Writing Towards User Intent

As the structure of the modern Internet was beginning to materialize, search engine designers discovered that ranking website relevancy by using natural language search processes had a substantial impact on website traffic. Consequently, the field of SEO was born, with companies realizing the value of promoting their website’s presence amongst relevant audiences and its ability to drive consumer engagement and sales.

Nowadays, SEO has grown into something much more complex, but it still maintains the original aim of ranking higher within the SERP through better user experience. As this domain continues to evolve, content creators are looking for new ways to improve user experiences on their sites – but what is the next step? Here’s how you can better target user intent, and through that, boost search rank and improve overall page performance.

Modern-Day SEO

For many years, search engine optimization revolved largely around “hacking” a search engine’s algorithms, attempting to beat the system. The focus on keyword usage, link building, and several other factors began to lead web pages away from the original intent of search engine developers. This often resulted not in better user experience, but simply gimmicky workarounds to achieve a higher score. However, recent developments are altering how content creators are approaching their duties. There are still many strategies employed to boost SERP ranking, including those mentioned above, but much greater emphasis is being placed on targeting user intent.

Focusing on User Intent

As a content creator, understanding what it takes to make great user-oriented writing is a huge part of ranking well amongst competitors. In other words, providing attractive, user-intent centered content is a key piece in connecting with users and motivating them to take action on your site. But how do you write towards user intent? This is certainly easier said than done, but it can be broken down into four concise concepts. For this exercise, we will be taking the angle of a Chicago-area Volkswagen dealership website.

What are users searching for?

  • Within your industry or knowledge bubble, know what visitors to your website are searching for.
  • i.e. High search volume for “4WD VW Atlas vs. 4WD Subaru Ascent ”

What is the context of the search?

  • Time of year, mobile device/desktop, geographic location, etc.
  • i.e. Users are searching in mid-December, mostly on desktop, in the northern suburbs of Chicago.

What is their reason for the search?

  • Determine whether the search is informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial investigation, and write towards that reason.
  • i.e. Users performing commercial investigation searches on Atlas 4WD performance vs. the competition

How will the content satisfy the user’s search?

  • Does the content satisfy the user’s search on the page? If so, do you choose to push them further with linking?
  • i.e. The page is structured to provide key information on the Atlas 4WD system in comparison to the Ascent, and which trims the Atlas 4WD system is available on. Content should incorporate winter 4WD performance while linking to a full Atlas trim and inventory page.

Applying these concepts to your website’s content will help to appease consumer’s search for information and inevitably help your site rank higher, pushing your business to new heights in the process! While SEO is always changing and nearly impossible to perfect, tailoring your website’s content around user intent and providing an overall positive user experience is a substantial part of remaining relevant and engaging on the web.

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