Expectations are an indispensable part of life. To some degree, we all presume how the events we participate in will unfold and how the people we interact with will behave. And, in return, those people expect something from us — whether it be a conventional, symbolic gesture like shaking a person’s hand when greeting them or a specific sort of interaction.
Wherever we go and whatever we do, others’ expectations of us, and our own presumptions, follow us like shadows.
Consequently, it is no surprise that this element of our non-digital life also manifests itself in the virtual space. The best example of this phenomenon is search intent and its overarching impact on online presence.
- Search intent is the user’s goal when they type a search query.
- Satisfying search intent with content requires identifying your target audience’s needs.
- To create suitable content for your audience, you should analyze the SERPs, determine the content structure, perform keyword research, help people navigate your content, and optimize your site for search engines.
- Your checklist for satisfying search intent should include performing on-page optimization for keywords and taking care of internal linking.
- Increased visibility and improved user conversion are two critical benefits of satisfying search intent.
Identifying and managing others’ expectations is essential to running a successful website. Otherwise, you might find standing out in a crowded online space challenging.
This in-depth guide provides advice on creating engaging and relevant content to achieve this goal, listing valuable guidelines and tools you can use to satisfy search intent and meet your audience’s expectations.
What Is Search Intent?
Satisfying search intent, at its core, is all about presenting users with the information they seek. However, while it may sound straightforward as a concept, it is much more problematic to pull off in practice.
Let’s use the search prompt “going kayaking in brazil” as an example.
A user searching for this information has some underlying cause for it. Sometimes, they may not be fully aware of their intent, but it does not change the fact they want to find this information for a specific purpose.
The issue is that neither Google nor website owners can say with 100% certainty they know this purpose.
Like in real life, the best we can do is guess the answer based on past experiences and reasoning. Alas, this method is flawed and often incorrect.
In the case above, the results are pretty general and revolve around booking a kayaking trip. But there are other reasons a person could search for this information.
For example, a user may be an experienced kayaker looking for additional details on the best spots in Brazil to enjoy the hobby. In such a situation, only one of the top four results matches their intent.
To make matters worse, informational searches constitute merely a part of search intent.
We can group other purposes for making a quick Google search into three categories: commercial, navigational, and transactional.
Besides trying to learn something useful, people might be looking to read a review of popular kitchenware, find a nearby restaurant selling seafood, or purchase a particular laptop model.
Going back to our example above, we can see that Google determines the search intent for “going kayaking in brazil” as highly commercial. Thus, it presents results about booking kayaking trips in the country.
Both Google and site owners must take these factors into consideration if they want to keep their users satisfied. Anything short of concise, relevant results will inevitably lead to frustration and a poor user experience.
Identifying Audience Needs and Search Intent
As you can see, identifying search intent is tricky. Whether you assign this task to a human writer or a supercomputer, uncovering the needs of the person typing the words into the search box will be far from smooth sailing.
Still, machines are getting better at it with each passing year.
Ever since launching RankBrain in 2015, Google has made significant progress in this regard. In fact, its algorithm is now arguably better than humans at understanding gibberish.
Google’s proficiency in language understanding was perhaps best demonstrated by BERT — another model published by its engineers in 2018 — beating humans in advanced reading-comprehension tests.
Even SuperGLUE, a test explicitly designed to be formidable for BERT-based systems, has been conquered by transformer-based neural language models released by Microsoft and Google.
On top of that, forthcoming developments hint that Google places perfecting the understanding of search intent at the top of its list of priorities.
Google MUM update, which is another attempt by the company to help its algorithm figure out the search intent, could be the most significant advancement we’ve seen to date. While it is yet to be released, it may revolutionize the industry once it gets fully implemented.
Its primary advantage over previous models is multimodality.
MUM can learn information from all file formats, from tried-and-true blog posts to videos and podcasts. As a result, it can process this data in search results, delivering more search-relevant content.
