Anyone with prior knowledge in digital marketing has heard of the term keyword intent.
A few years ago, keyword intent played little to no role in search results. However, with the growing focus on SEO rankings, content strategists have now turned their attention towards keyword intent and its role in generating higher SERP rankings.
For one, knowing the keyword intent helps you outrank popular brands and attract a large target audience to your site. It also allows you to create tailored content without wasting time and resources. This article will address all your questions regarding keyword intent, its types, and how to utilise it to gain maximum clicks on your posts.
What Is Keyword Intent?
Before moving on to the types of search intent, it is essential to know what keyword intent exactly entails. Simply put, search intent is the reason a user performs a search altogether.
Every time people want to look for information, they put certain words in the search query box. Google then redirects them to the search results and displays the most relevant content in order. The users can go over the different pages available until they find what they are looking for.
For example, if a user wants to search for pancake recipes, all they’ve got to do is type “pancake recipes” in the search engine, and a variety of recipes will show up. Google focuses on ranking these searches in order of relevance, and this helps the user pick the most suitable content from amongst the top rankings.
However, the search intent doesn’t just cater to people who want information. Sometimes, the intent behind the search is to look for a specific product or brand either out of curiosity or for commercial purposes. The difference in intent determines the Google ranking of these blog posts and articles.
To sum up, the intent of the search largely influences the results that show up when a user types in a keyword or a set of keywords in the search query box. This article will look at the different types of keyword intent and address the pressing question of how content marketers can determine search intent. In addition, we’ll also help you curate a list that targets intent-based keywords.
Importance Of Keyword Intent
You might wonder if search intent is as important in SEO as we’re making it seem. The short answer is yes! You need to incorporate the intent-based approach in your business if you wish to succeed in the current content marketing scenario and generate sufficient traffic for your page or make your landing pages more user-friendly.
The best way to drive high traffic towards your website and improve our websites SEO is to use specific keywords. The more successful you are in choosing these words, the higher the Google ranking of your website will be.
Keep in mind that Google aims to provide relevant content for your search queries. So, using relevant keywords and producing user-friendly content is the best way to rank high in Google’s SERPs. Even though a high rank on search engine result pages (SERP) is good for your business, SEO experts warn against keyword stuffing.
The goal is to produce top-ranking search results via keyword optimisation.
Years ago, Google gave little to no importance to the user intent. However, with the advancement of Google Analytics, the focus now lies on delivering tailored content that aligns with the user’s search intent.
For example, if people are looking for information on the top Chinese restaurants nearby, then merely typing those keywords in the search engine will show the top restaurants in the area.
Similarly, potential customers who are looking to make a purchase will be redirected to the product pages. Also, the results of a specific website search will differ from those of a quick query.
To summarise, your page has to optimise keywords appropriately and answer queries directly. You have to gauge the search intent of your target audience to thrive in the content marketing world and attract more website traffic.
Types Of Search Intent
In this section, we’ll discuss the different types of keyword intent and their relevance in SEO.
1. Informational Intent
To begin with, we have informational intent. When searches on the internet are made by people looking for information, be it a quick answer or in-depth knowledge, then the user intent in such cases is informational.
Usually, words like what, how, the best way to, why, and so on are keywords with informational intent. Google moulds the content as per the user’s needs and provides the most relevant search results.
These single-modifiers and long-tail keywords help in informational searches. Including them in your content is a good idea and can help it achieve a top rank. However, you must make sure that these keywords are placed correctly.
Although informational intent keywords might not bring about high conversation rates, they fulfil their role of identifying problems and finding appropriate solutions.
For example, if the user is looking for ways to make salsa, they have to type “how to make salsa” to access various posts and blogs, complete with videos and pictures. The ranking of these web pages is in order of importance.
Similarly, people also ask questions like “what are keywords?” or “what is keyword intent?”. In such cases, Google displays a list of top sites that can adequately answer these search queries.
You may use these keywords in your content to answer relevant questions and establish your brand as an authoritative source in the industry. By doing this, you also improve the SEO rankings for your business.
2. Transactional Intent
Next up, we have transactional intent. In this, people are looking for products or services they want to buy. Often, they come prepared to make a purchase and know what to buy - they need no convincing in that regard. However, they are looking for a specific website from where they can buy these products or avail the required services.
Keywords with transactional intent include words like free shipping, buy, cheap, coupon, location and discount. For a high conversion rate, try optimising your landing page through the use of these keywords. Also referred to as “buy now” keywords, these help boost e-commerce sales by great margins.
The best way to attract potential customers to your page and witness high conversation rates is to strategically place your content and keep the user’s search intent in mind while developing landing pages.
3. Navigational Intent
Now, it’s time to talk about navigational intent. The search intent in this case is to look for a particular website. The user already knows the landing page they want to gain access to but may not know the exact keywords they need to type.
Here’s an example. Suppose the user intent is to go over to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Then, they merely type the name of the website in Google. Google understands that by “Facebook”, the user is referring to the social media app and redirects them to the desired results.
People also ask for more information about a movie or a music festival this way. In this case, they may type keywords like a music festival in Australia or a music concert in Sydney to look for the date, timing, the musicians performing, and so on.
The core purpose of navigational intent is to help people get more information and new content on Google quickly.
Unlike informational or transactional queries, the search intent isn’t to popularise the brand name or promote content, and thus, navigational queries might not lead to high conversions initially. Nonetheless, you may drive organic traffic to your website and build a solid presence through proper marketing techniques.
For example, if people want to look up a post or blog related to Twitter or any other social media platform, then your web page may show up in the search results, and your content has a chance of ranking on Google.
