As part of any SEO strategy, satisfying user intent should be a top priority for anyone creating content on the website. If you want to rank your content in Search Engines then produce relevant, helpful content that answers the questions a user wants.
Let’s talk about:
- How to understand users’ needs
- How to bring intent into your content for users
- How can the value of your content be communicated
What is Search Intent?
The concept of search intent has been discussed in the SEO industry for several years now. Some have claimed that search intent is a secret ranking factor, but it represents the motivation behind any individual user’s search activity. Simply put, it is why users are conducting searches at all.
For example, someone might search for “buy a new car” therefore, the intent is to buy a new car.
Different types of Search Intent:
Intent classification has been addressed in the marketing community with different models. We often categorize search intent into three or four types, some of which are:
Users who search for terms such as “how many calories are in an Ice Cream” or “does my dog love me” are looking for information to learn about a topic. Such search terms are used to know the answer to a specific question.
When users search on Google for “buy coffee maker” or “buy iPhone X,” they are looking to purchase a particular item. However, various factors may influence their choice of retailer, including price, brand name, and customer service reputation.
People use Google (or other search engines) to get to websites they already know. So when they type in a search query such as “Facebook” or “BBC News,” they are simply trying to navigate from A to B, and the search engine is a brief stop along the way.
Approaches to implementing user intent into practice:
To incorporate search intent into your SEO strategy, you must first identify intent and then create content that meets that need from a user’s point of view. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Choose your Search Intent framework
I have mentioned this before, but different models cater to searchers’ varying intents. Choosing the appropriate model for your website and business is a crucial first step in making your SEM efforts successful. You need to choose a framework that works for your needs and, most importantly, communicate it across the business.
See, think, do, care: This is the framework Google uses to talk about KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). It’s a common framework within teams of SEOs, developers, designers, and business analysts.
Know, Do, Visit, Website: This framework works well if your business has one or more physical locations.
Commercial, informational, navigational, and transactional: This framework is a good way to categorize the different types of searches that people make online.
The classic marketing funnel: For enterprises undergoing digital transformation, use the marketing funnel as a search intent framework. This approach effectively prioritizes strategy by focusing on how different buyer groups interact with your brand.
When choosing a framework for your design approach, it’s key to communicate that framework to the team and stakeholders. So don’t just send an email; instead, run a small workshop explaining user intent and why it should matter to them.
Step 2: Identify the intended meaning
How can we determine a user’s intent? Unfortunately, answering this question is difficult. We cannot survey the entire internet to find out the intent of each search, so we must rely on Google. It is the foremost search engine and the pioneer in identifying the intention behind a search query.
By looking at what ranks in the top 10 for your desired search terms, you can learn what satisfies user intent according to search engines. Keep in mind that SEO and PPC are two different ways in achieving good optimization.
One way to get a sense of user preference is to check the Google search results page. Look for universal results, rich snippets, or knowledge graphs to see what Google thinks users want.
Navigating by search engine results page (SERP) is a successful tactic for discovering content ideas. When there are maps on the SERP, users are likely looking to navigate somewhere. When there are mainly images or videos, users are likely seeking visual content, and so on. You can use keyword research tools to find the right keywords for your content.
Once you’ve found the three top-ranking pages for your target keyword, you’ll want to determine what makes them rank so highly. For example, it may be that your content satisfies a user’s intent even better than theirs does.
As a final check, you can use a keyword-related tool to see how many searches are being made for keywords related to your research.
Step 3: Use a tone of intention in your writing
Once you’ve done all this research, it’s time to put your findings to work. First, communicate the importance of search intent to your colleagues. Make sure they understand the framework you’ve chosen for your organization.
Next, you’ll want to include user intent in your content briefs. Content creation relies on user intent.
Add a section for keyword research in your content briefs template or forms. Make sure the content team and anyone else who is creating these briefs are aware of this change. Include a definition of each keyword concept that you expect to target.
Adding some examples of how your competitors satisfy user intent is a good idea. For instance, if you own a hair salon, you can mention that your competitors offer discounts on new clients’ first visits or the most popular services.
When setting up your site, remember to use the same type of content for images and video. It takes time to create, so request it early in the process.
Finally, keep your sign-off process consistent by ensuring the content you submit always meets user intent.
Step 4: Measure Your Content Value
Measuring the return on investment for a content marketing program is difficult. It’s hard to count the revenue that a campaign drives, but this is not effective for content marketing because perfect marketing attribution does not exist.
Different types of intent have different conversion rates, depending on the user’s task. It is clearly explained in the See Think Do Care model and in the marketing funnel. If you’re not using these models or tools, you can still look at them as a reference for your search intent framework.
If you plan on using your content to generate leads, make sure you include the correct lead capture elements in your reporting model.
Using keyword mapping as part of your SEO strategy will help you avoid the pitfalls of redundant content or a mismatch between your website’s content and the needs of search engines. I hope this guide has been helpful and that you’ve found new and inspiring ways to bring your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts to life. If you have any questions or want to nerd out about SEO, please contact us for more information.