Searcher intent: The secret ingredient behind successful content development
Contributor Dave Davies takes the guesswork out of determining what type of content will resonate with an audience by creating Excel formulas to help determine what a searcher may be looking for.
Google’s goal is to satisfy a searcher’s intent. When a user finds what they’re looking for after clicking on an organic search result, that’s a success.
Sounds easy enough, but things get complicated when there are multiple results that may fulfill the primary intent of a given query.
What is “the primary intent of a given query?” Let’s look at the search phrase “Real estate in Miami” to help answer the question.
Someone searching the term “real estate in Miami” is probably looking to either buy or sell a property. This is the primary intent of the search phrase. We could search virtually any site that accesses a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in the United States and finds results using the phrase.
Algorithms use math and math (in this context) and rely on probability. When Google is determining which results to rank highest, they are looking to maximize the probability that the searcher will leave satisfied. When many indexed sites meet a primary intent, the algorithm needs to look at secondary intents to see what other information the searcher may be looking for.
Secondary intents increase the probability a site will meet their intent. Here’s a very simple example:
- Assume 90 percent of the searchers were looking to buy or sell real estate.
- Assume that 10 percent of the searchers were looking for information on the real estate market in Miami.
Most, if not all sites, will fulfill the 90 percent of intents, but only those sites with information on the market itself (Miami) on top of the listings would fulfill 100 percent of the users’ intents.
In the absence of such a site, Google must provide listings that fulfill different intents, knowing any given searcher may potentially click the result that fulfills the wrong intent and be disappointed.