There’s one area that’s now exerting a big influence on rankings that in my experience is not understood particularly well by business stakeholders. I’d go as far to say that it’s often the proverbial elephant in the room...
"To rank at the top of search listings, your content needs to satisfy the intent of those searching better than all other competing content." Click to Tweet
Your content needs to be the best available. It needs to contain all of the information that users could possibly be looking for and make it easy for that information to be found and consumed.
We’re going to explore why content that satisfies user intent is important to the search engines, how they might be identifying such content and how to get your content right so that you stand a chance of being awarded top rankings.
Why are search engines working hard to identify content that satisfies intent?
Simple - search engines need to deliver content that satisfies their users in order to maintain their market share. If you see that you’re consistently performing searches and the top results don’t fully satisfy your intent then you’re going to consider using a different search engine...
How are search engines identifying content that satisfied intent?
Indications are that search engines (certainly Google) are using the following areas to assess whether user intent has been satisfied:
- Quality Evaluators and Machine Learning
The search engines are known to employ ‘Quality Evaluators’ - individuals that are asked to score the quality of the pages returned in their search results.They use this scoring to feed machine learning algorithms that learn the type of pages that they should be returning for different search queries.
When the user clicks through to content from the search listings how do they behave? Do they immediately click back to the search listings or do they engage with the content?
How do you craft content that fully meets the intent of those searching?
To craft effective content we can simply study the pages that search engines are ranking in top positions.
It takes some introspection and honesty on your part. For each of your target keywords, look at the content you’re using to try and achieve top rankings and assess it as follows:
- Do top ranking competitor pages better satisfy the intent of the search query? How? Why? What useful information do they include that you don't?
- Do top ranking pages make it easier for searchers to find the information that they’re looking for? How? What features do they include to help searchers find what they need?
- Do top ranking pages provide supplemental but useful information that searchers might also be looking for?
TIP: To discover what people might also be looking for take note of the ‘Searches related to’ and ‘People also ask’ features in Google SERPs.
Address any shortcomings that you identify ASAP. It’s becoming harder and harder to rank sub- standard content at the top of the search listings. The search engines are finally on top of things. If you don’t make an effort for your content to be the best available in your niche then don’t expect it to be able to rank well.
If you fancy a chat about anything in or related to this article email Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 279 7779