James Carr

Keyword research is a vital part of any Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. Mistakes made at this stage can often have far-reaching consequences, so taking the time to get it right is always recommended. But how do you know if you’re choosing the right target keywords? The answer probably lies in search intent.

As part of a recent SEO training session, we revisited search intent and how it can quickly influence your entire SEO strategy. Interested? Read on below…

“Keywords tell you the what but they don’t always tell you the why. Understanding/surmising keyword intent is crucial to successful SEO…”

The foundation of keyword intent is trying to align your keyword research with the types of searches your target audience are performing. Even in 2022, it can be tempting to choose the terms with the highest search volume, because high traffic equals more conversions, right? The truth is: Probably not.

Modern SEO is slightly more nuanced than the dumb beast of yesteryear, and it is often far more effective to target lower volume keywords that align with the type of search intent that best matches what your landing page or product page offers your customers.

Types of search intent

Informational intent – get specific answers

Informational queries are usually performed by someone who simply wants to answer a question or learn something. These people tend to be aware of a problem they have, but may not be ready to make a purchase to help them solve that problem.

Normally best served by things like blog posts or video guides, these search queries typically revolve around words such as:

  • How
  • Why
  • What
  • Tutorial

Example: How to change a guitar string

Commercial intent – investigate buying

Commercial investigation tends to happen when a user searches to prepare for a transaction. During this phase, they are likely aware of what they need to solve their problem but are looking for the best product to suit their needs.

These searches typically include words such as:

  • Best
  • Review
  • Compare
  • Sites
  • Product name
  • Service name

Example: Best guitar strings for a Les Paul

Transactional intent

Transactional intent occurs when a search is performed that demonstrates a desire to buy something. Typically, the user has identified how to solve their problem and what they need to buy to do so, and is now looking to make a purchase.

These searches typically include words such as:

  • Buy
  • Cheap
  • For sale
  • Online
  • Download
  • Sign up
  • Register
  • Quote

Example: Buy Ernie Ball Regular Slinkies (*coughs* Secret Santa *coughs*)

Navigational intent

Navigational searches usually take users to a specific website, or a section of a specific site once they’re aware of a brand they trust.

Example: Anderton’s Guitar Strings

Next steps

Once you’ve identified the keywords or specific searches that best match each stage in your customer conversion journey and the pieces of content that are going to be most relevant to their needs at that point, you can start to plan out the rest of your strategy.

This might involve the creation of content, going back to older content to optimise for search intent, or identifying Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features (such as featured snippets) that you could seize to gain more traction in your niche.

Even armed with the above knowledge, keyword research isn’t always the easiest thing to get right. If you think your SEO strategy needs a bit of expert attention, why not get our team of SEO specialists to help you out? Get in touch


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