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Google on Separating Content By User Intent

Google recommends separating content by user intent— this is what it means by that.

Google on Separating Content By User Intent

Google explains what it means when it suggests separating content by user intent, such as one place for information-based content and another for transaction-based content.

Separating content by user intent allows Google to serve the right pages to the right user at the right time.

Otherwise, Google may end up serving product pages to people who aren’t interested in buying anything.

But does that mean you can’t have information-based content on the same website as transaction-based content?

That’s what site owner Christian Kunz asks Google’s John Mueller during the SEO office-hours hangout recorded on October 8.

Kunz operates an ecommerce site and he’s concerned about adding too much information-based content to his product pages.

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He asks if the non-transactional content should be siloed off into its own section.

Or, perhaps, should it not be on the site at all?

Here’s what Mueller advises.

Google’s John Mueller on Separating Content

When asked for clarity on separating content, and whether it should be done at the page-level or website-level, Mueller says:

“I don’t think we have that documented or defined. But my understanding is that this is more of a page-level thing.

Because it’s— I mean, just purely from trying to think of it as— I don’t know— a practical way, like how you would implement it, and look at websites overall.

A lot of websites just have a mix of different kinds of content. And then you try to figure out which of these pages match the searcher’s intent, and try to rank those appropriately.

So my feeling is this is something more that would be on a page-level rather than on a website level.”

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It’s fine to combine content geared toward different user intents on the same website.

But keep it separated at the page level.

Mueller gives the example of a website that focuses on breaking news, but has special sections dedicated to notable events in history.

Because the historical content is separated into its own section, Google knows not to serve those pages when people are looking for recent news stories.

“You see that with news websites often that they have the recent events, but they also have sections for maybe older events that took place… they kind of have an isolated archive section. And those are very different intents.

Like if you want something really now that is happening, or if you want some kind of informational research, evergreen-type content. And there too we kind of have to look at it on a per page basis and not say, oh, this is a research website because there’s some research content here.”

The same idea applies to an ecommerce website.

You could have one section dedicated to selling products, and another section dedicated to information about those products.

Then Google can serve the right pages when people are looking to buy one of the products, versus looking for something like assembly information.

A modicum of informational content on a product page should be fine.

But including a whole brochure’s worth of information could make it confusing for Google to recognize it as a product page.

Hear Mueller’s response in the video below:


Featured Image: Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock

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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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