Blog Basics: Understanding Reader’s Intent
One of the most critical things you can do when researching a blog topic is to understand the reader’s intent. This might seem backward since you don’t know who is actually going to read your content and why. Yet, this very basic concept derived from marketing experts is actually what Google is doing when matching content to searches. Master reader’s intent correctly and you’ll get more eyes on your blog consistently.
What Reader’s Intent Is
Reader’s intent is the concept addressing the reason someone typed in certain keywords in a search engine query. They are interested in finding something out and Google’s job is to give them the most relevant answer. Google isn’t always correct, but it has gotten very good at determining if someone wants to learn, compare or buy something.
Why Reader Intent Is Important
If you aren’t properly addressing what a reader is looking for, you aren’t relevant. If you spend enough time doing SEO work and keyword research, there is no question that being relevant critical to ranking better. Consider how you search for things online. Most of us don’t simply type in “kittens” because we know the search will yield a lot of stuff we probably don’t need or want such as adoptions, abuse, feral or health issues. Reader intent
Instead, if we type in “cute kitten videos,” we are telling Google we probably want to see something fun and entertaining about kittens. If we really wanted to know about our feline’s health issues, maybe we would have put “cat vaccinations,” into the search query. That result would probably yield animal health and safety websites or even veterinarian websites offering information about cat health.
The Search Engine’s Job
It’s no secret that the search engine has a client: the person typing in a search term. The search engine that does the best job of giving that internet searcher the best answer is the search engine used most often and wins the most ad revenue. It’s that simple. Google wins hands down in this game with algorithms smarter than most MIT dropouts (though a few probably had a thing or two with the formulation).
That being the job of the search engine, it has to decipher what is often not very specific terms. Today I searched “buy a bronco” because Ford is coming out with a new car as a throwback to the classic. If the search engine gave me horses or Denver football, it wouldn’t have answered my questions. But was my question really that well designed that Google should know?
The answer is yes.
Trending Stories are Relevant
Google knows what the news cycle is, monitoring press releases, news stories and hot topics people are discussing online. That’s part of the algorithm. With this information, Google is able to discern that Denver football is not in season and I probably don’t need a new jersey but that Ford is coming out with an exciting new car people are talking about. Since this is the most relevant current topic, Ford topics win the Google search and I’m a happy explorer or is that bronco …. Too many Ford puns in there!
But, what if my intention was to buy a new oversized jersey to sleep in since adults really shouldn’t have footed football fuzzy jammies. Let’s say that my child decided to play tug-of-war with the dog with it and they ripped it to shreds. Did Google give me the right search? No, but I my search is less relevant based on sheer numbers.
Google Knows if They Are Right
How does Google know if they got my search right? It’s simple: bounce rate. If I saw the first search engine page results (SEPRs) and didn’t see anything that looked similar to what I was looking for, then I’d clarify my search term and retry – probably in very quick fashion. Google knows that when people click through on SERPs, it has the right and relevant topic. The pages that get people staying the longest or with the most internal redirect clicks are the most relevant and thus win the higher rankings.
Bloggers Figuring Out the Puzzle Pieces
As bloggers and content creators, you need to understand more than the topic intent. Even within the same topic, there can be different intent.
Here are some intent modifiers used with keywords:
- Best: refers to a comparison
- Buy: looking for places to purchase
- Cheap: wants something at the lowest price
Each of these has a different intention by the searcher when it comes to the buying process. This directs how a blogger will write the content. The higher up in the sales funnel the reader is, the less likely they are to buy. This is akin to differentiating a lead from a warm or hot prospect. As prospects move down the sales funnel, they are more educated about what they want and need and are ready to pull the trigger and rip out that credit card.
Content does the same thing. The topic “cat health” may give high-level information about keeping your cat healthy and appropriate veterinarian care. As content moves the reader down the funnel, the reader has baseline knowledge to know his cats need “cat vaccinations” but might want to know which ones are needed when. From there, the reader moves down the funnel to “cat vaccination clinics near me.” He is ready to find the closest place that can serve his needs.
Use Google To Know If You Identified the Right Intent
If you have an idea of your content, topic and keywords then drop the keywords into Google. Are similar things popping up? They should if your intent is correctly identified in the longtail keywords you used (longtail is simply the phrase with identifiers). Look at what the results say. You’ll see boxes with summaries called snippets. Google sees these as the best results to answer the most common questions.
To rank, you want to make your snippets better than everyone else’s with the most pertinent information summarized. Keep in mind, if your longtail keyword didn’t produce results similar to your expectation, you need to adjust your keywords because that phrase is not relevant to what you are presenting. This is where most online content creators fail. They think the keyword is always going to be relevant. It isn’t, so learn to adapt to what Google sees as pertinent and relevant.
Thinking Like Your Buyer to Win at SERPs
To win with keywords and reader’s intent, ultimately winning the SERPs game, you need to think like the person searching for your product. This is the marketer understanding what pain points or instigating factor stop to get someone to look online for something.
A person struggling to stay awake during the day may search for “energy solutions” to find answers. Yet, “energy solutions” is doesn’t lead to physical energy in the body buy has to do with clean energy for homes and businesses. If you are writing about the physical energy solution, you need to adjust your target keywords to something like “low energy in afternoon” to find the right people searching for your content.
With some practice, anyone can start to think about content like a marketer and create content that is relevant and searchable. If you need a hand, check out our solutions here at Digital Footprint Media. Our Influx Method Blogger Core package gives you the keywords you need based on the topics you want to write about. Eliminate the research and halt writer’s block and just get writing.