Would you like to rank higher on Google searches without having to add more web pages?
You can make this happen by focusing on a thing called User Intent.
First, we are going to assume a few things:
– SEO is the main goal for your website (you want new people to find you on Google)
– you hate writing content (or your wallet hates paying for copywriting)
Congratulations… you are now a type.
What Is Searcher Intent, And Is It The Same As User Intent?
Searcher Intent means the end goal of the person searching on the internet. More often these days it is called “User Intent”.
They are the same thing.
When I talk about someone looking on Google, I usually call them a searcher. Then when I talk about someone clicking on your website, I call them a user.
But don’t get confused — the important word here is “intent”. Let’s stick with Searcher Intent to keep it simple.
Basically, Google knows that people are performing the action of searching with a specific goal in mind.
If two different searchers both want to end up at the same place, it doesn’t matter what they ask to get there.
If I round a corner on your block and ask you about the local pharmacy, does it really make a difference if I say:
“Is the pharmacy on this street?”
“Does this road lead to the pharmacy?”
My intent is to get to the pharmacy.
You can help me by confirming the directions, not by tailoring your answer based on the words “road” or “street”.
One Page For Services VS Multiple Sub-Pages For Each Service
First let’s talk about how you view your website, and then we’ll get to what the searcher is after.
You view your website based on the goals you want it to achieve.
If you want to come up on the first page of Google for a bunch of keywords, you’re probably thinking about how you can optimize your page content for those keywords.
An old strategy was to have a unique page for every keyword phrase you wanted to target.
I’ll give you a really lame example, but it’s not too far off from what I have seen in real life.
Let’s say there is a business called Big Fake Snack Company (BFSC) Inc.
BFSC Inc harvests, packages, and sells peanuts to wholesalers in Manitoba.
They want to come up on the first page of Google for “peanuts Manitoba”. But man, that’s a competitive keyword!
So they start a new page about the taste of their peanuts, where they focus on the phrase “salty peanuts”.
Then, some of their market research shows that their buyers are really concerned with quality. They add a new page to their website — Fresh Peanuts.
Then they start breaking their harvesting process down to every minute detail…
You get it.
Maybe some SEO guy told them that they needed to use more specific keywords. Then maybe he told them that you can’t stuff a bunch of keywords all on one page.
But there is one major issue with making a website. Writing content is hard.
And writing content that demonstrates expertise, unique value, and problem-solving is VERY hard.
So now we have a bunch of thin content spread out across multiple pages of the site.
It covers general topics without ever going deep, or solving any problems (from a searcher-goal point of view).
At best, even if each page is well-written, the content might overlap and now the pages are competing against one another for the same search results.
If you look at your own website, think about how you have described what you do.
Is it possible that you could combine some sections and edit out some overlap to make a more accurate (and powerful) message?
Or if you’re planning an overhaul of the site, you might get away with writing less if you can figure out how to group together like topics/services.
But this isn’t just about saving you time or coming up with the fanciest description.
We have to think about all of this from the point of view of the searcher.
Plan Pages By Identifying The Searcher’s Goal
You are going to achieve your goals (new customers, less work) faster if you focus on the goals of your searcher(s).
Choose from three basic goals to identify intent:
- DO: a transactional searcher wants to buy or sign up or register
- KNOW: an informational searcher wants to learn something
- GO: the navigational searcher has an exact place or brand to find
Then add in specifics tailored to your target audience. BFSC Inc might be after folks who like quality peanuts, or they might hang their hat on the low price of their peanuts.
Now imagine your web page being read by a searcher with the specific intent you identified above.
What are all the bits of information that you could group together on that page?
Remember that, although we created a profile of our searcher, we don’t actually know exactly what each particular human wants to see.
So you may need to talk about your service from a few different angles to get your various searchers to the same end point.
This ties into the age-old long copy vs short copy debate.
While it is very true that internet users have short attention spans, it is also true that an interested user will read longer copy.
Google also tends to reward pages that have text over 2000 words, by ranking them higher in search results.
But this is not an excuse to write word-salad pages that dance around the same topic using generalities.
This whole time we have been talking about combining multiple related services into one page.
What is really nice (for you and the user) is how Google recognizes context with searcher intent.
As you have longer copy, by combining your related services together, the fleshed-out information will add to the relevance of your main keywords.
Before: tricksters repeated the same main keywords over and over and over on the page (aka keyword density).
Now: you can write about your services and the various quality-control measures or groundbreaking innovations that go into them. Google understands that your explanation makes the page even more relevant to users.
I’ll say that in a slightly different way.
Synonyms and related terms will actually help your page come up higher in the search results for the main keyword you are targeting.
You only need to mention your main keyword (typically related to the service you are advertising) once!
Ultimately it all comes down to common sense. And the fact that websites are (supposed to be) made for real humans to read.
Google is valuable to searchers as long as it shows them useful results.
When you write useful information on your website, it’s in Google’s benefit to show that to searchers of the topic.
If your site is organized in a way that makes it easy to read and navigate, more searchers will stay on your site.
More searchers read your site = Google lists you higher.
And round and round we go.