What is Search Intent?
An Overview of a Vital SEO Keyword Research Component
Keyword research is obviously an important part of any successful SEO strategy. On the surface, it involves finding the right keywords that your target audience is using to search for your products or services. Traditionally, keyword research has focused on finding high-volume keywords that can generate measurable traffic to your website. However, the focus has shifted in recent years to finding keywords that match the intent of the user. This means understanding the user’s search intent and matching your content to that intent. In this post, we’ll discuss the importance of keyword intent and how to find it.
Types of Search Intent
Search intent refers to the reason behind a user’s search query. It’s the ultimate goal the user is trying to achieve by searching for that specific keyword. Understanding keyword intent is crucial for creating content that matches the user’s actual goal. There are four main types of keyword intent:
- Informational Intent
The user is looking for information on a specific topic, typically to learn something.
Example: repair a flat tire; cast of White Lotus
- Navigational Intent
The user is looking for a specific website or page.
Example: quickbooks login; amazon return policy
- Transactional Intent
The user is looking to purchase a product or service.
Example: mailchimp trial; buy razors online
- Commercial Investigation Intent
The user is looking for information to help them make a purchase decision.
Example: Sonos review; best keyboard for iPad
Interestingly, you can see the classic marketing funnel in practice with the different types of search intent. For example, think of a consumer that is thinking about purchasing a new laptop. Some of the search queries they may use could be:
- Laptop reviews (informational)
- Macbook vs surface pro (commercial investigation)
- Apple website (navigational)
- Buy macbook online (transactional)
Why Focus on Search Intent Instead of Keyword Volume?
Keyword volume is the number of searches for a specific keyword in a given period. While it’s important to have a high-volume keyword in your content, it’s equally important to understand the intent behind the keyword. High-volume keywords can generate a lot of traffic, but if the traffic doesn’t convert, it’s not worth it. By focusing on the intent behind the keyword, you can create content that matches the user’s search intent, which leads to higher engagement, conversions, and ultimately, revenue.
Don’t forget – no matter how sophisticated Google is, it’s still a machine learning algorithm. When you combine this with the varied “expertise” of internet users, there’s bound to be misunderstandings between what users type and what they really want.
How to Find Search Intent
- Analyze the SERP
The first step in finding keyword intent is to analyze the search engine results page (SERP). Look at the top-ranking pages and try to understand what the user is looking for when they search for that keyword. Are they looking for information, a product or service, or a specific website? This will give you a good idea of the intent behind the keyword.
- Use Google Autocomplete
Another way to find keyword intent is to use Google Autocomplete. As you start typing a keyword into the search bar, Google will suggest related searches. These suggestions are based on the most common searches related to the keyword, which can give you insight into the user’s intent.
- Use Google Trends
Google Trends is a tool that allows you to see the popularity of a keyword over time. It also shows related keywords and the countries or regions where the keyword is most popular. This information can help you understand the intent behind the keyword.
- Use a Keyword Research Tool
Keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, and Moz can provide you with data on the search volume, difficulty, and CPC of a keyword. They can also show you related keywords and the search intent behind them.
The Work Is Worth It
Keyword research is a crucial part of any SEO strategy. While traditional keyword research has focused on finding high-volume keywords, the focus has shifted to finding keywords that match the intent of the user. By understanding the intent behind a keyword, you can create content that matches the user’s search intent, which leads to higher engagement, conversions, and revenue. It might take some work, but the payoff is worth it – take the time to truly consider keyword intent and create content that resonates with your target audience.