User Search Intent: Don't Wander Off Topic

Let’s imagine that you’re sitting in a darkened hall, at a conference, listening to a world-famous copywriter speaking at the lectern, and it’s now question time.

You ask the question: “Is Copywriting a Rewarding Career?

The speaker answers …

The history of copywriting dates back to when the first printed papers were distributed on the high street. The actual word “copywriting” means the act of writing words to sell products. The copywriter is the person who does this, often found in ad agencies or at home as a freelancer.

The job of a copywriter began by creating ads on a large poster made of paper with a feather dipped ink (how deliciously antiquated and time consuming). These posters were fixed to walls and poles in the bigger cities of Europe. Centuries ago there were no printing processes to make duplicates, so each page was painstakingly hand written.

The Book of Kells is an exemplary …. and so it goes on.

Yes, it’s interesting information, but the speaker is not answering your question.

So far, she has made no mention as to whether copywriting is a rewarding career choice or not.

The speaker then goes on to elaborate, in depth, upon the subjects of …

  • how to become a copywriter,
  • where to find a job as a copywriter,
  • what to put in your resume, and
  • how to improve your writing skills.

None of the above ideas respond directly or immediately to the idea of whether copywriting could be monetarily, creatively or emotionally rewarding.

Unfortunately, because the conference organisers only allowed 20 minutes of question time before the lunch break the speaker quickly summarises by saying:

Yes, copywriting is a rewarding career in monetary terms. You can earn between 2 cents per word and $120 per hour. In terms of personal satisfaction there are millions of people who write books. So, I reckon it must be rewarding.

Finally, the speaker has answered your question!

However, the answer lacks depth, authority, facts, nuances and everything else that could make it a substantial, useful answer.

In the end, the speaker was only able to offer a few words on the subject of whether copywriting is rewarding or not.

They wasted their time by discussing other points that were irrelevant to the core point.

You were VERY disappointed that you asked the question Is Copywriting a Rewarding Career and were given the ancient history of copywriting.

Your intention (ie. user intent) was to find an authoritative and trustworthy answer from an expert (ie. Google EAT).

How to Answer User Intent

When you write an article, answer the question, at the beginning. Then, elaborate deeply on just that topic.

Step 1: Answer ‘User Intent’ Directly and Immediately

Provide a succinct answer at the beginning of the article. This is a short two or three sentence summary that hooks the reader in to your post.

This might be quite different to how you are used to writing.

You don’t tell who dunnit at the beginning of the murder mystery! Blog articles are different.

We give the answer – succinctly – at the beginning of the article. This allows the reader to decide whether they want to read through the whole article.

Step 2: Elaborate on a Few More Sub-Topics, But Not Too Many

The rest of your article should be related to the topic at hand.

 

In the “Is Copywriting a Rewarding Career?” example above you would avoid writing about what to put in your resume unless you were able to tie it very clearly into how that makes it rewarding as a career.

 

I don’t see how you can tie monetary or emotional or creative reward to the text you would write in a resume. The link is far too tenuous.

 

Save off-topic ideas, sections, sentences and words for another article, another day.

Why Does Google Like Answers to Questions?

The very best articles – and the ones that receive the highest position in the Google search results page – answer the question for the reader, first.

Google is, in fact, not a search engine. It’s an answer engine. 

Google always want to provide an answer quickly, not make you wade through 5 pages to find the answer at the end.

Google literally selects particular statements from your article that clearly and succinctly answer the question and will display these in the results page.

This extract is not always taken from the first section of our article. It can be anywhere in the article.

However, readers like to get a response to their question as soon as possible. So, try to succinctly answer the question as soon as you can within your article.

What if the Article Title is Written As a Statement, not a Question?

Same same, but different.

People are searching Google for an answer to something. 

They might not specifically type a question (e.g. who, what, where, why) into the search engine, but you can assume that they are seeking an answer to some sort of riddle or question that is floating about in their head.

Below is an example of two articles with similar answers within the body of the article, but the article title is quite different:

-> How Can You Empower Your Franchisees Into Better Leaders?

-> Use Trust and Care to Empower Your Employees to Become Leaders

The first sentence is a question, whereas the second is a statement. 

Both articles would respond in a similar way. They would both answer the reader’s search intent.

Tutorial

In this tutorial, I walk through a writer’s recent article submission for a client. The writer has written well, but the article doesn’t directly and immediately respond to User Intent.

The reader is seeking an answer regarding financing a home, if they’re a young person. Whereas this writer writes about everything else except that topic.

The article has 1,400 words of which only 360 are usable.