How to Write for Search Intent and Why You Should

Although keywords are still important, the way searches work nowadays needs a bit more than just a high-value phrase. Today, it’s all about search intent and how you can connect to your target audience.

Today, I’ll go over the basics and ways you can optimize to reach a more engaged visitor.

What is Search Intent (or User Intent)?

Search intent is providing information that someone is specifically looking for based on contextual relevance. In other words, providing the exact information someone is looking for.

Keywords are only able to carry the content so far, nowadays. And as Google continues to restructure the algorithm, it’s more about delivering high-quality answers to specific search criteria.

For instance, if someone searches “cheap ways to decorate for Christmas,” the results might yield a blog post titled: 7 Ways to Decorate the Home for Christmas on a Budget.

It’s the searcher’s intent to find those specific methods for his or her criteria.

More than Just Long-Tail Keyphrases

A long-tail keyphrase is a series of words that focus more on precise content rather than a general idea. The purpose is to direct the content on specific information that someone might be using to find the content.

They often range between 3 and 7 words depending on the topic and the purpose.

An Example of writing an article for installing a contact form in WordPress:
Keyword: “wordpress
Long-Tail Keyphrase: “install contact form wordpress

Writing for search intent is more than just using the best long-tail keywords, though. It’s how you use those words to connect with your audience. In the example above, I could run it one of two ways: as a list of methods or as a “how-to.”

How you use the keyphrase depends on what you’re trying to convey and who you’re trying to target.

A More Focused Audience

In the example above, I could gain a few visitors if I merely focused on “wordpress.” But by using the long-tail keyphrase with who I want to target in mind, I can attract a more engaged visitor base.

This is because I am trying to connect with people who are looking for specifics. These visitors will have a higher on-page time while having greater potential to explore the website.

They are also more likely to buy goods, click ads, or even make direct purchases. They are also more likely to sign up with email newsletters and other subscription services.

And this is why search intent is important for any website or blog.

4 Major Types of Search Intent

Currently, there are several major types of search intent. Which one you use depends on what you’re trying to create. However, all of them will have a direct impact on the success of your content.

The types of search intent you need to keep in mind are:

  1. To Find Information
    A lot of people take to Google for tutorials, lists, “why” articles, and other informative pieces. If you’re reading this, you probably came in looking for information about “search intent.”
  2. To Research a Brand, Product, or Service
    Reviews are an example of researching online. In reality, more than 80% of people research products, brands, and services before making a purchase. In fact, my most popular blog posts are reviews.
  3. To Find a Specific Website or Location
    Some people will take to Google to find certain websites or even local establishments.
  4. To Make a Purchase
    And lastly, and one of the more popular reasons people get on Google today, eCommerce has a big market. And if you have something to sell, you want to make sure you’re targeting people who are likely to buy.

But knowing these types is just the beginning. You’ll have to know how to structure the content in a way that pulls in the audience.

Using Search Console to Understand Search Intent

If you have a website but don’t use Google’s Search Console, you’re missing out. This tool has a treasure trove of information that will help you succeed. In this case, it’s seeing the queries people use to find your content.

Search Queries

And from the image above, I can see that I need to write a piece comparing “buy me a coffee” and “patreon.”

In Search Console, you can dig pretty deep to see what people are looking for, how many impressions you receive, and how often someone clicked to view your content.

If you have a lot of impressions but not many clicks, then you need to figure out why you’re appearing in search but not getting anyone’s attention.

This is usually because of a lack of information in the title or if the snippet from your text isn’t what the searcher is looking for.

Using People Also Ask

The “People also ask” section is another great tool you can use to accentuate search intent. These are searches people are performing with the best answers, according to Google’s algorithm.

I often use this section to give me ideas about what else to include in a piece I am writing.

People Also Ask Example
Searching for “contact form wordpress” yields questions people ask that I can answer.

The goal is to answer the question in a way that engages my audience. And if I can create an answer better than the competition and claim one of those links, all the better.

A cool feature of People also ask is the ability to expand each time you click on an answer. This can go pretty deep into the mindset of searchers and how it all connects.

Why Would Someone Search for This Post?

And lastly, put yourself in the shoes of others. When writing an article, ask yourself, “Is this something I would search for? If so, does it answer my query?”

Are you providing enough information? Will someone feel satisfied with the content, or will they leave thinking you’ve just wasted their time?

Then consider if there is anything else you can add to the piece to improve understanding for the reader. This is why I often browse the People also ask section.

The idea here is to make sure you’re addressing the concerns of the audience. Be honest with your article and make sure you feel that it fulfills the needs of the searcher.

What is Your Audience Looking For?

Understanding how your audience finds content is key to creating a successful website. Sure, you need to make the Google gods happy with optimization, but you can’t forget user intent SEO.

By writing for your audience, you engage the reader and keep them coming back for more. This, in turn, helps boost your rankings in search engines.

Keep SEO in mind, but focus more on writing for the search intent of your audience.

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Michael Brockbank

Michael has been a freelance writer since January of 2012. He has completed more than 8,000 jobs for a variety of clients ranging from animals to travel. Currently, he is the Content Marketing Team Lead of GreenGeeks Web Hosting.

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