Algorithm Academy
29 September 2016 | Team Tamar

The Algorithm Academy: #5 User intent

Welcome to the Algorithm Academy, your six part guide designed to make you a Google genius. We’re going to be teaching you about Google’s algorithm and its ranking factors; from what makes you rank, to what has a negative impact on your rankings.

Part 5 is all about user intent; we’ll be telling you everything you need to know, from how best to target user intent, to how to write content that best serves user intent.

What does ‘user intent’ mean?

google search entry

When we talk about ‘user intent’ in SEO, we’re mainly talking about keywords and how they enter into searches. User intent in a keyword is what the keyword is intended for, or what the end goal of the user is when they hit that all important search button.

Typically, user intent-related keywords fall into three separate categories;

  • To do something
  • To know something
  • To go somewhere

Sometimes these categories can overlap, and there can be more than one intent per query.

Optimising for user intent

user intent

Optimising your content for the correct user intent is incredibly important and can result in your conversion rates on these well-optimised pages increasing well above your site average. If you are targeting the correct ‘do’ keywords, ones that are relevant to your industry, conversion rates are likely to be higher.

For example, if you are an e-Commerce business, you should be looking at optimising for buying intent keywords, keywords that indicate that a consumer is further down the purchasing funnel, and close to buying the product.

Writing content for user intent

machine learning

The concept of user intent has caused a dramatic shift in the way that content is written. As RankBrain becomes a more and more integral part of Google’s algorithm, keywords are being used less and less, whereas intent is becoming the focus of search.

When analysing search results pages in 2016, we noticed that when a user intent-related keyword is entered, hardly any of the results returned contained the exact match for the key phrase.

Instead, the pages looked to best serve our intent.

This means that Google is becoming more and more efficient at discerning and ranking user intent. Therefore, if you are creating content, your focus should be shifting.

writing content

Instead of cramming keywords into your copy, you should be looking at how best you can help a user. What are they looking for, and how can you best work to help them achieve what they need?

If you are addressing the needs of your consumers, improved rankings are sure to follow.

Team Tamar