What once used to take numerous searches to receive satisfying answers, Google MUM could solve by answering one precise query.
Soon enough, we may discover that our questions about DIY home projects are met with a few well-produced, detailed YouTube videos rather than a never-ending list of how-to articles — provided the algorithm determines they match our search intent best.
What it means for content creators is that focusing on optimizing content around specific phrases and keywords should lose its priority status in favor of nailing the search intent of the target keyword.
Content creators from all areas should invest more time in figuring out the search intent of their audience. It will help them produce relevant articles and videos and reach the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
How to Create Content Your Audience Wants to See
Finding the blueprint for creating content that ranks and is valuable to readers may sometimes feel like participating in the search for the holy grail. Fortunately, the former is much easier.
Writers can find new ways to appease the audience and Google algorithm by:
1) Focusing on critical aspects of creating good content,
2) Using various tools to pinpoint the needs of users.
Let’s examine the tasks one should complete to ensure their content jumps off the page.
Analyze the SERPs
The first task on our list is, unsurprisingly, devoted to research. After all, in order to create awesome content that perfectly encapsulates the intent of your audience, you need to know what this intent actually is.
Analyzing SERPs gets you one step closer to achieving this goal.
Firstly, all sites ranking high for your selected keyword have already passed Google’s search intent test. The algorithm chose them as the most suitable recommendations from thousands of websites.
By extension, you should aim to create something similar to what you can find on the first page of search results.
Secondly, examining these sites can give you an idea of how to overcome them.
Contrary to what others might want you to believe, no guide is “perfect” or “complete.” This fact is particularly evident in today’s ever-changing online environment, where breaking news can become obsolete at lightning speed.
Analyzing SERPs will help you locate weaknesses and strengths of the highest-ranking pieces of content on the subject. You can later use these insights to create your own article that satisfies search intent better and is generally more valuable to users.
Perhaps you can provide a fresh take on an overanalyzed topic. Or maybe you want to share groundbreaking observations that invalidate previous conclusions.
Either way, mulling over top search results is an excellent method to discover more ways to put the spotlight on your content and website.
Below, we go over three tools that can help you squeeze tons of valuable data from each SERP analysis.
Surfer SEO Content Editor stands out as a simple yet powerful solution among numerous copywriting tools on the market.
A must-have addition to any copywriter’s toolbox, it lets you quickly evaluate what kind of content ranks for a particular keyword. Simply add your keywords to the search box, choose the appropriate region and preferred crawler type (mobile or desktop), and hit “Create Content Editor.”
What you’ll see next is a list of top competitors currently ranking for your chosen keyword. Choose the pages you think best satisfy search intent for this keyword.
Based on your selection, the editor will automatically create guidelines for your piece of content, including a specific word count, a suggested number of headings, and a list of semantically related keywords you can use in your article.
You can modify these as you see fit, removing keywords or adding new ones, as well as changing the optimal word count and the number of paragraphs.
Once you have everything set up, write your piece according to the instructions displayed on the right side of your screen. Doing so will increase your content score, which is a helpful metric that grades content quality and relevancy.
The higher your content score, the better your odds of ranking at the top of SERPs.
If you create an article with a high content score, you’ll be more likely to answer your audience’s needs and satisfy their search intent, which is the entire goal of this exercise.
Performing an SEO audit is usually one of the first steps site owners take to find missed opportunities and transform them into quick wins. But it can also help you create stellar content.
As you’ve probably guessed, it can do so by giving you helpful pointers regarding the actions of your competitors.
Thanks to the Surfer SEO Audit Tool, you can quickly browse a raft of insights. For instance, you can learn what essential terms are missing from your pages and how long your content should be to get more traction.
Start by selecting the URL you would like to audit and the keyword you would like to target.
Next, pick a country or city from the list so the tool can mimic a query run from that place. It will allow you to see the results relevant to the location.
Finally, choose the preferred crawler type and whether you want to include the sentiment for NLP Entities and click “Create Audit.”
