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How to effectively optimize your content for search intent

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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a crystal ball that told you what your reader wanted before you wrote a single word? That would simplify content creation, as well as the marketing of it, wouldn’t it? That is what it feels like once you know how to determine search intent for a keyword or topic that you’re looking to write about.

Furthermore, Google’s goal is to satisfy a user’s intent each time they search, so of course, it is important to understand it for search intent optimization.

In order to optimize your content for search intent, you need to address the user’s primary goal (active intent) and present other information they might need (passive intent). By knowing the users’ potential objectives, you can then tailor your content creation and planning accordingly. Suppose your users’ intent is to gain an understanding of a topic (informational intent). Provide them with a comprehensive overview of the topic and consider what information they may need next. 

For example, if they search for the topic “mediterranean diet”, we can quickly determine this is a search with informational intent. They are likely looking to gain an understanding of the Mediterranean diet. In addition to providing an overview, the content should address related questions such as which foods are part of the diet, good recipes for beginners, and how to make a weekly meal plan. 

Here are 5 steps you can follow for search intent optimization. This assumes you have already defined your brand strategy and target audience, and if not, please take the time to do this before creating any marketing content. 

1. Select your target keyword

If one of your content goals is to increase SEO performance, then you should have one target keyword. You will use this keyword to evaluate search intent. 

You are unlikely to see engagement from search engines if your content doesn’t have a target keyword.

We recommend identifying keywords that have demand but are less competitive for the best results. Typically long-tail keywords, especially those in the form of a question, are the best targets for content creation. Mainly if your brand is currently not performing well within search.

Having identified the keyword you wish to target, you can examine the search intent.

2. Determine the keywords search intent

To determine which of the four types of search intent (navigational, informational, commercial, transactional) this keyword reflects consider these two main factors: the words used and the features presented on the search results page. 

For example, if someone searches for “best outdoor projector” and the search results show ads and reviews, we can determine that this search is of commercial intent. 

Learn more about the 4 main types of search intent.

3. Review the search engine results page (SERP)

Now enter the keyword into Google and review these sections of the search result page. These sections will help you uncover both active (the user’s primary goal) and passive (what they may need next) search intent. 

  • Current top content – Review each content’s main themes and note the subtopics, and these should help guide your outline. 
  • People also ask – If there is a people also ask box included in the search results, it is important to note these questions. As they are likely subtopics, you should cover them within your content.
  • Related searches – At the bottom of Google’s search results, you will find other inquiries related to the one you entered. These can also help you uncover subtopics and themes you may want to discuss within your content.
  • Multimedia – Take a look at the images and videos that Google considers the most relevant to the search. Using this information, you can decide which you should include in your content.

4. Choose the best content type

What type of content will likely satisfy the user? After reviewing the SERPs, we should start to gather an idea on which kind of content will be best. 

Here are a few content types based on intent:

Navigational intent

  • Homepage
  • Tools
  • Web apps

Informational intent

  • Blog posts
  • News articles
  • Guides

Commercial intent

  • Ads
  • Reviews
  • Local listings

Transactional intent

  • Product/service pages
  • Sign-up pages
  • Offers

5. Create an outline

Throughout steps 1-4, you should collect information and craft an outline for your article. This outline should be sure to include your target keyword, address search intent, and consider the themes covered in the current top-performing content. 

Elements to consider within your outline:

  • Headline – The headline is one of the most important parts of optimizing your content. When crafting your headline, make sure you address the content type, keyword, and user intent. 
  • Quick answer – If you want an opportunity to rank for Google answer boxes, you should include a short paragraph addressing the headline. 
  • Sub-topics – In the body of the content, you should be addressing the main and sub-points.
  • Supporting content – Additional content such as other articles or products will help you give the user additional information that may be useful to them and better position you as an authority on the topic. 

Conclusion

By following the steps above, you will have a well-researched outline that will direct your content creation for improved search intent optimization. Previously you may have had a target keyword, but without taking the time to understand intent, you may not have been able to meet the searcher’s needs. Now that you know how to optimize for search intent, you are more likely to succeed with SEO. 

Could you benefit from a blog copilot who can help you consistently create quality content that is optimized for each type of search intent? If so, subscribe to Jumpkit and get everything you need to maximize your blog growth.