Dan Shure of Evolving SEO

Dan Shure

SEO Consultant of Evolving SEO

Dan grew client blogs 2x, 3x and 10-20x from search traffic – have grown his 100% DIY, self produced podcast to 3,500+ listeners and 250,000+ total downloads with no paid ads.


4 Steps For User Intent Based Search Optimization To Determine Content

The basic premise of how I see Google is that I look at it like a Q and A website, like Quora.com.

People are asking questions, we are providing answers, and Google is tracking all the data. This means we can see who is asking what questions and how often.

Expert session

Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Dan’s success

Using 4 steps for user intent based search optimization to determine content

Result if you follow the steps in Dan’s session

Understand user intent behind specific search terms and how to create content that will fit your target searches

Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more

Expert session snapshot


Out of 10 posts, if this is something you are, you know, really getting good at and getting a lot of practice that you will have those one or two that really do well and stand out and they help carry the traffic, the bulk of the traffic, it’s a typical 80/20 scenario where you’ve got, you know, a few things driving a lot of the results. So that’s a typical spread of results that I see.

All right, fantastic. Well, let’s maybe jump into it. Where would you like to start?

Yeah, I think, you know, like I was setting up the beginning, this all comes down to understanding and knowing how to read Google search results to understand intent.

So, I’m going to jump to that part of it, which is basically understanding and determining what user intent is. So, if you have a topic that you want to write about, let’s say it’s marketing automation, and you want to rank for that, you think you want to rank for that, you should search that in Google.

And I want you to study a few areas of Google’s results. Number one is, as you’re typing before you even hit enter, look at auto suggest, because this is going to tell you if you’re seeing marketing automation definition, or what is or these types of things.

This is telling you people just want to know the definition. They want to know what this topic is even about. Then when you hit enter, you should look at the related searches at the bottom.

And also, people also ask, these are two other great areas that tell you like, more nuanced and more detailed ways people are asking the questions about just like so the search term marketing automation is broad.

And one of the biggest challenges Google or a search engine has is understanding the intent of what a broad term like that like, if somebody goes to Google and type shoots, what could they possibly be? What’s the intent of that?

And it takes Google a long time to figure this out studying user behavior and stuff like that. But we as users can just go to Google types, choose hit Enter, and then look at all the other search suggestions, and start to pick apart and intuit what users are asking for.

You should also study the actual results ranking. So then again, back to the marketing automation example. Or maybe you’re doing like accounting software. If you search accounting software, and all the results are how to articles or definition articles, and they’re not software pages.

Well, that’s not a purchase intent search. That’s an information gathering intense search people are trying to learn. They’re not trying to find a product to purchase.

So, if you click on all 10 results and study them and ask yourself, what is the content here that is being provided to users that have done this search? That gives you a really good idea of the search intent.

And there’s a few other types of search intentions that you should practice looking for as you’re doing this research, you should look to see what type of medium do people want? Are their images at the top of their videos, is Google showing you a map for quite a while actually?

If you went to Google and you searched, just marketing or terms like that SEO, they were showing you a map at the top. Google was figuring out, they’re trying to figure out where the local intense searchers are, what I think I’ve seen is, they’re showing those maps more often on mobile and on desktop.

Now they’re back, they’re showing just pure, you know, the 10 blue links type of thing. So, look for the SERP elements because this is going to tell you what type of medium to put into your content.

Should your content be tech, should be images, should have a video, should be an infographic studying the results. Google showing you that stuff.

So just on that, like if we’re looking at these results, are we looking on desktop or on mobile or it just relates dependent on your target audience is hanging?

That’s a great question. So, it should depend a little bit on your audience. So, if my goal is to rank on desktop, that’s where my audience is, I’ll look at desktop. If it’s mobile, I’ll look at mobile. And you can determine this in a few ways.

You could go to the AdWords Keyword Tool, and you can actually get volume by desktop and mobile. You can also do that in tools like SEMrush, or probably like Mass and things like that. There’s ways to see the search volume in desktop versus mobile. So that’s a good way to go about that too.

Okay, well, I also wanted to ask, so as we’re doing this research, what do you recommend in terms of like taking notes or putting this down? To kind of analyze it and pull it all together?

That’s a great question. What I kind of do is I will open up a spreadsheet and maybe have a few tabs at the bottom.

But step number one is, I just want a sheet to brainstorm to get all the ideas out there. So, as you’re researching, you’re coming up with topics that you might want to write about before you try to go crazy and put them in a more specific sheet with all the things. Everything.

Just make a raw list of all the broad topics that you might be interested in writing about and you think are possible. This way, you don’t have to worry about like collecting all the data and having all that slow you down. It’s just a brainstorming exercise.

Once you have that, what I recommend is opening another sheet where then it’s a little more refined. I’d be happy to send you a screenshot. But I typically have some columns, one for the keyword or topic, one for search volume, one for ranking competition, which I can explain in a moment.

And then one where I actually will paste in the SEM rush report of other content that’s ranking for that keyword, because then that’s something we can talk about a little while, but you can do you know, any number of things you want with that spreadsheet. If it’s more editorial related, you could add like how hard is it to create or you know, that sort of thing like an effort.

And then that way at the at the end of all that you can sort by search volume, or you can sort by potential traffic, which is another metric I could talk about, and then you can simply filter out for the ones that are high, medium or low ease of ranking. And I can talk about making that evaluation in a moment.

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