What Is Keyword Intent?

Keyword intent is the user’s purpose for typing in a search query. Intent will clue you in to what an end-user will likely do when they search certain keywords. 

Why is Keyword Intent Important?

Keyword intent is critical for online businesses and is arguably the most important concept to understand when it comes to keyword research. When you are able to discern what an end-user is likely to do when they type in certain keywords, you can tailor your online store to better match their intentions. Through precise analysis of keyword intent, you will be able to improve conversion rate effectively.  

What are the 4 Types of Keyword Intent?

Commercial/High Intent Keywords 

High intent keywords indicate the end-user is ready to take action. They may be ready to commit to a purchase, subscribe to a service, join an online community or take advantage of an online deal. 

Commercial keywords will commonly see these keywords modified with words like buy, deals, free shipping, or subscribe. These types of keywords commonly lead to conversions quickly.

Information Keywords

Information keywords indicate your end-user is still in the research phase of the sales funnel. This means they are willing to read reviews, user guides, and product pages to gather more information about their product of interest. These users are not ready for a direct sales pitch, but these queries may indicate they are willing to disclose personal information for a valuable piece content or a potential discount code. 

Information keywords are often paired with modifiers such as how to, benefits of, best way to, or why you need. 

Transactional Keywords

Transactional keywords indicate a user is somewhere between commercial and information. They likely have done a great deal of research and they are looking for bottom-of-the-funnel content to tip them over the edge to purchase. 

These keywords are often paired with modifiers including top 10, reviews, best products, or comparison. 

Navigational Keywords

Navigational keywords indicate a user knows the exact location they want to go. These keywords may include brand names or platforms. Since the end-user is looking to come directly to your website, all you have to do is make sure your site is the first one that appears. 

How to Identify Keyword Intent

While you will likely be able to determine intent with common sense, there are tools to help you identify how a search engine is identifying keyword intent and delivering websites to meet that need. 

SEMRush

The quickest and easiest way to begin to understand the intent of a keyword, is by using SEMRush to do some initial keyword research. Next to each keyword, they identify what their algorithms believe to be the intent of the keyword. I”ve never found this to be 100% accurate, but at the very least, gives me a starting point to work from. To get a little deeper, you can perform a manual SERP analysis.

Google SERP Analysis

Google’s search engine will signal how they perceive intent through the following features found on the search engine results page (SERP):

  • “Quick-Answer” Result Box – A short snippet from a website that displays at the top of the search page. 
  • “People Also Ask”
  • Google Shopping results
  • Local Search Results for navigational queries

When you initially begin to analyze search intent for a specific keyword, start by typing in your keyword and taking note of what the top SERP results are. As you review the titles, you will begin to see whether shopping results appear, informational “What is” articles appear, or whether this is a brand name people commonly search for.

Build a Keyword Map for Analysis

After you analyze your main keywords for your website, begin to identify additional long-tail keywords that can be associated with your primary keyword. Reviewing these additional qualifiers will help you to better understand keyword intent. 

For example, if you are selling baby bassinets, you can build long-tail keywords by adding qualifiers to the main keyword. 

  • Best baby bassinet (Search Volume: 1,300)
  • Portable baby bassinet (Search Volume: 1,000)
  • How long can baby stay in bassinet (Search Volume: 590)
  • Baby swing bassinet (Search Volume: 390)

By adding additional qualifiers to your primary keyword, you will change the search intent slightly. Reviewing the intent for each keyword will provide you more information and guidance on how to properly optimize for keyword intent. 

How To Properly Optimize For Keyword Intent

After you have had the time to analyze the SERP results for your primary and long-tail keywords, it is time to optimize your web pages to accurately display for your target keywords. 

Informational Keywords 

Informational keywords are commonly attached to high-value blog posts that provide in-depth information on a product and its benefits. These blog posts typically answer the questions that commonly appear on the “People Also Ask” section on SERPs. Optimizing blog posts to have primary keywords in title tags and heading tags will better prepare Google to pull out the appropriate content for display on SERP pages.

Commercial Keywords

Commercial keywords are typically broad and drive end users to product category pages instead of blogs or product pages. When you optimize category pages for commercial keywords, it is important to update the title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, and ensuring the category page has enough content to describe what products are included on your webpage. 

Navigational Keywords 

Navigational keywords are typically associated with brand names. To properly optimize for branded navigational keywords, it is important to include the keywords in your title tags and meta descriptions.  

Transactional Keywords 

Transactional keywords typically lead end users to a product page optimized for conversions. To properly optimize these web pages, it is vital to have the transactional keyword in the title tag, meta description, and H1 tag on the web page. It is also vital to have a clear product description including the main and long-tail keywords associated with the highlighted transactional keywords. 

Summary

Search intent remains a critical role in website optimization. Through proper analysis of keyword intent, you will be better equipped to give your end-users the web experience they are searching for.

If you are looking to rank long-term in the top search results for your primary keywords, make it your goal to give your end-users exactly what they are looking for. Search engines will reward you in this effort.

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