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User intent: create content that converts

Keyword research has for a long time been considered a main component of SEO in regards to keyword and content strategy. As Google’s algorithm frequently changes in order to make the web more useful to its users, we see that user intent is now a bigger concept to consider in our keyword and content strategies. No longer should we care only for keyword research, but we should also care about what users are really searching for when they enter these keywords in the search query.

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Let me explain further. So maybe someone searching on the internet uses the keyword “Guatemala.” How are they using that keyword when they search? Are they searching “plane tickets to Guatemala” or “history of Guatemala”? Both are about the same topic, but result in two very different kinds of content. A business may have found through keyword research that “Guatemala” is one of their keywords, but they need to go further to really create content that converts. They need to understand their target market’s user intent.

What exactly is user intent?

User intent refers to the reason for or the intention of going on Google, or another search engine, to search for information. A user’s intent is usually to find answers, information, resources, reviews of a product or place, and so on.

Understanding the user intent of your target market is one of the most important components of an effective inbound marketing strategy. Your website content should appeal to the needs, interests, and problems of the audience you’re trying to target. The content should of course be aligned with your business, products or services and industry as well.

Finding out what the user intent is

So how can you find out what your target market’s user intent is? Here’s a few ideas:

  1. Regularly schedule some time to study the search engine results pages for the basic keywords of your business. Google’s result page is probably the best place to do this, as their search results are often a strong indicator of what people are looking for, because they choose the content that people engage with most. Use the keyword research you’ve done and regularly look at the results for some of these keywords, and decipher what exactly you think users might be looking for. Are they searching for how-to instructions? Products? Prices?
  2. If your website has a help center or community forum, look at what questions are being asked. What’s searched for most often? Is this information in your website’s content? If not, consider how you can incorporate it throughout your keyword and content strategy.
  3. If you don’t have a community forum or help center on your own website, find a competitor who does on their website and use the information to find out user intent in your specific industry.
  4. If you have a sales team, talk to them about what questions they hear every day. Use these observations to better understand user intent and improve your keyword and content strategy.

How to implement your findings

Now that you have a better understanding of what your users’ intent is, now is the time to put that knowledge to good use.

A great place to start is through a good brainstorming session. Once you’ve identified the user’s intent, brainstorm various types of content that can be created that will be more valuable to your users. Always remember that the content on the website isn’t for you, it’s for the visitors to your website. After brainstorming, create a content schedule that you can use to organize what will be created and when. Having a schedule will make it easier to stay organized. Use the schedule as a general plan, but adjust whenever you feel the need.

Perhaps you’ve come up with some new keywords or keyword phrases throughout your user intent research. These are great to add to your overall keyword list, and offer the opportunity to have more niche topics to focus your content on. If you use WordPress as a content management system, we suggest you download the plugin called Yoast SEO. This tool helps you optimize your pages for SEO, including your keyword and content strategy. To help with this, they offer a focus keyword and content analysis function, allowing you to set a focus keyword that you’d like your post or page to rank for in the search results. Once you’ve set the focus keyword, the plugin then runs a check on your content to see if you’re using the keyword often enough (but not too often), and in the right places. You can download the free version of this plugin, or buy the Premium version for added features.

Content that converts

So, what kind of questions are being asked when users search for your industry-related keywords? What is their intent? We hope that you realize the importance of understanding your user intent, as it will improve keyword and content strategy and result in content that converts.