How Your Readers Search: The User and the Query

Organic SEO Begins and Ends With the User

The key to optimizing your website and articles for search engines is to write and design for the user, not for SEO.

How? First, you must understand the user. Curiosity and need drives the user to acquire a piece of information. Visiting their favorite search engine, the user will type a word or phrase, known as a query, and browse the results. It may seem easy until you realize that everyone uses search engines differently.

Here are the three basic types of search engine queries:

  • Action Queries – The user wants to do something, such as buy a product, watch a video, or listen to a song.
  • Reference Queries – The user is looking for specific information, such as articles, product reviews, the name of a band, or the year England won the World Cup.
  • Go Queries – The user knows exactly where they want to go, such as Twitter, Facebook, or their email.

Article writing is easily aligned with reference queries because the nature of articles is to provide non-promotional, original, informative, and quality content that meets the needs and wants of users. In its essential form, incorporating organic SEO into your article writing strategy is achieved by honing in on what is driving users to search – that is, the words or phrases they type into a search engine.

How can you get a hold of these words or phrases and what should you do with them?

  1. Data – Acquiring your website, blog, and article analytics is a must. Most blog hosting sites offer a form of analytics and you can gain great insights from Google Analytics. For Platinum, Diamond, and Premium EzineArticles members, we provide top keywords or phrases used to find your articles in the Monthly Summary section of your account.
  2. Brainstorm – Allow these keywords and phrases to guide your topic choices. Brainstorm original titles and naturally incorporate keywords into your titles. Avoid cannibalizing your own article portfolio by writing unique, original content – not a derivative form of an existing, successful article.
  3. Writing – As Expert Authors, you want to make sure that your quality content appears at the other end of the search, without resorting to “writing for SEO” which can greatly diminish the quality of your writing. Use the keywords sparingly and naturally in your articles to ensure you are targeting users in order to provide a good user experience. Be consistent in the quality of your articles, from title to summary to article body to resource box. If there is incorrect grammar or vague information, it will affect how many click-throughs you’ll receive.

What ultimately determines whether the user will click-through in SERP?

There are three key elements that influence the user’s selection: the Description, the Title, and the URL. Here’s how you can fine-tune these three key elements to help your readers find you:

  1. Description – The most important element, the user will use the description to determine if it’s relevant to them and their search. Your description should be unique (not a boilerplate generated description), approximately 160 characters, and must be relevant to the page or article. For your articles, this is your summary. Tip: Your summary can be up to 200 characters – concentrate your hook and call-to-action within the first 160 characters of your article summary.
  2. Title – Titles should be descriptive and concise, avoid keyword stuffing, and be 100% original. Consider attention-grabbing language that promotes action and promises informative value. For a guide to writing great titles, click here.
  3. URL – Users are more likely to click on a search result with a branded domain name they can trust, is transparent, and is credible. For example: A user looks up “iPod Touch 5th Generation reviews” – they are far more likely to click on a branded site name with a specific subdirectory description (e.g., than an exact match domain (e.g.,

Understanding how search engine users (a.k.a. prospective readers and visitors) find information and how they determine which information suits them is the first step to providing organic optimization. Bear in mind that strategies that target search engines quickly go out of style and will deliver poor results. However, if you provide a quality user experience that targets your audience’s needs and wants, you will succeed.

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Robert Tellier writes:

Some excellent points here, thanks. I’ve really been concentrating on my Titles and especially descriptions, making changes to all my posts.

Comment provided October 22, 2012 at 3:38 PM


Randall Magwood writes:

I totally agree with this post. Instead of writing for search engines and trying to “game” the Google bots… authors should be keeping the reader in mind – and make sure that quality is maintained.

Comment provided October 22, 2012 at 5:04 PM


Joseph Dabon writes:

Wow! What a load of information.

By the way, people are always talking about keyword search. I do that when I think of an appropriate title to my post.

Other than that I really don’t know how to use it for maximum effectiveness. Can you write something on how to use, say, Google keyword search?

Comment provided October 22, 2012 at 7:37 PM


Andres Martinez writes:

hi Vanessa
thank you for your new article!

Comment provided October 22, 2012 at 9:06 PM


Shimaa Marzouk writes:

useful article
thanks for URL tips

Comment provided October 23, 2012 at 2:36 AM



The CTR you get in the organic search results must play a big factor on how well you rank in the SERPS, probably more than a lot of people realize, great post by the way.

Comment provided October 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM


Hai writes:

I am not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for great info I was looking for this info for my mission.

Comment provided October 25, 2012 at 6:03 PM


scottuckers writes:

You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually
something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

Comment provided October 26, 2012 at 6:03 PM


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