Small Business Brief


Keyword Intent: Your Key to Boosting Traffic

Did you know that between 16 – 20% of daily Google searches have never appeared before? It’s hard to believe that users are able to come up with so many new queries.

It’s even more difficult to believe that there is existing web content that caters to these brand-new keywords. But it’s not only about providing content for the right keywords. It’s about providing content for the right keyword intent. 

Keyword search intent is the goal the user has when they type certain keywords into search engines like Google. Once you understand it, you can harness its power and boost quality traffic to your site.

Not sure how to do that? This guide covers everything you need to know to get started!

Four Types of Keyword Search Intent

Whilst there are limitless reasons for users to input keywords into Google search, they all fit into distinct categories. This is a breakdown of the four main types of keyword intent:

1. Informational Search Intent

Informational search intent is when a user is researching a topic. They could be looking for an explanation, definition, or instructions. 

Many of these queries are in the form of a question and start with these words:

  • How to
  • What is
  • Why does
  • Where are

But they might not. For example, someone who wants to learn how to cross-stitch may input the keywords “how to cross-stitch” into a search engine. Or, they might search for “cross-stitch beginner instructions.”

2. Transactional Search Intent

Users have transaction search intent when they have the aim of buying a specific product or service. They’ve completed research on a previous search or a different method. These users have a brand, product, and/or price point in mind.

Here are some examples of keywords they might input into search engines:

  • HP Envy 13-inch laptop
  • Flights from London to Boston
  • Second-hand Jane Austen novels

These valuable keywords are often competitive and have a high keyword difficulty. This is because traffic from this type of keyword intent produces the most sales.

3. Commercial Search Intent

This search intent has similarities to both informational and transactional search intent. Commercial search intent is when a user intends on gathering information with the intent of making a transaction in the future.

Here are some examples of keywords related to commercial search intent:

  • Acne skincare brands
  • Places to visit in June
  • Best wireless earphones 2022
  • Black Friday deals

Any search term that uses words like discount, deal, or coupon would also fit in this category. These users are only entertaining the idea of making a transaction, they aren’t set on it.

4. Navigational Search Intent

Navigational search intent is the outlier. More often than not, users are looking for information on a physical place or site. Or, they’re looking for a specific website or webpage.

These are examples of this type of keyword intent:

  • Hair salon near me
  • Dallas electrician
  • Chris Hemsworth Facebook
  • Pizzerias in Minneapolis

Household name brands, like McDonald’s or Apple, will have a high website conversion rate for these types of keywords.

How to Find the Best SEO Keywords

Let’s say you own an online jewelry store. You want your website’s content to target keywords that have commercial search intent. Once you’ve built up your brand, you will also want to target transactional and navigational search intent.

You also want to target keywords about jewelry and accessories. But you don’t want to focus on keywords that no one searches for or have high competition. So how do you choose the best ones?

Use a free or paid keyword research tool. Type in long-tail keywords (search phrases with 3+ words) that you want to write content about. Short-tail keywords like “jewelry” and “necklaces” will never be specific enough.

Consider the number of monthly search terms this keyword phrase receives. You should also consider whether high authority sites are also targeting this keyword. Select keywords in the sweet spot with a high volume of searches and as little competition as possible.

How to Determine Keyword Intent

You have your keywords. Now you need to ensure your content ideas align with the keyword search intent behind those keywords.

Start by searching your own keywords on Google in incognito mode. See what Google displays for this keyword phrase on the first page. Does it match the type of content you wanted to create for this keyword?

Let’s say you wanted to write a blog post about the history of stainless steel jewelry. Your keyword research tool says “stainless steel jewelry” is a great one to use. But if you search this term, you will find shopping pages for stainless steel jewelry, not informative blog posts.

You need to narrow the focus of your keyword so it matches keyword intent. As long as it has a high volume of searches and little competition, “stainless steel jewelry history” might be a better option.

How to Optimize Your Content for Keywords

Writing content that targets both your keyword and keyword intent is the last step. First, check out your competition while searching your keyword in incognito mode. How can you write more useful, informative content for your users? 

Next, you need to input your keyword in different places throughout your content to optimize it for search engines. Follow this guide:

  • H1 title tag
  • Some H2 and H3 title tags
  • Within the first 100 words/introduction
  • In your conclusion
  • Throughout the body of your text
  • Image alt-tags
  • Meta description
  • URL

When you are researching a keyword using your tool, search for secondary keywords too. These have the same search intent as your primary tool but are different keywords.

For example, Person A might search “weekend in Copenhagen guide” and Person B might search “two days in Copenhagen guide.” They both have the same search intent. But one keyword will have a better score on your keyword research tool.

Use the one with the better score as your “primary” keyword in all the places listed above. Use the second (and up to nine others) as secondary keywords and input them once each in your content.

Understanding Keyword Intent Will Unlock More Traffic

Targeting high volume, low competition keywords is fantastic. But it won’t pay off if you’ve created the content around the wrong keyword intent. Now you know all about intent, you’ll be able to boost the right kind of traffic to your site and boost your sales.

Are you overhauling your marketing strategy and wanting to learn more? Browse our website for tons of digital marketing tips and tricks for small businesses!