What Is User Intent In SEO?

Christian Thomson
LinkedIn

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing.

SEO has evolved significantly over the years. However, the fundamentals of creating a keyword-optimised website remain—you must create content that fulfils user intent.

What is User Intent?

User intent, sometimes called search intent, is the primary goal a user has when entering a search query into a search engine. For example, if users want to order food, they may intend to order a takeaway or a click and collect food order. However, simply searching ‘order food’ could mean many things—the intent is unclear. Alternatively, suppose the user searched ‘order food from Tesco’. In that case, their search intent is that they want to place a grocery order.

Why Is User Intent Important For SEO?

The goal of search engines and, by extension, online businesses is to satisfy search intent. Therefore, when a user searches for a term and is met with irrelevant information, search engines see that user intent, in this instance, is mismatched. Alternatively, when a user searches for a term and spends time on a relevant website, search engines do their job correctly by accurately gauging the user’s search intent.

What are the types of user intent?

Industry professionals have divided user intent into three broad categories:

Navigational: When a user searches for a brand. The search engine results page (SERP) is typically dominated by pages relating to said brand.
Commercial: When a user is looking to purchase something, the intent is commercial (sometimes referred to as transactional intent).
Informational: When a user is searching for information, such as “where should I live in London”, this is called informational intent. For searches with informational intent, search engines usually display long-form articles, guides, and blog posts rather than commercial pages.

Broadest Search Terms

When it comes to your SEO strategy, we cannot underestimate the vital importance of creating content to satisfy user intent. The more specific content is to certain search intents, the more website visitors you will receive at different stages of the sales funnel. However, simply stuffing keywords on your website isn’t enough. Over time, search engines are improving their ability to understand user intent. As a result, search engines such as Google may reward websites that fulfil user intent in a digestible, easy-to-understand format.

How Do I Optimise My Website For User Intent?

While there is no definitive step-by-step guide to creating the perfect website for SEO, there are a few steps you can take to optimise your website and fulfil user intent.

Regularly review search engine results pages

One of the best ways to optimise your website is to regularly check search engine results pages to see what is ranking. For example, what kinds of content is ranking? Is long-form content such as guides and articles performing well? Then, you should incorporate successful content into your own website to increase search rankings.

Keep track of competitor content

Similarly, it’s a good idea to review your competitor’s content regularly. How do they structure their successful content? What topics do they discuss? By determining what enables your competitors to rank well, you can emulate the content to improve your website’s rankings.

Tweak page format

The structure of your content holds a significant amount of weight. For example, splitting your content into digestible chunks, such as bullet-point lists, may increase the chances that your content is included in the Featured Snippets section of Google, introduced to answer user queries quickly.

In Summary

We’ve determined that you should build website content with user intent in mind. By reviewing search engine results pages, keeping track of the content your competitors are creating and making tweaks to your website’s page format, you can improve your search rankings by fulfilling user intent.

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