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What is user intent and how can it enhance your content?

What is user intent and how can it enhance your content?

The best content marketing out there focuses on the audience. It ditches the self-indulgent waffle about your business and puts the spotlight on your reader. Their problems. Their goals. But it doesn’t stop there. 

Yes, your content should be relevant to your audience, adding value and directly addressing their pain points. But it should also align with their intent.

Aside from SEO, user intent has a big part to play in how well your content ranks. How much visibility and traction it gains in search results. By aligning content and intent, you ensure your blogs or webpages land on your audience’s lap at the right time. And, therefore, that this reader will actually stick around to read your content after clicking on it.

But what exactly do we mean by user intent?


What is user intent?

To put it simply, user intent is about understanding what someone is looking for. If they search for a particular question and your blog pops up, it needs to do a good job at giving them the answer. I.e, it needs to match what they were intending to find.

You could use all the right keywords and have a blog that ranks highly for ‘how to build a birdhouse’. But if your content doesn’t actually teach your reader how to build a birdhouse, they’re going to head straight back to Google. And your bounce rate will go through the roof. 

The goal with any content you produce isn’t to attract as many clicks as possible. But rather attracting clicks from the right readers. That is, readers who actually stand to gain from what you have to say.

To build organic traffic, all content you produce needs to align with user intent. Without this alignment, your content won’t convert and most of the clicks you get will mean very little. Take this very blog, for instance. If we didn’t include this section and explain what user intent is, you could say it fails at aligning with it. Thankfully – and purposefully – we’ve not done that!


What types of intent are there?

There are three main types of user intent to consider:

Informational – a reader that wants to learn something. Like in the example above with the birdhouse, people will be looking for information on a topic. Or a how-to. Or a guide. You get the idea.

Navigational – a reader that has an end destination in mind. They’re hitting Google to locate a specific website or business. For example, someone looking up a local Italian restaurant.

Transactional – a reader that is browsing online for a specific product or service. For example, they’re looking for a rug cleaner and so hop online to try and find one.

Out of the three, informational content deserves the most attention. Writing for navigational and transactional intent works if your audience has your business or product in mind. But with no prior knowledge of you, content that openly sells your product or service is unlikely to work. This is best saved for later down the funnel, once you can establish awareness and interest.

Informational content, however, attracts readers organically. Your audience-specific, problem-solving content adds value in the moment. And, if done well, it can uncover a transactional opportunity by demonstrating your authority.


How to get started

Anyone searching on Google will be looking for a solution to a problem. Your job is to uncover what this is and ensure your content provides the answer. It’s worth noting that the average time spent on web pages across all industries is 54 seconds. So you don’t have much time to prove yourself.

Your personas will be invaluable here. Consider any topic you want to write about. Who is your specific audience for this post and what do they want? What are their goals? What do they want to learn? What are they likely to be searching for?

The answers to these questions should then form the backbone of whatever content you end up producing. The more personas you include in your content strategy, the more targeted your content can be. And the more specific and relevant your content is, the more likely it is to convert.

Try selecting a handful of secondary topics related to your product or service. This allows you to reverse engineer content from what your target audiences are likely to be searching for. 

Let’s say you offer outsourced call centre services. Your target audiences might be interested in customer relations and experience, operational efficiency, or business scalability. How can you incorporate these into the content you publish? It might be something like a blog titled “how to increase efficiency in your call centre”.

By producing content that matches the specific user intent of your ideal readers, you’ll attract more of them to your site. Not only that, you’ll be able to keep them there and send them through to other pages or enter them into your sales funnel. Paying closer attention is a valuable way to make sure your content works harder, attracting even more of the right visitors to your site. 

At Coster Content, we get under the skin of your business to craft engaging, effective copy that attracts your target audiences and builds brand awareness. To find out more, contact us on 0161 413 8418.