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Understanding Keyword Intent

The most significant concept behind keyword research is keyword intent. However, this element is often overlooked. Keyword intent represents what the user’s intentions are for a search query or what they’re likely to do when searching for a particular topic. Understanding this can help you better meet the user’s needs and match your content and landing pages to your target audience. As such, understanding keyword intent is a crucial step in your keyword research process. 

What is Keyword Intent?

Understanding Keyword Intent

Keyword intent, or search intent, is the purpose behind a search query. For a clear picture of what we mean by search intent, we will use an example. Let’s say you are hungry and wish to prepare a quick meal. You head to Google and type “quick kale recipe”. The first result that Google displays looks fine, but you realise that the recipe takes over an hour. So you move to the following search result. Here, you find a recipe that takes about ten minutes. You stick to this page since this is what you want. If enough people click that page and feel the same way, it will significantly boost its ranking. 

Using this example, we can conclude that search intent is the “why” behind a search query. Why did you make this search? Do you want to learn something? Do you wish to make a purchase? Or, are you looking for a specific website? By answering these questions, you can determine your target audience’s search intent. 

Why is Keyword Intent Important?

Understanding Keyword Intent

Google aims to provide you with relevant results for queries. The success of Google as a business lies in how well they provide relevant results. This is why nobody uses low-quality search engines. Google’s mission is also to organise the world’s information and make it available and helpful. If you want your website to rank well in Google, you must provide relevant results for queries.

The first thing you can do is create content that aligns with your audience’s intent. Keyword intent also allows you to know where a user is in the sales process. It is also a way to prequalify prospects before they click through to your website. If done correctly, keyword intent will also narrow down your web traffic to only those likely to convert based on the content you optimise for intent.

However, traffic alone does not guarantee sales. It is more valuable to drive a low quantity of highly qualified searchers to your website. When you have more qualified leads, you get more sales. As such, it is crucial to look at the different types of user search intent and how to create content for those categories. 

Types of Search Intent

Understanding Keyword Intent

Keyword intent varies, which brings about the four distinct categories of search intent

  1. Commercial Intent

Keyword phrases with commercial intent show that a user is ready or at least getting ready to make a purchase. Usually, these keyword phrases will contain modifiers like buy online, coupons, deals, free shipping and more. These types of keywords compel people to make purchases. 

  1. Informational Intent

When searchers want to find out more about a concept or product, they use informational intent. At this point, it is not a good idea to try and sell anything to your audience. However, it could be an excellent time to develop gated content and start collecting emails. Queries with informational intent could contain modifiers such as ‘how to’, ‘why’, ‘the best way to’, ‘history of’ and many more. 

  1. Transactional Intent

This intent lies somewhere in the middle of commercial and informational intent. These queries represent the purpose of buying and reading more content on the website. If you have the proper content, users may buy your products or services or be convinced to buy somewhere further into the conversation. These queries contain words like ‘reviews’, ‘best of’, ‘best’, ‘top 10’ and more. 

  1. Navigational Intent

Keywords with brand names have navigational intent, meaning that a searcher knows where they are headed. Brand name searchers are an asset to website owners. If a person types in your brand name when searching, they already about you and your products or service. The best thing to do is to ensure you appear in the top three search results for those searchers who land on your website. Also, ensure that your website satisfies their needs in the best possible way and your landing pages answers all their questions. 

Tips for Leveraging Keyword Intent in Your Content Strategy

Each keyword has its specific use. However, some are more valuable to marketers than others. This is why we have high-intent and low-intent keywords. High-intent keywords show that the user is ready to make a purchase. High-intent keywords are often transactional or commercial. Low-intent keywords indicate that a user may not go into purchase yet. These keywords are either informational or navigational. So, how do you find relevant and high-intent keywords for your business? Here are some tips to guide you. 

Know Your Value Proposition and Target Audience

Understanding Keyword Intent

Keyword research always begins by knowing your target audience and what you offer. Understanding your business goals will help you identify keywords that align with your objectives. Always consider what you offer your users, what sets you apart from competitors, who would find your content valuable and who wouldn’t find it valuable.

Your value proposition must explain what makes your content relevant to users and why they should choose you over other brands. If you are unsure who your target audience is, conduct a focus group or ask around your network. Ensure you get unbiased feedback so that you can have the strongest selling points. You can also create user personas for your target customers. Laying out this groundwork will help you understand the best marketing strategy for your website. 

Use Google

Now that you have a value proposition and target audience, it is time to begin your keyword research. You can start by using the most straightforward method; Google. Type in your keyword, and you will see some autocomplete suggestions that may be relevant to your business. Google also has a “people also ask” box in its search results, and this is another excellent tool to find relevant keywords. Enter a search query, and you will find examples of similar searches. This will give you more keywords to use in your content. 

Use Keyword Research Tool

If you find it challenging to comb through data, keyword research can be tedious for you. If used well, keyword research tools can provide valuable insights. Keyword research tools are either free or paid for. The best thing is that both are at your disposal. Some of the best keyword research tools include Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, Moz’s Keyword Explorer, SEMrush, and Ubersuggest. These tools simplify your work by doing all the challenging things for you.

Enter a topic or phrase related to your business and the tool will provide the best insights. Some of the insights you will get include the frequency a keyword phrase is searched, difficulty level, changes in interest and related phrases. Most of these keyword tools can also export their keyword data in spreadsheet form, making it easier to consolidate your keyword research efforts. 

Be Thorough in Your Keyword Research

Keyword research is the foundation for creating a solid content strategy. As such, you must conduct it comprehensively. Consider the different ways you can approach your product, services, or niche. You will always find several relevant keywords to use with your content as long as you dive deep during the research process. Once you have your keywords, go through and sort them according to their intent.

The easiest way to do this is by creating another column for “type of intent” in your keyword research spreadsheet. Then begin assessing your keywords and classifying them. If you find it challenging to identify a keyword’s intent, imagine yourself as the user. You can also Google the keyword to see what comes up. How Google responds to the phrase can be an indicator of user intent. 

Convert for Search Intent

Now that you have categorised your keywords according to intent, it is time to convert them for leads and sales. First and foremost, you should create excellent content around those keywords. Then take advantage of the attention you have created with your content to increase your chances of conversion.

Ensure you include a contact form for your customer to get in touch. Include a phone number and email since some people may prefer this method, especially if you have a new product. Also, include a basic FAQ on the page that prospects tend to land on. Do not let your potential customers leave to a separate FAQ page if the page they land on is the one that should convert them. Watch the language you use to present your company and products to potential customers. Use the power of psychology and other techniques to help you increase your chances of conversion. 


Like any other digital marketing strategy, understanding keyword intent requires both art and science. Always test your keywords as trends change. Remember that working with keywords takes time, but it defines your future marketing strategies. 

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