Matching User Intent is the Ultimate SEO Ranking Factor

As Google crawls sites to produce their SERPs, Google matches the user with the best content for their intent. Their algorithm defines “best” by measuring user engagement, the value content provides, and whatever most closely matches the perceived user intent from the search terms.

Google looks at the intent behind your search using many variables: search history, data they pull from Gmail, or other places you interact with Google. Then, use that data to build a user persona and the best intent for your perceived needs.

How does that relate to your site’s SEO? First, good SEO understands user intent, which empowers you to build a page that best meets user needs.

Let’s work through an example of matching user intent. Imagine you are trying to rank for “SEO services.” That page must include specific information to satisfy the purpose of that search. If you write a page focusing on the benefits of content services or how to write a content plan, you won’t rank well because your content doesn’t match a user intent searching for SEO services.

Instead, list the SEO services you provide. That helps your page match your targeted intent.

Page Content, Intent Hierarchy, and SEO

The order in which you present your content influences your rankings and the user experience. Users should easily find content that matches their primary intent when they land on a page. So don’t bury relevant content, but keep it a page’s focal point.

As you structure your content, provide value to your user. They need more than explaining why you’re the best solution for their needs. Give them data upfront. If they want to scroll to learn more about you, then they will. Build your content in this order:

  1. The intent of Page – The primary content should satisfy the page intent. Position this content so it’s easy for users to find and digest. Please answer the user’s questions and give them the solutions they want.
  2. Social Proof – Praise from industry experts, positive client or customer reviews, or features in relevant publications or sites positively influences buying decisions. Include social proof below the content that matches your page intent.
  3. Unique Features of Your Business – At the bottom of your page, you can list your business’s and brand’s special features. When users are searching for goods or services, this information is the least important factor in their purchase decision. However, if they want to know more about your brand, they’ll scroll down to read.

Structuring your page hierarchy ensures you’re putting the most critical content where it belongs: front and center.

Identifying Page Intent

Building your page to prioritize your intent and to match user intent is one thing. Defining your target topic is another task and is often difficult to accomplish. Follow these steps to identify issues and your page intent.

  1. User Intent – Identify your target user’s needs. Once you understand their needs, you can define a topic and form content to provide the solutions they seek.
  2. Keywords – Once you’ve defined your topic, explore keywords relevant to that topic. Some keywords will be more valuable than others. In the same way, your landing pages have a hierarchy, and so do your keywords. Therefore, prioritize keywords that help you meet your SEO and business goals.
  3. Secondary Intent – Some of your content doesn’t directly address the primary page intent or user intent. We call this secondary intent based on proof of primary purpose. This type of content is helpful but should not be prioritized when determining page intent and content topics.


SEO provides so much value to your site and your business. When you have clear goals and work with the right firm, you can utilize your SEO to hit your targets. At Linchpin SEO, we have decades of experience helping clients as you define, achieve, and surpass goals. Contact us today, and we’ll begin creating an SEO strategy that provides you with the results you’re looking for.