Searcher Task Accomplishment is the next big SEO factor as far as Google is concerned.
And, if you ask me, in the age of RankBrain, it should be the #1 SEO factor (yes even important than backlinks).
This concept has been around for a while.
Earlier it used to be called as “Search intent optimization”.
Now it’s rightly called as “Searcher Task Accomplishment”.
What is it?
Ok, Why the search results will appear when you do Google search? It’s because to help you satisfy your intent/goal, right?
The goal of the blog posts should be to help searchers accomplish their tasks in a quick and effective way. If your blog post helps people do that, Google will reward you with high rankings.
How can Google determine the task accomplishment of its searchers?
Google has come a long way when it comes to tracking the behaviors of online users and analyzing their browsing patterns to predict the probability of their need being fulfilled. It can now even determine what’ll be your next move by analyzing the data points and using its machine learning algorithms.
Heck, it can even predict your life expectancy with utmost accuracy.
Prefer video? Watch my video walkthrough.
In this guide, you'll learn
- 1 The 6 phases of a searcher’s journey
- 2 Audience goal research
- 3 Creating content for searcher task accomplishment
- 3.1 Detailed content planning is crucial
- 3.2 Publish in-depth researched posts
- 3.3 Actionable strategies that they implement right now
- 3.4 Include images and screenshots
- 3.5 Include video embeds
- 3.6 Include the table of content
- 3.7 Have structured data
- 3.8 Create a series of related posts and internal link them
- 4 Optimizing existing content for reader goals
- 5 Wrapping up
For understanding the concept of searcher task accomplishment, and how can you optimize your web content for it, you need to understand the basics.
Any Google searcher goes through these stages when searching for information.
As the searcher goes through these phases, Google also concurrently will be trying its best to help the searcher using its various algorithms (mainly predictive algorithms).
When any user searches for something on Google, he expresses some need for information.
- Although he may not express his need entirely, Google can predict his need accurately and present him the personalized results – based on his browsing patterns, behaviors, and predictive algorithms.
- Most of the times, the need behind a query is self-explanatory as more than 70% of all the keywords typed in Google are long tail keywords (thanks to voice search), Google understands the intent behind the queries pretty well.
If you are in the SEO game, you know that long tail keywords are very important for content marketers as the intent behind the keyword is clear.
Added to it, Google makes use of its complex machine-learning algorithm, to make out the context of the users’ search query more effectively.
Whenever a user makes any search, there’ll be underlying goal(s) for that search query.
Some of the goals that need one-liner factual information can be easily satisfied by Google itself in the form of knowledge carousels.
Whereas, if the goals are complex in nature, subjective, and require a thorough framework to follow, it’ll display the relevant blog posts.
For example, if the search term is – “How to start a blog?”, then the goal here is that the user needs to accomplish a task i.e. set up a blog.
So now, if you click on a result that says – “How to start a blog in Blogger platform?”, from now on, Google suggests you the content related to “Blogging in Blogger” in particular.
Like this, Google narrows down the intent of the user by offering highly relevant content.
Once searcher enters the keyword, Google taps into its huge index and it will return the search results that are most relevant to the intent in which the user is searching.
Now, the user needs to evaluate the results returned from Google and select the one which appears to solve his problem or accomplish his underlying goals.
After the searcher evaluates the search results, he’ll then click on the search result by looking at the following factors:
- The effectiveness of the title when it comes to aligning with his beliefs
- The trustworthiness of the site he’s visiting (most of the times based on intuition)
- The meta description of the search result and he infers the probability of a search result helping accomplish his goal
- Other available data
Now the searcher has landed on a search result with a hope of it to help him accomplish his tasks and goals.
Google takes a look at a lot of things to determine whether a particular page helped a searcher to accomplish his tasks or not.
Suppose if a user lands on a page, barely spent some seconds on it, and returned to the previous search page and clicked on other results – it means that the first result did not help him to accomplish his tasks and goals.
The act of searchers clicking back and forth the search results page and the web pages is called “pogo sticking”.
Pogo sticking is usually done by the searcher for two reasons:
- Irrelevant result and the result not helping them with their goals.
- Result not helping the searcher to accomplish a goal in the best possible way.
Suppose if a user lands on a page after searching and spends good time on the site. It means that the web result is helping him accomplish his tasks and goals.
That’s why optimizing your website for user intent and engagement is very important.
Human needs and goals are endless.
Once one task is accomplished, we’ve another task in front of us.
Say a user searches for “how to start a blog?”.
He clicks on a result and reads it.
Now, he heads back to Google and types in “How to write blog posts?”.
Now it means that the previous search task has been accomplished, and the searcher has some additional needs.
Google can easily determine the additional needs of a person once he conducts an initial search, by analyzing the search patterns of the previous searchers and also the content hierarchy of the articles.
Have you ever noticed how Google shows the related search section right below the result we returned from?
Just analyze the above screenshot.
