Tools to understand audience intent

By Evi Sianna | 03 Sep 2018

Working in Content Strategy, I've seen plenty of campaigns perform very well and some others perform less well. Fundamentally, the difference between the two lies in the way in which idea generation is conduced. So, what are good ideas based on? How should content strategists even go about looking for good ideas?

To get to that, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the processes that enable a better understanding of audience intent. Besides competitor and market analysis, content marketers often rely on keyword research, choosing high volume keywords which aren't too competitive for content creation - however, this isn't the best way of execution.

Online marketing expert, Neil Patel, explains that keyword research is still very important, but the way it's researched needs to reflect Google's algorithms becoming smarter and more sophisticated. Today, Google doesn't rely on simple keywords to understand what content is about. This changes the way content marketers should approach content strategy, by focusing on how to target audiences instead of keywords.

Here are some tips to help content marketers capture user intent in order to produce more relevant content campaigns.

Interpret search intent

Understanding what users are really searching for and what they really mean is very important. Therefore, classifying keywords into different categories can give a clearer view of the type of intent:

  • Research-driven searches are performed to answer questions or learn something.
  • Navigational searches are performed to locate a specific website.
  • Commercial or transactional queries are performed when a user wants to buy something.

Knowing the type of intent makes it easier to produce content that's aligned with each stage of the purchase funnel.

Heat maps

Heat maps allow you to see where your visitors are clicking on your website, and can also show which content was viewed. This is helpful, as it enables you to understand what users are looking for.

Create topic clusters

Google becoming smarter has created the need for content marketers to produce more relevant content. So how do we bridge the gap between targeting keywords and audiences?

Google Keyword Planner is a good tool to help you come up with lots of related keywords. You can start from a broad keyword/topic and build topic clusters from there. These work well because the core page has a lot of useful content and internal links which maximise the opportunity for users to stay on the page or site longer.

Tools to help create topic clusters

  • is a tool that allows you to identify the best topics for a query or topic, and to view questions users may have around that topic.
  • Google's auto-suggest tool allows you to see all popular suggestions around the query you're typing. Related searches come up as soon as you press enter, and they can be found at the bottom of the search results page.
  • "People also ask" is another tool to help get additional ideas around a topic. Google will come up with additional questions that are similar to your question.

Once you have content groupings, it's important to think about what content types are best aligned to each group. Studying the search engine results pages (SERPs) will help give you a good understanding of the appropriate content types for different queries given.

Thanks to Google's advancements, algorithms are smart enough to understand the content users are searching for. To get your content in front of your target audience, you need to understand their intent, which will enable you to create better and more relevant campaigns.