Even a brief audit will help you better understand your audience’s needs and how to satisfy them.
Surfer SEO SERP Analyzer
Surfer SEO SERP Analyzer is the ultimate tool to determine what you can do to improve your position in search results. It has a plethora of useful features, allowing you to cross-reference numerous factors against your competitors, such as the number of words on the page and its content score.
The main purpose of this tool is to find connections between various on-page factors and positions in search results. If you find anything that sticks out, you should carefully examine it and note it down for future use.
For example, if you see that all of the top sites ranking for the selected keyword use it in their H1 headings, following in their footsteps is a good idea.
When you type the keyword into the search box, Surfer SEO SERP Analyzer will analyze the first fifty Google search results for this keyword.
On the left, you’ll find several sections. Each offers unique information you can use to establish how your article should look to satisfy your audience’s search intent.
Your task is simple — browse these sections to discover interesting outliers. Thanks to it, you can learn what people want to see and if your competitors deliver satisfactory results.
Determine the Content Structure
After analyzing the SERPs, you should have a good idea of what to include in your content. Now comes the time to support your creative concepts with a coherent structure.
This task includes going over all the ideas you want to include in your article and organizing them in a specific order. You should consider all the elements that come into play when creating a piece of content, such as headings, paragraphs, and images.
One of the most important things to do at this point is to divide your work into subtopics. For example, if you plan to write a guide on decorating a country home, you can split the topic into a few sections — one for each room.
Without a suitable framework, your content will end up messy and unorganized.
Remember — algorithms are better than ever at identifying well-written, relevant content that matches users’ search intent. Writing about the subject in an incomprehensible manner won’t cut it.
Try to make your piece as easy to understand as possible without going overboard and making it trivial. Your readers should have no issue finding, understanding, sharing, and using the information you provide.
Again, you can use the Surfer SEO Content Editor to your advantage.
With the help of this tool, you can easily check and modify the page’s structure. For instance, you can adjust the number of headers and images or, for example, determine the validity of implemented meta tags.
Based on the tool’s suggestions and your own research, you can generate extensive briefs in a matter of seconds. It allows you to nail the search intent while delivering unique value to your readers.
Perform Keyword Research
Another process no writer should neglect is keyword research.
Although the era of stuffing articles with hundreds of keywords is over, they still play a notable role in SEO. As such, they should appear in your piece — preferably in reasonable amounts.
That said, you cannot just grab a few of the most popular keywords on a given topic and scatter them all over the text. Instead, you must select the most relevant keywords for your audience’s search intent.
You can create the best article in the world based on tons of data that’s full of cleverly-written points, but it will still be for nothing if you fail to target the keywords that match the user’s intent.
Creating content without considering keywords won’t yield the results you hope to achieve.
You can use various tools to ensure you’re on the right track. For example, Surfer’s Keyword Research Tool can help you discover dozens of relevant topic clusters based on your target keyword.
Since there are countless factors to consider when doing keyword research, streamlining the process with the help of this tool seems like a no-brainer. It can save you time that you can spend to improve the flow of your article or fill it with more information.
The tool can sort keywords by relevance, search volume, and difficulty. Thanks to it, you can uncover low-hanging keywords that will help your content get the attention it deserves.
Surfer’s Keyword Research Tool can help you resonate with your target audience and attract more organic traffic by making user intent research a breeze and ensuring proper keyword targeting. Creating relevant, high-quality, and engaging blog posts has never been easier!
Help People Navigate Your Content
Speaking of creating engaging content — one aspect of this process that frequently gets overlooked is ensuring the text is easy to navigate. While far from an unforgivable oversight, it can prevent your article from reaching its true potential.
Specifically, messing up your article’s title, headings, and meta description can break the article.
When people come across a blog post that tricked them with a false meta description or clickbait title, they will most likely go back to search results and look for something that’s actually helpful.