4. Commercial Intent
Moving away from navigational intent, we will now focus on commercial intent. Broadly put, it is a mix of informational and transactional search intent. In it, people look for a brand name or a product for commercial investigation.
The goal is to buy the product eventually, and the search intent is transactional in nature. However, at first, the user focuses on gathering relevant information about the product and brand.
To give an example, suppose you want to buy a dishwasher. Instead of making a hasty purchase, you will look through different dishwashers, their features, and their functions. So, when you type best dishwashers you aim to gain maximum information and conduct a comparative study before narrowing down on one option.
Initially, your search intent might be informational, but ultimately, you have got a commercial purpose in mind. Thus, when a user looks for product reviews, product comparisons, and other such commercial queries, they will be offered the best products, and they can pick one that best suits their needs.
To ensure that people reach your page while trying to buy specific products, make sure that your pages are good enough to achieve a high rank in Google. In content marketing, commercial intent keywords are better suited for paid advertising campaigns. You may use Google Analytics to figure out the keywords that are attracting people to your page.
Commercial intent also encompasses local services, so if you type in relevant keywords like “best plumbers near me” or “cheapest hotels in Australia”, then Google works swiftly to show the top results.
With commercial intent, certain keywords like review, comparison, best, etc. have a higher conversion rate than others since the intent of purchase is more clearly defined.
How To Determine Search Intent
One of the most important aspects of SEO is to keep your website pages up-to-date and use relevant keywords.
The role of an SEO strategist is to determine the search intent of their audience. It is how they formulate their product pages to answer the queries that people search for.
So, to improve SEO, focus on improving existing content and use Google Analytics to identify the keywords that people use when they are looking for content that has navigational, commercial, or informational intent.
For example, if they are using terms like order, coupon, free shipping, or buy, then they are investigating with transactional or commercial intent.
Similarly, if users want answers to specific queries, they will use keywords like what, how, the best ways to... etc. Although initially, the intent may be informational, they might come back to your page with commercial intent later. So, it is important to develop your pages, post relevant content, and hire an SEO team to get a good ranking during searches.
The best marketing strategy you can adopt is to use SERPs as the most authentic source of information. Glance over the “people also ask” section and go through the “related searches” to understand the search intent of your audience. By doing this, you can build yourself an intent-based keyword list.
Building Intent-Based Keywords
There are a few essential steps you need to follow to build an intent-based keyword list. One way you can do it is through keyword research by narrowing down keywords that are good for SEO and can thus draw more visitors to your page.
To do this, use keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, and Google Suggest Expander. However, we recommend exercising your discretion, as you will often find auto-generated words in the mix.
Another factor you need to keep in mind is the language and location of an area. The spellings and word choices differ between America and England or Australia (for example, we write it as “optimisation” and “colours” in Australia but “optimization” and “colours” in the US).
To achieve a high SEO ranking globally, formulate your content using keywords that can cater to different regions around the globe.
This way you will have a substantial keyword list to which you’d want to add suitable modifiers to boost your SEO ranking and sales. We’ve spoken at length previously about search intent and how you can plan your content around it.
For example, your informational posts can include keywords like “how to use (product)?, ”what is (name of the product)? etc. Similarly, queries with transactional intent can centre around phrases like affordable (product name) near me, or cost of (product name), and so on.
High-Intent And Low-Intent Keywords
Without proper knowledge of the intent keywords, even the most well-funded marketing campaigns can fail. Therefore, SEO experts prioritise a comprehensive understanding of user intent to drive more traffic towards your page. Now that we have spoken about the types of search intent, let’s look at what high and low intent keywords are.
What Are High Intent Keywords?
High intent keywords are “signals” from users who want to buy a product or service and are trying to find the best options through their searches.
This intent is strongly commercial and if you focus on delivering content tweaked as per the intent search, higher conversions are bound to follow. There are two types of high intent keywords - product and buy now. Examples of buy now keywords include discounts, deals, coupons etc.
However, buy is the strongest among these as it signifies a firm commitment towards purchasing a product.
Apart from branded searches, product keywords also include words such as affordable, top, cheapest, comparison, and review. Out of these, product-specific keywords have the highest conversion rates and increase your SEO rankings.
Although the other keywords in this list might not be as strong as the “buy now” keywords, they still convert well and show a desire to purchase. However, the only problem here is that an SEO strategist will have to put in more effort to achieve the required conversion rates on your landing page.
What Are Low Intent Keywords
Low intent keywords are largely informational or navigational. The conversion rates are usually low since the focus is on providing information instead of selling a product.
Often, keywords include words like what, how, when, and the users making these searches are not looking to buy a product but want information about a particular topic or intend to gain access to a site.
That’s It On Keyword Intent
That’s all we have for you today!
While sorting out keywords, remember to choose them in terms of relevancy, competition, search volume, keyword reliability, etc. Ensure that your content can deliver as per the user query and try using long-tail keywords for more reliable rankings and to improve conversion rates.
Before we go, here’s one word of advice. Always ask yourself what your purpose for creating a particular piece of content is. Are you looking for more clicks on your page, or do you want users to visit it with transactional or commercial intent?
Sorting out these questions will help you modify the post accordingly and avoid keyword stuffing since search engines are adept enough to gauge authoritative content from gibberish. Crafting extremely specific posts using high intent and long-tail keywords can help users find your website, thus generating more traffic and leading to higher conversions.
Kristi is head of content production and editing at sitecentre and joined the team in early 2021 based out of our Sunshine Coast office to deliver higher-quality content to our partners. Kristi has a vast knowledge of copywriting styles and experience to accelerate the production of SEO friendly content at the highest levels.