I searched for “How to start a blog”, clicked on a result and returned back.
It suggested me:
- What is a blog? (a step back from my original search)
- How to start a blog on blogger? (Google testing me whether I’m next interested in Blogger blog)
- How to start a blog on Instagram? (Google testing me whether I’m next interested in the Instagram blog)
These are most of the times searches made by other people immediately after searching for “how to start a blog”.
Let’s see another example.
Here I searched for “How to start a WordPress blog”.
After knowing how to start a WordPress blog, Google already knows people search for hosting services to start their blog or how to monetize their blog.
Like this, Google helps users with additional needs.
Before you start writing your blog post, first you need to make a list of goals you’re willing to accomplish in your blog post.
In order to get an idea about the goals your post readers would likely be willing to accomplish, just type in your seed keyword in AnswerThePublic.
Here you need to pay careful attention to the keywords that start with the word – “how to”.
Because most of the times “how to” kind of search queries uncover some of the hidden goals of the users that you’ve never thought of.
You can also browse the Reddit, Quora, and other forums when it comes to the topic that you’re writing.
In this thread, I can point out the two needs of the users starting a blog.
- They are looking for free blogging platforms
- They have trouble in choosing a niche, that’s preventing them to start a blog
So now, in my blog post, I can help people accomplish/satisfy these goals or needs.
You can also conduct a poll or survey on Facebook or with your email list, asking them what are their goals pertaining to the topic you’re gonna write about.
If you have your own products and services, you definitely have a CRM in place with all your prospects and qualified customers’ data.
It’s time for you to do the following:
- Schedule a free 121 session with them, about how you can improve
- Shoot out a newsletter asking their feedback and goals
- Conduct a survey right inside your product or service
It’s time for you to revisit the analytics of your customers, and find what made them buy your product.
Ask yourself – “What goals helped them to buy your product?”.
This is similar to pain-problem identification in marketing, and help them solve their problem a.k.a achieve their goals via content marketing.
If you see a typical sales funnel, you’ve three stages.
- Awareness: In the awareness stage, you’ll be introducing the people regarding the need for what you do and your brand. There’ll be some goals that people need to achieve in this stage of the funnel, map them in your content marketing framework.
- Interest: In this stage, you’ll be educating the people about the benefits of your product or benefits of what your product does. You’ll be providing tremendous value for your readers.
- Consideration: In this stage, you’ll be focusing on aggravating pain problems of your users and helping them to consider your product or solving their problems or accomplishing their goals.
- Intent: You’ll be helping them to come up with the logical reasons why they need to consider your product or service.
- Evaluation: In this stage, you’ll be clearly showcasing your USP and comparing your product with other competitors.
- Purchase: Here you’ll be providing content to the people that let them convert. This will typically be a sales page, money blog post, etc.
- Retention (optional): Here in this kind of content you’ll be presenting the information so that they retain being a loyal customer of you.
A simple example of this would be a set of blog posts for a “start blogging” funnel.
- What is blogging? (awareness)
- Benefits of blogging? (interest)
- How to earn money blogging? (intent)
- What are the platforms for blogging? (evaluation)
- How to choose a good web host? (evaluation)
- Top 5 best web hosts (purchase)
- Top WordPress themes and plugins (purchase)
- What to do in the first 6 months of your blog? (retention)
Like this, you need to categorize the content ideas in your bucket-list, into each stages of the funnel.
In each of the stages, you need to further sort out the content ideas in an order that one goal accomplishment follows to the next one so that it makes sense.
You need to also specify what are the goals you’re addressing for your readers in those blog posts.
After understanding the concept of searcher task accomplishment, it’s very important to understand the things you need to adopt in your blogging and content marketing strategies to make the best out of it.
I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that most people actually write blog articles without preparing an outline and planning.
It’s very important for you to prepare a detailed outline of the blog posts.
You need to keep your ideal reader in mind while preparing your plan and outline.
Ask yourself – “What are the goals people visiting this post willing to accomplish?”.
Action tip: Make a list of goals that you would like people to accomplish reading your blog post.
In the outline, you need to include all the things that you need to include in your blog post in the right order.
In the outline, include the FAQs that people may have when it comes to that topic. The questions that start with why, what, when, how, etc. Come up with a huge list of these questions and try your best to answer them in your content.
When you have really in-depth articles on your blog, you help more number of people accomplish their goals.
In the blog post outlining phase itself, try to include as many sections as possible and answer as many questions as possible, to make sure that your content satisfied the user intent at least 90% of the times.
As explained in one of my previous blog posts, you need to pay attention to content depth and content breadth. It means that your blog content should cover diverse subtopics inside the topic and also it should be in-depth going into each of the subtopics.
You need to also take a look at the top ranking posts for your target keyword. And ask yourself, why they’re ranking well and what goals of users they’re solving.
Now create the content that helps people accomplish their goals in a superior way (faster and effective) than that of other blog posts on the topic.