This situation is known as “pogo-sticking,” and it can damage your chances of climbing SERPs faster than you can spell its name.
When Google notices people “bounce off” your page, it will conclude your content isn’t good enough to rank and penalize your article. You should do everything in your power to prevent this from happening.
Making your content more accessible can help you with that.
Similar to how every floor plan should prioritize making the layout easy to navigate, you must do the same for your content.
Once again, numerous tools can do most of the heavy lifting for you. Let’s examine how two of them — Surfer SEO Audit Tool and Rank Math — may help you optimize your posts for the best performance.
Under-optimizing or over-optimizing your content can bury it in search results. But many writers still do it — more frequently than they would like to admit.
Surfer SEO Audit Tool can help you avoid making this mistake. Analyzing your article page with this tool allows you to identify critical problems that keep it from reaching its full potential.
For instance, if Surfer’s Audit suggests your content length is too low, you can fix it by adding more words to your article. It is a convenient way to score some quick wins.
It’s worth noting that you’ll need the proper prep work to reach a satisfying outcome. Repeating the same process without considering the intent you want to serve is, to put it mildly, suboptimal.
Each page needs a different approach.
Using one method to solve different things will only make everything more complicated. So, remember to define your content type before starting the audit.
To create a product page, look at other product pages that rank for the selected keyword. Conversely, analyzing landing pages will prove more helpful than going through bazillion other websites if you want to create a comprehensive landing page.
Surfer’s Audit Tool makes tidying up your content structure effortless. Provided you take your time to accustom yourself to this tool, it can make for a powerful ally in your quest to nail your audience’s search intent.
Rank Math is an SEO WordPress plugin that can help you create SEO-friendly content for your audience. It is a free tool that offers invaluable built-in suggestions, saving the time you would have to spend coming up with those on your own.
Thanks to intuitive UI elements, it’s the perfect option for casual WordPress users to take their game to the next level. And, if you’re willing to pay extra, you can unlock valuable features, such as Rank Math’s Content AI.
This feature was explicitly designed to help writers create stellar content that amazes readers and search engines alike. It allows users to integrate AI suggestions alongside their content creation process — similar to how Surfer SEO Content Editor offers real-time updates on a writer’s progress.
Nevertheless, it’s not the full extent of this tool’s capabilities. It can also help you:
- keep tabs on the current index status of your pages,
- track Search Engine Errors and keyword rankings,
- learn what SEO Techniques are working for you,
- and many more!
Thanks to its support for over 20 schema types, you can sleep soundly, knowing that your every content piece is well-organized and easy to read.
Rank Math is a valuable solution to meet best practices with minimum hassle. It can help you provide your audience with excellent content and rank higher.
Optimize for Search Engines
Last but not least, optimizing your content for search engines would be a wise move.
Although it’s true that the best pages are written for the user, not for the search engine, the line between the two has become so blurred that it’s barely visible anymore.
Writing for the user and writing for the search engine have merged into one.
As a result, satisfying the algorithm’s demands is a straightforward way to answer the needs of your audience — and vice versa.
At first glance, it may seem like a roundabout measure to go about this issue. Yet, it’s a perfectly viable solution that’s worth investigating further. For instance, going back and re-optimizing your old content could be just what you need to drive more organic traffic to your website.
Tools like Sitebulb can help you analyze your site’s performance and design the optimal course of action for the future.
Sitebulb is a website crawler that analyzes data from an SEO perspective. With it, you can quickly detect and fix issues in your site structure. Its clear interface allows you to uncover vital insights — even if being tech-savvy is not your strong suit.
For example, its “Hints” feature lists various issues that put your website at a significant disadvantage. Solving them is a necessary first step to optimizing your site for search engines and delivering an improved user experience.
Whether you want to crawl the site for errors, detect internal and external link problems, or quickly estimate your internal linking capabilities, Sitebulb is the best tool for the job.
Let’s stop for a moment to summarize what we’ve learned so far about satisfying search intent with content.
