When your audience has arrived at your website or blog post, you would hope that they have found what they’re looking for.
Thankfully, search engines are making it easier for users to find what they’re looking for when searching.
It’s not perfect, but it’s better than it was during the late 90s and early 2000.
Even though search engines are getting smarter, you still have your own responsibilities when creating content.
Make sure that they understand what your website is about.
Make it easier for them to understand your content.
Ensure that anyone who arrives on your website will be happy with what they see.
There are a number of factors which can help with that.
But to keep things simple, we will focus on your content and how to make sure that it matches your audience’s search intent.
Meaning, how to make sure that your content is exactly what your audience is looking for and keep them happy.
And it’s really not that hard.
What Is Audience Intent?
When you run a business, website, blog or anything that has a core audience, more often than not, they tend to need something.
And it could be anything.
Maybe they are looking advice about going on a skiing holiday in France.
Or information about how to build your own bookcase from scratch.
Or just understand why the sky is blue.
Whatever it is, your audience has a specific intention when they search online and it is up to you to meet that with your content.
When you are coming up with a content idea, put yourself in the mind of your audience and think about what they really want to see on your site.
But here are a few ways to make sure that your content and your audience’s search behaviour matches.
1. Don’t Fool Your Visitors When They Arrive
People are getting smarter online, and you will lose if you try to fool them.
If your headline is about the best ways to travel with children by car, give a list of options on how your readers can do that.
If instead, you write content about something completely irrelevant, like car mechanics, then you’re kidding yourself and kidding your audience.
But it’s not just about being specific – be really specific.
For example, if you are writing a blog post specifically about chocolate cake recipes, don’t write a huge deal about vanilla cake, banana cake and other non-chocolate flavoured cakes.
Sure you can mention them. Maybe you want to say which you prefer and why.
Or create a “cake-off” on why chocolate cake is better than other flavours.
But the point is, don’t make a huge deal about those other flavours if your primary intent is to write about chocolate cakes.
And speaking of cakes, you probably don’t even talk about cupcakes either.
Focus on cakes. That’s why your visitors have arrived on that page, because they want to read about that specific topic.
So don’t fool your visitors. They will end up leaving your site because you tricked them.
And then you will look like a fool.
2. Don’t Be Vague About Your Topic
If you want to write about a specific topic, you want to come across as being an expert.
But one of the best ways to do that is to be detailed and thorough about that topic to help back up your expertise.
Just to clarify, it’s not about writing a 3,000 blog post or an hour-long video (it can reduce any risk of vagueness but not necessarily guarantee it).
However long it takes for you to get the message across should be the main aim when working out how long that piece of content should be.
But it is tricky to be detailed about a topic in only 300 words. Nor can you avoid being vague if you are quickly putting together a blog post and reach that word limit.
And just as importantly, you certainly won’t come across as being an expert in the industry either if you stick to a short brief blog post (unless you are the Seth Godin of your industry).
For example, if you are a pizza restaurant owner, you would want to show off your expertise, showing that you know what you are talking about when it comes to pizza and Italian cuisine.
But you can’t really expect to avoid being vague if you write only 300 words about making your own pizza dough.
The best thing to do is to be detailed, focus on quality and use a combination of texts, images/photographs and even videos if you are adventurous.
If you have created a piece of content that covers the entire process of creating pizza dough from scratch, with a list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, with images and videos of the process of making dough from scratch, you are certainly not being vague about it.
You are showing off your knowledge. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Don’t you want to look like an expert in front of your audience?
3. Follow The Search Trend
If you are creating content which is seasonal or relates to a particular trend, you can make sure that you are aligned with your audience’s online search behaviour.
There are two ways of looking at this: seasonal or trendy topics.
- Seasonal – if you are an ice cream manufacturer, it is quite obvious that the summertime is when most people are searching for ice cream (flavours, recipes, to buy, etc.)
- Trendy – if you are a fashion blogger (e.g. specialising in shoes), and a celebrity has been spotted wearing a particular pair which has everyone talking about it, you would probably want to jump on the bandwagon and create content about it too.
The easiest way to understand the seasonal search trends which tend to be around the same time of the year, every year (Valentine’s Day, ice cream, back to school), you can use Google Trends.
For example, when is the biggest search trend for back-to-school topics:
Or perhaps you want to compare two topics and find out which one is trending more:
“White trainers” has overtaken “black trainers” recently. Is it worth shouting about that? Perhaps create a piece of content around white trainers (how to wear them, clean them, best white trainers, etc.)
As for trendy, news-related topics, you will have to stay on your toes to keep an eye out for anything worthy of jumping on.
But you can make it easier for yourself.
One way to do that is to use Feedly and create a “board” where you follow your favourite sites’ RSS feeds in one place instead of jumping from one site to another.
For example, you can use it and curate all the relevant topic in one place.
If you find something which is relevant, you can then blog, vlog or speak about that topic.
And if your audience is searching to understand more about a particular story or news item, you can be in the mix too.
4. Utilise Long-Tail Keywords All the Time
This is related to the sections earlier about not fooling your visitor and avoiding vagueness about a topic.
But let’s use a real-life example to make it easier to understand.
If a user is searching for “camera”, they tend to be at a beginning stage of their learning experience.
Maybe they want to buy a new camera but not sure how to go about doing that or what to look for.
Perhaps they want to learn how to use a camera.
Or maybe they want to understand the mechanics of a camera.
You can imagine that these one-worded keywords are very vague.
But longer keywords are more specific and are more likely to bring in the results you want: traffic, engagement, conversion.
So, if they start using long-tail keywords (keywords which are 2 or more words), things get more specific.
If they are searching for “how to use DSLR camera” or “Nikon [product code]”, you know that they are searching for a particular action.
Using long-tail keywords will allow you to niche yourself to a topic that more closely matches your readers’ intent when they are searching for information on Google.
Long-tail keywords are less competitive in search and you are more likely to attract organic traffic.
And finally, they tend to be more valuable. Even though they have less search volume than the generic broader key terms, they are more likely to result in actions.
This could be to purchase the camera they searched for, subscribe to a newsletter to learn more about using a camera, learn more about a particular camera model, etc.
5. Make Use of LSI Keywords
If you didn’t know already, LSI stands for “latent semantic indexing”.
It might sound like something which is out of your depth, but it’s really not that bad.
The easiest way to describe LSI keywords are syllables of a particular word.
For example, “cars”, “automobile”, “vehicles”.
But it also helps to make sure that the content is relevant, i.e. is it cars the vehicle or the Disney movie?
Back in the late 90s and onwards, keyword stuffing used to be a tactic used to help improve your visibility and ranking on Google.
Back then, it worked. Now, it doesn’t (thankfully!).
LSI keywords have helped to force content creators to focus on quality and be more specific about what that content is about (remember that “car” analogy above?).
No more could you force your way into higher rankings by writing the same keywords over and over again on one page.
Not only does it not sound natural, but it will deter your readers.
By using LSI keywords, you are focusing on a specific topic which is not only good for Google, as they understand your content better, but more importantly, it’s good for your visitors who have found what they are searching for.
The general rule of advice when writing content is to write for your audience and not the search engine.
If you write for your audience, it is easier (not easy…big difference) for them to find you and they are more likely to enjoy your content.
At the same time, it is quite easy to get sidetracked with your content and write about topics you think are kind of relevant (chocolate cake vs. chocolate cupcakes…two different things but still very similar).
By being specific and detailed enough, you will go a long way towards ensuring that your content matches your audiences’ desire to find what they’re looking for.
Do you agree? Have you got any other advice you want to share?
You can do so in the comment section below.