3 Reasons User Intent is Squashing Traditional SEO

By on April 12, 2013
typing on laptop2

We all want to generate quality traffic to our sites, and SEO keyword research is a vital part of that. What we don’t want to do is underestimate the extent to which the user’s specific intent influences what they come across on the web. User intent isn’t a brand new concept, but it’s creating a new way to look at SEO as web properties try to capture as many site visitors as they can.

Though user intent could take up pages and pages of a thick marketing book, we wanted to share three reasons why it’s worth the time and effort to think about it in terms of generating traffic.

1. It Simplifies Content Strategies

When SEO content gets published online, the whole purpose is to maintain the quality and relevance so people find their way to it. Nailing down the intent people have no matter what they are typing into that search engine helps focus the requirements of content creators, who are therefore forced to think in terms of specific intent.

2. It Ramps Up Keyword Effectiveness

Picture this: you want to find out how to grow a vegetable garden, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money and you need specific information for your location. When you search for help, maybe you type something like “inexpensive vegetable garden tips for South Carolina.”

This helps online businesses and content generators figure out what’s most important as they push for traffic, and how they can narrow in on less competitive keywords.

3. It’s the Center of All Searches

Behind every Google query lies a certain objective on the part of the searcher. They want answers, resources, reaction, trust, and so on. Making that connection stronger and using the right keyword phrases goes a long way.

User intent needs to be a part of every SEO strategy, and will only become more important moving forward into the future.

Have anything to add? How do you imply user intent strategies into your own production? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

About Driving Traffic Contributor


  1. Premium Cardsharing

    May 14, 2013 at 11:50 pm

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    • Driving Traffic Contributor

      May 15, 2013 at 10:35 am

      Yes, we encourage having outside contributors write for our blog! Hit us up on Twitter or Facebook and let us know what you want to write about.

  2. Misty Weiss

    April 27, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I am new to all of this and learning as I go along.So it is helpful for me to get these mailings but it is also great to here what other people are doing as well.It shows that I am on the rite track.I have been basically been doing the same as the rest of you and using keywords based on what I would type if I was searching for something.I will even do a test.I write down the words I want to use and then try them out to see where they leed so this way I can get an idea of which ones would best place me. I don’t know much about seo but can’t wait to learn more and will be studying up on user intent and using phrases as opposed to just words.I didn’t think of it but when I am looking for something more specific I do type a specific phrase as opposed to a single word when I’m not sure exactly what I need.My thanks to everyone this has been most helpful.

  3. Phil Polson

    April 27, 2013 at 11:03 am

    #seo #sales
    Thanks for the great information. Pity you can’t just add the word buy to keywords and take them straight to the store as many still seem to believe you can.


  4. Erich Senft

    April 26, 2013 at 11:50 am

    I’m no SEO expert, but it seems logical that the search engines want happy searchers, and those who get what they want or what they’re looking for are going to be happy. If you’re happy, you repeat the experience next time you’re looking. I’ve never liked the over optimization that was popular until quite recently…just wish I was better at putting this philosophy into practice on my own sites!

  5. fred

    April 25, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    I see the point but user intent has always been part of SEO hasn’t it? Hence the mantra of ‘buying’ keywords. So this seems a bit like stating the obvious.

    Plus the search example used is a bit odd – ‘inexpensive vegetable garden tips for South Carolina’ Unsurprisingly it shows no searches on the adwords keyword tool. Only internet marketers would use a term like that!

    I agree with John above regarding thinking around natural language. Using common sense is the best tip for keywords. Change your perspective by 180 degrees and think ‘what would i type’? I do this and it has helped me plenty.

  6. Bob Richards

    April 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I see lots of posts titled from the writer’s point of view such as “How to Fix YOUR credit Report.” But the searcher searches on “How to fix MY credit report.” To match the long tail string used by the searcher, we need to be ion their heads.

  7. Tanya Smith Lorenz

    April 25, 2013 at 5:28 am

    Very true – it can be easy to forget the human reader in the quest for more SEO juice – big mistake. At its most basic it’s about always double checking that the use will get what they expect (at the minimum), have a good experience of the site, and better still, build a connection so they want more from you.
    Great pointers in the article :-)

  8. Venkatesh

    April 25, 2013 at 4:55 am

    Has there been a major difference in the way searchers set about their business on search engines, or are we just using new nomenclature for the same old things?

    • Driving Traffic Contributor

      April 25, 2013 at 10:14 am

      Good question, Venkatesh… I would think there is a difference in search intention and the ever-hopeful end result. Mobile devices have shortened our way of typing, and that probably has a lot to do with it. People expect more out of their searches these days.

  9. Andrew Mazer

    April 25, 2013 at 4:24 am

    I use blog posts to match content with probable search criteria.

  10. rob

    April 25, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Seth hit it well. What does your market want. I try to research the relevant forums, groups and competitor blogs for hot button issues and existing content…Next, decide if am creating SEO content for buyers or education seekers or both. I think forums in particular are more personal and good for mini surveys. Just ask what they want. How you get content created is another post. Big fan of rewriting content if it exist. I see a lot of PPC dollars wasted. Marketers using the wron KWs for the wrong offer. PPC can be really useful to test Keywords/Offers – leading ot effective SEO content.

  11. John Schinnerer Ph.D.

    April 25, 2013 at 12:45 am

    I couldn’t agree more. I think of it as natural word usage. I ask myself, ‘What would I type in natural language to find this?’ That leads to some uncovered gems in terms of search phrases that have high traffic and low competition. I’ve started one site for online anger management classes. Working on a new one on the positive side of the emotional spectrum (How Can I Be Happy, a positive psychology destination site).

  12. Seth Gambee

    April 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    It’s all about putting yourself into the mind of your would-be customer.

    Asking yourself, ‘What do they want?’, ‘What are they looking for?’…

    Great stuff!

    - Seth
    husband, dad, elevator

    • Dave Bross

      April 25, 2013 at 5:59 am

      I’ve had good results along these lines by looking in forums and question/answer sites to see what people’s actual problems are and the language they’re using to talk about them.

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