You know the importance of selecting a specific blog topic to cover with your content. Great! But do you what comes next before you actually start writing? You need to be sure that you know the user intent of that topic.
Wait, What’s User Intent?
We’re so glad you asked. It’s one of those vital SEO tips that still somehow manages to often go overlooked.
User intent is sometimes called query intent or search intent. It refers to what a person truly wanted to find when they typed their query into a search engine. As an example, let’s say we have a user who searches for “the benefits of a ketogenic diet.”
Alt text: woman typing on laptop
“Well, that’s obvious,” you say. “They clearly want to know the benefits of a ketogenic diet.” And they do! It seems like such a no-brainer, but it goes deeper than this.
In wanting to learn about the benefits of keto, what specifically do they desire to learn about? Do they need…
- A definition of what the ketogenic diet is?
- Recipe ideas?
- The potential downsides of the diet?
In an attempt to write a blog that packs in as much value and information as possible, it might be your inclination to automatically include these points. But here’s the thing.
If the user isn’t looking for a definition, recipe ideas, or potential downsides when searching “the benefits of a ketogenic diet,” then you don’t want to highlight these points.
What Happens When You Don’t Satisfy User Intent?
There’s no harm in including more information than what the user was looking for, right?
You probably already know that you don’t have much time to capture a reader’s attention. This means that you don’t want to risk wasting any of it.
When they land on your page, they need to know within just a few seconds that they came to the right place. They need to know that they’re going to find the answer to their search query.
If what they first see is something that they weren’t looking for, they’re going to immediately leave. This hurts your bounce rate, and Google won’t be happy.
If you want your blog post to get traffic, you can’t mess this up.
Now, is this to say that you can’t include any additional information outside of their search query, period? No. But it should only come after you’ve satisfied user intent, and no sooner.
Got it! So, How Do I Satisfy User Intent?
Fortunately, this is a lot simpler than you think. All you need to do is look at what’s already ranking on page one of Google.
Alt text: google search engine on laptop
Think about it. The pages that rank the highest are there for a reason, and it’s because they give users exactly what they want.
This means they’re doing something right!
Now, to be clear, there are other factors that go into a high-ranking blog post aside from satisfying user intent. But Google’s top priority is user experience. They rank blogs on page one that offers the best user experience.
So, the top-ranking pages should serve as your inspiration. (Note: Never copy!) For instance, if you search “the benefits of a ketogenic diet” and review the pages that have ranked best in Google, how exactly do they answer this search query? What kind of information do they offer?
Do they cut to the chase and focus solely on the benefits? Do they additionally offer a definition, tips, recipes, and potential drawbacks?
Roughly how long are these pages? Are they concise 500-word posts or long-form articles totaling in at over 1,000 words?
Whatever these pages say, and however they say it, it’s what readers want. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. Look at what’s already ranking, and to outrank it, find a way to improve upon it.
And that brings us to our last point.
How Do You Satisfy User Intent Better?
We told you that you don’t simply want to do what the ranking pages are already doing. You want to do it better. This is how you’ll outrank them.
Alt text: website analytics report
What does that mean, though?
Here are a few suggestions.
- If a top-ranking blog was 300 words, test a blog that’s longer — may be 700 words or more.
- Try adding more images, videos, or social media embeds.
- Add headings that are more descriptive and value-packed.
- Include a quote from a trusted and well-known authority in the field.
- Offer some sort of “freebie” within the blog post. (This can also double as a lead magnet.)
It can be tempting to think solely about making Google happy — and for a good reason. We’ll never tell you to neglect SEO best practices like optimizing your blog around a relevant keyword. However, as we said earlier, Google cares most about user satisfaction, which means that you should, too.
Satisfy the user. Satisfy Google. Rank well.
Megan Grant is the Managing Editor for e-clincher, the #1 platform for social media management. Sign up for a free trial on their website.