Including such content on your webpage can give you a competitive advantage and increased visibility.

The SIHA process is clear, but each step is complex and requires a high level of conceptual thinking.

Keyword Validation

In order for the SIHA framework to be applied, keyword validation must take place as the first step. This is a structured process to assess the suitability of keywords.

Keywords can be unsuitable if their performance metrics are poor, such as:

  • Low search volume
  • High keyword difficulty

Furthermore, a keyword may be conceptually unsuitable: If our client’s positioning does not align with the search intent of a keyword, we do not optimize for that keyword.

Wishful thinking or reality? Keyword validation is a type of reality check.

The SIHA also provides us with insights into the target audience searching for the keyword. If the company we are writing the SEO content for is targeting a completely different audience, it is also not advisable to optimize for this keyword.

This “reality check” of keywords is the keyword validation. When we encounter unsuitable keywords, we need to suggest alternative keywords. This is part of our consulting service as an SEO agency.

Recommendations for Businesses

Companies should collaborate with T-shaped agencies (coming soon) like svaerm that specialize in SEO content creation using the SIHA framework. We have several years of practical experience in SEO content creation for various industries, which, by the way, is not as simple as it may seem ☺

Experience has shown that the complexity of SEO content creation is often underestimated. We have yet to come across a company that can handle this process in-house, at a high level of quality, alongside its regular core business.

Collaborating with agencies like svaerm allows our clients to focus on their core business, rather than having to go through an entirely new learning curve. This could potentially distract them from their core business, and there are no guarantees of success.

Interested in SEO content? Contact us!

We also cannot provide a guarantee of success, but as a specialized agency for SEO content creation, our good reputation and our business model rely on consistently delivering sustainably excellent results to our clients.

Based on our past references, both we and our clients know that SEO success can be quantified and measured with specific numbers: Rankings, traffic, and leads.

Bonus Tip

The SIHA framework can be adapted to create YouTube videos that generate organic visibility. It is particularly well-suited for explainer videos.

Contact for Business

Are you interested in SEO content that generates organic visibility and leads? We are happy to consult you.

Please contact us via email or through the contact form. After receiving initial written information, we can also arrange an introductory meeting via phone or video chat.


Maxim Bollig
Digital Marketing Manager
+49 (0)69 9494 5 919-1