The sole purpose of Google’s core algorithm is to provide answers to user’s questions. It’s that simple. This explains why Google shows snippets, carousels, paid ads and local map listings for specific results – to ensure that the user finds the most relevant answer to their question in as little clicks as possible.

In order to develop a bulletproof content and SEO strategy, you need to have an understanding of how Google interprets user intent and how this influences the rankings.

We have been in the game a long time and as well as studying documents released by Google themselves, we have a backlog of experience within the Google realm so feel we have a generous amount of knowledge when it comes to understanding how Google ranks websites.

User Intent

An issue that is often not taken into account is multiple user intent. Take the term ‘Amazon’; this is a classic example of multiple user intent, as people searching for this may be looking for the brand or the rainforest.

Google should be able to identify from your pages which ‘Amazon’ you are so you are not shown for irrelevant terms, and don’t gain lots of irrelevant traffic that causes high bounce rates.

However, if Google sees that a higher percentage of people are searching for the amazon rainforest than Amazon the brand, they will show results for the former first. This is the case for every instance where there could be multiple user intent for the search term.


Contrary to popular belief, the number of links pointing to Amazon’s website is not the reason why it ranks first for this term.

Yes, links still play a key role in ranking signals but it is not the sole reason websites reach the number one position. There are many websites that appear at the top of the search results who have little to no links.

The search results are ordered by user intent, meaning that Google will show the listings of the webpages they deem most relevant to your query with perhaps a few listings further down the page of the other ‘amazon’ so that if they have got it wrong they can learn from what you click.


The days of hundreds of links = great rankings are gone.

Even keyword relevance and title tags don’t promise rankings anymore. Whilst all these elements are still important and necessary for the bigger picture, going into 2018 we can see that user intent is one of the most powerful signals as to what ranks at the top of Google.