Even though the task is inherently tricky, search engines get better at identifying search intent every year. As a result, content creators also need to improve if they don’t want to lag behind.
Luckily, web owners and writers can use a wide array of tools to improve at this task. With countless technological solutions at their disposal, they have a much easier time delivering on-point, high-quality content than their predecessors.
Still, there are some crucial steps they need to follow.
In general, we can distinguish three critical areas to consider when writing an article:
- content structure and on-page basics,
- on-page optimization for keywords,
- internal linking.
Each of these three elements plays a vital role in making the content stand out from the rest. Consequently, all creators should include them in their to-do checklists and address them one by one.
Benefits of Satisfying Search Intent
Satisfying search intent can be a tough row to hoe. After all, unless you’re blessed with a gift of mind-reading, delivering what others want to see in search results requires a lot of brainpower.
As demonstrated by the examples above, it calls for a lot of planning and perseverance.
Sometimes, you may spend long hours figuring out how to structure your content to meet the needs of your audience.
Moreover, you’ll need to stay vigilant, constantly re-evaluating your blog posts and articles to ensure they adhere to the highest standards. Apart from following the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, you’ll also have to rely on your judgment and a wide array of tools.
All of it can make you question the profitability of this pursuit.
Nonetheless, the juice is worth the squeeze.
Search intent offers many tangible benefits, the most notable of which are two:
- increased visibility,
- improved user conversion.
Join us as we explore these advantages in greater detail below.
Not many people talk about it, but visibility is a form of internet currency.
Unfortunately, unlike banks that can print new money bills, you cannot generate visibility out of thin air. Instead, others must interact with your website to increase its value.
The thing is that they’ll expect something in return.
This is where satisfying the search intent steps in. By providing users with well-written content that answers their questions, you give them valuable information. It makes them trust your site and recommend it to others.
Ultimately, you gain a good reputation. Now, your website is not just another blip on the radar but a repository of helpful content. It can help you advertise your brand and make your content well-known throughout the world.
At the same time, increased visibility equals more authoritativeness. People start referring to you as an expert and treating everything you say more seriously.
Your efforts culminate with every SEO artist’s dream — increasing your E-A-T.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, the acronym stands for three ingredients:
These are the factors that determine how well your content ranks and, subsequently, how many people see and visit your website. Taking that into account, it’s hardly surprising that so many are after satisfying search intent to the best of their abilities.
Improved User Conversion
Another substantial advantage of satisfying search intent is that it leads to more conversions. This benefit stems from the fact that giving people what they want encourages them to invest more time and energy in your brand.
More often than not, even a slim chance of receiving something in return is enough to convince entire crowds to participate in an endeavor. If you don’t believe it, just ask some lottery owners.
Nevertheless, what makes satisfying search intent so successful in growing conversion rates is something entirely different — its unique ability to guide the right people to your site.
Let’s expand on this point a little more.
According to Wordstream, a reasonable conversion rate is between 2 and 5 percent. To someone unfamiliar with the reality of running a website, it might seem insignificant. But to a site owner, convincing five people out of a hundred to convert is a big deal.
Usually, these individuals actively seek out a specific type of content.
Satisfying search intent allows you to get more of these people to visit your site.
Naturally, it leads to higher conversion rates. And higher conversion rates help your website grow and increase your revenue. What’s not to like about this outcome?
The Bottom Line
Identifying and managing search intent can be time-consuming and require a hefty amount of patience. Still, even as challenging to achieve, it’s well worth the trouble.
Creating content that answers the needs of your target audience can help you grow your site’s visibility and improve user conversion. It is a straightforward way to become a better content creator and ensure your website is headed in the right direction.
That being said, remember that satisfying search intent isn’t just about content. Many times, people don’t want to see long-winded articles or blog posts. Instead, they want to sign up for a newsletter, get a quote, or buy something from an online store. Uncover what they need, and you will be destined for success!