The Importance of User Intent in Content Strategy

Susan Melgren

Often times search engine optimization is thought of as only pertaining to keywords – and using them in such a way that attempts to game the search engines. There’s more to the game than simply manipulating keywords, however. When selecting keywords for your SEO strategy, it’s also important to consider the issue of user intent – the specific information the user is looking for when they type in a search term – and ensuring that the intention behind using those keywords matches up with the content on your website.

It’s one thing to understand the relevance of a keyword to your SEO strategy. It’s another thing to understand what that keyword means to the people who search for it on Google or Bing. User intent is the missing piece of the SEO puzzle. Only once you get to know the intention behind those searches can you understand the true scope of a keyword and what drives people to click through to your site.

Identifying User Intent

Although many keywords may seem self-explanatory, there are plenty of situations where the perceived intent doesn’t quite match up with the real intention of a search. For example, users searching for the term “Super Bowl” could have a variety of different motivations. They might want to buy Super Bowl tickets – or they might want to know the score of the Super Bowl, or which teams have played in prior Super Bowls. With so much ambiguity, it is important to ensure that your content plan includes more specific keyword terms that considerably narrow the searcher’s scope. The best way to uncover the user intent of a given keyword is the most obvious one – search for the keyword yourself. Look at the top results and see what they have in common. If all of the results are similar in nature, it’s an indication that the user intent is universal. If the results are mixed, consider whether or not the keyword fits into your marketing plans.

Applying User Intent to Your Content Strategy

Your ultimate goal with user intent is to find a way to link up the desires of searchers with your company’s goals. Using the Super Bowl example, if your company sells sports memorabilia, you’ll want to use a keyword specific to users looking for memorabilia, as opposed to ticket sales or general information. This way, you’re not competing with all of the other motivations behind a general “Super Bowl” search. Once you’ve found a nice match between searchers and your company, you can focus on creating content that establishes yourself within this niche. It’s possible that the focus of your content won’t follow the direction you originally had in mind, but with enough research, you’ll begin to understand user intent, know what people want to see based on their search terms, and be able to apply that to your content for increased success. To learn more about discovering and applying user intent to your content marketing strategy, contact The frank Agency today.

Category: Content, SEO
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