At the core of every search, there is an intention. People want relevant answers to their searches in the form of articles, product listings, reviews, how-to videos and so on. If your content meets their expectations, then they will read it and engage with it. If it doesn’t, they will continue their search.
User intent is a valuable part of search engine optimization. Not only that it’s easier to optimize content when you understand the intent of your target audience, but you also ensure that you’ll attract the right crowd to your site.
With that in mind, here’s how to optimize your content for user intent.
First Thing First: What Is User Intent?
User intent is one of the most poignant factors in search engine optimisation. It refers to the goals searchers have in mind when they type a query into Google. Don’t confuse user intent with the keywords people use to search for information online. That’s an entirely different story.
User intent can be divided into three categories:
- Navigational – users are looking for a particular website;
- Informational – searchers are looking for certain information;
- Transactional – users want to purchase something;
How Can User Intent Help with Your SEO Strategy?
If you know what the intentions of your customers are, then you know what they want and can successfully deliver it to them. Think about it this way: if one of your best performing keywords is transactional, but it leads searchers to an informational page, then they will not be able to complete their task. Your prospects are clearly interested in purchasing your products, but instead of making it easier for them to complete the transaction you are making your audience take an unnecessary detour.
Knowing the user’s intent lets you calibrate your internal SEO strategy and reach better conversion results. Not to mention that it can bring a significant increase in web traffic. When you base your SEO strategy on user intent, you’re providing people with what they need. Happy or satisfied customers are more likely to come back and turn into loyal brand advocates.
So, how do you optimize your content for search intent? Here are two ways to go about it:
- Know What Your Users Want
If the premise is that by knowing what people are looking for you can achieve better results, the first logical step in this endeavour is to look at the best performing queries.
The main question you need to ask is “what drives traffic,” and the best way to answer that is by looking into your analytics. Most analytics systems will show the most popular queries that lead people to your site. Once you’ve established what people want, then it will be a lot easier to give them just that.
- Understand the Queries’ Intent
Knowing what people are searching for means that you’re only halfway through a successful search engine optimization process. You then need to see what type of query it is (based on the three categories: navigational, informational, transactional) and then create relevant content.
If a user is making an informational query, then their intent is to acquire knowledge on a particular topic. So, your results can’t be transactional since the user isn’t ready to purchase your products or services.
Search engine optimization has changed enormously in the past few years. For starters, keywords have lost their crown, and content structure isn’t as important as it used to be. What matters the most now is that your audience has a seamless onsite experience and finds the information they are interested in as fast as possible.