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Get More Qualified Traffic With A Focus On User Search Intent

user search intent

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Is your business struggling to see tangible results even though you’re driving organic traffic to your website? Have you considered that your content simply isn’t satisfying the ultimate need of your audience?

To drive website conversions in 2021, whether that means a click to call, contact form fill, or purchase of a product or service, it’s essential for you to have a comprehensive understanding of exactly what problem your audience is seeking to solve and then deliver content that will keep them engaged with your brand, build trust and authority, and ultimately provide the solution they’re seeking.

Understanding Your Audiences’ Needs Before Generating Leads

Before you begin optimizing your website and its content in hopes of ranking at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs), the first step of lead generation begins with thorough research. You have to consider not only who is searching for a focus topic but the resources they’re looking for to satisfy that initial search intent. 

Whenever someone navigates to a search engine like Google, they’re looking to get something out of the experience every single time. Understanding the underlying intent behind what a user is searching for and the search queries they’re entering is the foundation of search intent. 

As a business owner, these are the four core questions that need to be answered in terms of a particular topic relating to your products or services and the target audience you hope to reach:

Once you’ve identified who your ideal customer is, the overarching issues they have, and why you’re the one to satisfy their needs, you can shift focus to how you can connect with them, build trust, and ultimately generate quality leads based on search intent. 

It’s all about taking a look at the bigger picture to better serve the wants and needs of your target audience.

Seeing the Bigger Picture With User Intent

Much like finding solutions to overcome obstacles that pop up in our everyday lives, different individuals take subjective approaches to arrive at the same objective solution. For example, If you and I were presented with the same math equation and both identified the correct answer in the end, does it really matter that the steps we took along the way were different? Of course not. 

However, in terms of search engine optimization based on user intent, those different steps, rather search queries in this scenario, do matter when it comes to improving the number of quality leads being driven into the business via SEO. Without taking a step back to look at the larger picture of who your audience is, how they’re searching, and how to capitalize on capturing their attention, you’re likely missing out on valuable opportunities to get found by your ideal customer through lower-volume avenues.

What is User Intent for SEO?

Anything your target audience is searching for and the ways they are trying to find it are all abstractions of their initial search intent, which is simply the core need they’re looking to satisfy.

Using free tools like Google Search Console, you’re able to take a look at all of the keywords your site is ranking for, the search volume associated with each keyword phrase, and the position each URL is ranking at. What you can see is that there is a multitude of keyword variations that point the user to the same URL. These keyword variations are just different ways of users expressing their explicit or implied intent in the search engine.

Types of User Intent In Terms of Search

How to Align User Search Intent with SEO in 2021

When building out a successful search engine optimization campaign in 2021, it’s no longer just about ranking for the core keyword related to a particular page — you’re likely leaving untapped opportunities to drive in conversions based on users’ intent.

Google Search Console

First, you want to leverage your data to make informed, data-driven decisions regarding updates to your website content. Google Search Console is an excellent tool that can be used to uncover what queries your website (or a particular page you want to rank) is gaining traction for in regards to impressions and clicks. Then, you can take a look at those pages from a different perspective to decide if a particular page is actually doing a good job with answering those users’ needs. 

Another Search Console feature you should utilize is segmenting the data to be question focused. For example, search for all the queries you got impressions for containing the words “what,” “how,” “why,” etc. This will be the fastest way to see what questions your users are searching that may be tied to your industry. From there, you can make some changes to your on-page content to make sure that there are clear, concise answers to frequently asked questions to help that page rank higher up in the results moving forward.

Google Analytics

You’re likely already familiar with Google Analytics, but did you know that this free tool can offer a wealth of information about whether or not particular pages of your website are meeting peoples’ intent?

Does your page have a low time on page and a high bounce rate? There’s a chance that your site is ranking for certain keywords, but when users land on your page, they leave immediately since they’re not getting what they expected. This is an indication that it’s time to make some updates to your content to create a better experience for visitors. Perhaps you should add a video or infographic to help break down the page topic and encourage more engagement with your audience.

How to Optimize for Users’ Search Intent

In addition to taking a thorough look at the ways your audience is searching and finding your business, you’ll also want to take advantage of proper page structure and layout. 

In the modern, digital era, users’ attention spans are at an all time low, and most people visiting your site are skimmers looking for an answer or to meet a need. Laying out your page in an organized, succinct manner will not only make your content easier to understand for visitors but also for the bots that crawl and rank your site in the search results. Using subheaders correctly and creating a nice, easily digestible flow of information will ultimately help your page rank and perform stronger.

Building Trust & Authority with Your Audience

After ensuring your site’s structure is set up correctly, you’ve got to cut through the fluff with your content. By finding out which questions your audience is asking and then providing them the path of least resistance to the answer, you’ll create the optimal experience for users and benefit in the rankings.

Adjust Messaging Based on the Channel or Desired Action

Changing messaging based on the desired action you want your audience to take can have a huge impact on not only your conversions but also in terms of the page experience of your users. With SEO, little details can go a long way in this area of optimization. 

Rather than using the standard “Contact Us” on all of your call to actions (CTA), you can change them to be appropriate for whatever your website visitors are interested in. For example, if you run an HVAC company and a visitor lands on your indoor air quality page, you should have your CTAs display a message for that visitor to “Get Your Free IAQ Audit!” to offer a more personalized experience and help separate your brand from the competitors.  

Additionally, pieces of content fall short too often in terms of ranking because the author places too much emphasis on trying to close the deal with readers rather than serving as an educational resource. There’s a very fine line between when to push sales versus valuable information to your audience. Knowing which messaging is more appropriate will make all the difference in building relationships with your audience.

Key Takeaways

Long story short, business owners with an online presence need to be doing everything in their power to create a positive on-page experience for their audience. As long as you understand who your typical user is, the ways they’re searching to solve their problems, and then giving them the best, most concise solution to that problem, you’ll likely be rewarded with a bump up on the search engine results pages. 

To find out more information about leveraging user intent with SEO to increase lead quality, don’t miss your chance to attend Search Engine Journal’s webinar, hosted by CallRail, on Wednesday, April 28th at 2 pm eastern, featuring 1SEO’s founder Lance Bachmann for a deep dive into user intent! Click here to reserve your spot!

Casey Quinn

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