SEO : How to Optimize Your Content for User Intent?

Google is increasingly geared to users and their needs. What you should pay attention to, so that your content meets the user intent.

The fact that Google has greatly revised its ranking factors with the latest updates is likely to have been felt by most site operators. Most recently, Google Webmaster Trends analyst John Mueller has stressed in a thread at Reddit that the word count is not a relevant factor (anymore). 

The focus is increasingly on the search intent, ie on what the user aims with his search. The search volume of individual keywords or the optimal backlink profile are useless if the user does not find what he is looking for. If you want to land your content as high as possible in the SERPs, you should use the search query for the (long-tail) keyword as well as possible.

The ulterior motive of the Tech company: The user should stay as long as possible on Google. For this he must get the desired information directly from the SERPs and ideally not even have to click on links. For webmasters, of course, this trend means less traffic to their pages. On the other hand, they may enjoy lower bounce rates if users on the site actually find exactly what their search intent is.

User Intent: What does the user want to achieve with his search query?

User needs are a key element of the Google Quality Rater Guidelines, which should tell site operators as transparently as possible what the search engine looks like. Google has added another point to the classic subdivision of searches between Navigational, Informational and Transactional. These are the top four user intents for Google requests:

User Intent: Website

Here, the user is looking for a specific website, which he usually already knows. Mostly, these searches include brand names or other names, such as “apple” or “deutsche bahn”. The website of these brands ranks organically in the first place. Through the sitelinks she takes a large part of the SERPs, especially on the smartphone, where of course much less space.

User Intent: Do 

With the search intent “Do” the user wants to become active. Mostly he wants to buy something, but maybe also download or install something. This user intention replaces the former “transnational”, which focused on search queries with the ulterior motive. Such “Do” requests often include a verb such as “buy iPhone” or “apply for credit card”. Most of the SERPs usually have ads here.

User Intent: Know

Here the user is looking for information, so he wants to know something. Important is the relatively new distinction between classic “know” requests and “know simple” requests. In the case of the latter, Google would like to show the user the answer, ideally directly in the SERPs, as a Featured Snippet, such as the Answer Box. For more complex questions, Google will then point to websites with rich content on the topic you’re looking for.

User Intent: Visit in person

If a user searches for a local shop, restaurant or service provider, this is considered a search intent “visit in person”. For this, he does not necessarily have to provide the desired location in the search – for example, if a user type in “breakfast cafe” while he is standing on the street corner in Berlin-Mitte, Google shows him results from Google Maps in the direct local environment. Especially on the mobile device, mostly only results of maps can be seen, only much further down are the organic results displayed.

3 tips on how to align your content with the user’s search intent

  1. Make it as easy as possible for Google to reach its goals – that is, to give the user the answer to his question at first glance. Optimize your content on Featured Snippets, such as the Answer Box. Make sure that the (intermediate) headlines as accurately as possible to potential searches for “know simple” requests to coin. Even if at first glance it seems rather contradictory or even counterproductive not to want to draw the user on your own page – in the long term you will hardly have a chance with your content to appear high in the SERPs, if you are Google’s declared goal contrary to ask.
  2. Already in the conception of your website content to focus on the user and his intention in the foreground. Instead of blindly prioritizing your keyword’s search volume, you should focus your content planning on the search intent and organize it accordingly.
  3. Also the SEO metadata play a big role here. The user intent should therefore also in the creation of title and meta description in mind – and in the first lines of the text.

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