The content you create should be ideally between 1500 – 4000 words mark depending upon the topic.
When your content has insanely actionable strategies, that they feel like running home and implement them right now.
With this, the chances of them heading back to the SERPs and clicking on other results for the search query will be less.
Your content should be filled full of actionable strategies so that they can implement in the next 5 minutes.
Some of the ways by which you can include actionable content include:
- Include a checklist
- Add “what next” section in your blog post
- Include screenshots to accomplish a task
- Present strategies that they feel they immediately need to check it out.
Including plenty of images and screenshots is very important.
They’re important for two reasons.
- Makes text readable
- Helps readers achieve their micro-goals
#1 is very straightforward and needs no explanation.
So, what are micro-goals?
Remember the last few times you were searching for something on Google.
Some times, you search Google for getting information that a single screenshot can give you (helps achieve your micro goals).
You just wanted to know whether a software offers that specific feature or not. You just wanted to know where that feature is present in the app.
These are micro-goals.
Here’s the fact.
Adding plenty of screenshots and images, helps your content to speak louder to your audience than textual content, solve more goals/tasks and intents of the searchers.
“In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual”– T-Sciences
Remember, the goal of Google is to rank content that helps people accomplish their goals faster and more efficiently.
In some of the niches, people like to watch videos instead of textual content. Some people like reading text and some people love videos.
You can’t afford to miss any of them.
So, I advise you to embed videos in the middle of the content to make sure that people also watch videos.
Video content often leads to more comprehension (due to non-verbal communication and intonation).
It further, in turn, communicates to the readers what you exactly wanted to communicate. Thus, helping them to accomplish their goals.
Including a table of content is very important for any blog post especially if the blog post is very long.
How many times have you searched something and clicked on an article, and landed on a large wall of text and hit back?
Although that large wall of text had solutions for your problems, you didn’t give it a read.
Table of content helps your visitors to pinpoint the solution of their problem or the information that helps them achieve their goal in your blog post.
In some niches, users likely skip reading some content that may contain their answer and then head back to search results signaling Google that the intent is not satisfied.
Having a table of content combats this problem effectively.
Structured data are the formats of data that are easily readable by both users and search engines.
- Bullet lists
- Numbered lists
- Table of content
- Tabular content
- Content boxes
When you have this form of content, you’ll make sure that the readers who’ll be visiting your page will accomplish their tasks or goals quickly and easily.
By this, it makes sense for Google too to feature your content on Google Knowledge Graph.
Remember the “additional needs” concept I’ve discussed?
After reading your post and people accomplishing their initial goal or task, they have another goal in hand.
So, it’s your duty to guide them.
In order for them to be a loyal reader of your blog, you need to help them accomplish and discover their goals.
You can do this by creating a series of blog posts to lead them to achieve their additional goals.
For example, on BloggingX I have a series of blog posts that guide new bloggers accomplish their series and interconnected goals.
- How to Choose a Blogging Niche? (Don’t Regret Later!)
- How to Start Your Blog in 2019? [In Less Than 10 Minutes]
- Top 10 Proven Hacks to Come Up With a Creative Blog Name
- Catchy Blog Taglines: Strategies and Examples
- How to Write Great Blog Posts That People Drool Over?
- 27+ Ways to Increase Blog Traffic Exponentially in 2019
- How to Earn Money Blogging? (Top 10 Ways to Easily Earn $1k+ per Month)
I’ve internally linked so that people after reading one post from the above list, proceed to the next one.
This kind of internal linking helps you establish topical relevance and as well give you the searcher task accomplishment edge when it comes to SEO.
In my previous blog posts, I’ve already discussed how to revamp your old blog posts.
At the same time, you need to also keep searcher task accomplishment in mind when updating the content.
You need to prioritize optimization of the posts that are:
- Showing the decline in organic traffic for specific keywords (make use of rank trackers)
- Having high impressions but low clicks according to Google search console – take a note of those keywords
- Having a very low page visit duration – below 0:30 typically
Now you need to research, why people are not engaging with your content. Here are a few things you may need to do.
- If people coming from a specific keyword are showing low engagement, then you may need to add in more content that makes the content more relevant to the keyword’s intent.
- Optimize the headline of the article to match the user’s goal/intent.
- Optimize the introduction of the article so that they read the article fully and in intro set the expectations clearly.
- Make the content easily accessible with the help of lists, tables, and screenshots so that they can easily accomplish their goals.
- Break up the texts and make use of text formatting tags to make the content easily digestible and scannable.
So, this is how you optimize existing content for searcher goal accomplishment.
Searcher goal accomplishment is one of the greatest SEO factors as it addresses the ultimate objective of the searcher.
The need for optimizing your content to be more searcher-goal friendly will be increased more-and-more for the betterment of the web.
This can be done by including in-depth blog posts, images, screenshots, and also by making sure that the required content on your post is easily discoverable.