Thinking like your customer may just be the road map to success, especially when it comes to understanding how a user’s (or customer’s) intention impacts how he or she searches for solutions to problems, as well as how he/she uses products. Search engines have embraced user intent and content marketers are following suit.
User Intent and Search Engines
SEO has begun to focus more and more on user intent. Search engines such as Google are showing results based on what it thinks the user wants. User intent, i.e. what the user is seeking when he/she searches on Google or Bing, however, doesn’t begin and end with the words typed into the search bar. Behind the words is an intention. A human is seeking something, they have an intention behind their actions, a desired outcome. But the search isn’t only related to the search engines such as Google and Bing.
Organizations and businesses are understanding that the desired solution to a query should be incorporated in the entire experience a user has with a product. But much of what informs search engine results is content. And the people responsible for content marketing, who are creating the content that search engines will troll to find the best match for a searcher, must also consider a user’s intention when searching for a solution to a problem on the internet.
Businesses, their marketing teams and copywriters are asking the question: what is the intention behind the use? A product, be it a website, an app or a voice-activated device must take into consideration the user’s intention when engaging with the product in order to provide the best possible experience.
Let’s break this down further to understand a bit better how user intent is shaping our experiences beyond our searches online.
What is user intent? User intent is the “why” behind an action, and if we can understand the why, the reason a user goes to a website, the reason a product or service is used, we can meet that need and create a better user experience.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a digital content strategy that oversees the creation, management, and distribution of content in many forms including written, visual, audio, and video across platforms including social media channels, email, downloadable e-books, etc. Content marketing is generally the information that search engines have when they pull results for queries. So this means that the marketing information made available to users must attempt to match the intention behind their search. Often times searches are informative in nature. People are searching for answers to questions, solutions to problems. And therefore, content should also match this— content should be informative. It should give the user something in exchange for his/her time with the brand.
Content marketing provides content that holds value for users— it is not straightforward sales, but a more nuanced way of gaining brand recognition by providing relevant information. This feature is coupled with consistency to create loyalty and establish authority in certain subject areas.
Content Marketing and SEO
Content marketing is related to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is an organic means of driving traffic to a website through user searches. For content to rise to the top of a search engine, it must be consistent, meets the user’s intent criteria, and leverages keywords. Additionally, the more popular a blog or site, the more highly it may be ranked. This, in the end, is a source of free digital marketing that can reach vast audiences, making it highly valuable. This is one of the primary reasons businesses invest time and effort into content marketing strategies.
User Intent and Content Marketing Strategies
How do user intent and content marketing work together? Just as the user is trying to problem solve through his/her use of a product, content marketing is problem-solving to make it as easy as possible for users to find and use a brand, service, or product. In essence, both the user intent and the content marketing strategy are working toward the same end goal: Solving the user’s problem or to put it another way, fulfilling his/her intention. They’re working to connect the user with their brand.
Shopping online as well as seeking information produces pages and pages of results for even the simplest of queries. If the process of finding the right information on a web page or an app is too laborious, it’s easy to switch sites and/or vendors. If a user doesn’t find what he or she is looking for straight away, the odds are they will look elsewhere. User intent needs to be satisfied with ease. This is why content experts consider the intent; their job is to clearly and quickly give the best responses. The content users encounter should also create an impression on the user that the brand is the best option to fulfill their needs and solve their problem.
How to Write Good Content
Good content has an easy-to-follow customer journey map, giving easy access to digestible amounts of information in a logical, orderly way. Infographics, for example, are a popular way to quickly explain complex subjects and large amounts of information in a quickly digestible format.
Furthermore, content that fulfills its function to create conversions and brand loyalty will do so in a way that allows users to identify with a product and brand. Users can see the brand as an extension of themselves, as espousing similar values, and as a tool that can help them to solve a problem.
Fulfilling user intent isn’t exclusive to the content on a site. It includes the design of a site or app or other type of product with an intuitive layout, color palette, font, photos, and payment system, which all align to help users fulfill their intentions easily and pleasurably. Even naming the product is a content creator’s job. Good content creation starts with a user’s intent and works backward to discover the solution and desired outcome that drove them to an internet search in the first place. With this solution in mind, the best content is created.
As with the design, the content should begin not with discussing the product itself, but with the client using the product, and his or her intentions with the product. Why would anyone want to use this product or interface? What is the problem to be solved? Once this can be deciphered, the content experience of the product can be created in the most useful way to help both users and search engines. Call-to-actions buttons become helpful and not harassing if there’s a tacit understanding between the user and the content creator that the goal is to assist through the sale. It’s not selling for the sake of selling.
If content marketing and content creators themselves can help solve users’ problems by enabling them with easy and quick access to information, then they are helping create a solution. This, in turn, means that a happy customer will become a loyal repeat client and the business has achieved ROI.
To Sum it Up
As the internet and search engines continually evolve the way information is accessed, making it easier for users to connect with the information they want, the content must keep pace and deliver to fulfill user intentions. The focus on user intent is creating an opportunity for digital marketers and content creators to better connect with users by providing solutions to users’ queries and problems.