Keyword Search Intent: The Importance of Search Intent on Keyword Research

By analysing the search intent of your target audience, you may learn more about the people conducting the searches, the queries they have, where in the buying process they are, and more. Everything you write to them will then be informed by this powerful insight, from the subject matter to the words you use to convey your message to the tone of voice you adopt.
Google keyword search intent user

This article explores how intent affects keyword research and why it’s so important to understand your target audience’s behaviour clearly. Optimising content starts with knowing what the search intent of your customer really is. Learn to create a keyword search intent strategy around search intent to understand the insight of your user’s intent.

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    What is search intent?

    The phrases” search intent” or “user intent” refer to the reason behind a user’s query in a search engine. It is the reason why that person is online searching for something. It refers to answering the question the person has in mind.

    You need to create a different kind of content for each type of search intent. That is why it’s important to understand the searcher’s intent. Understanding is vital because, for ranking a website in search engines, the type of content you develop must correspond to the type of content the search is looking for. Otherwise, the chances of ranking and obtaining relevant organic traffic are poor, and you lose your position in the search engine results pages.

    For each type of search intent, you need to create a different kind of content.

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    4 Common types of search intent

    1. Informational Intent

    Informational search intent is when a user basically wants to know something, for instance, pizza toppings. People seeking information will have a specific question or general curiosity about the subject. That is why informational intent is so crucial. You must develop content that provides relevant and straightforward responses to your customer’s questions about your product or service.

    Google results example for keyword search intent
    Google's results for the topic "pizza toppings."

    2. Commercial intent

    Most consumers use the World Wide Web to research products before purchasing. People commonly look for evaluations, reviews, and comparisons to help them decide. For instance, if I’m in the market for a new microwave, I’d be interested in learning which models are now the most highly recommended and how much they typically cost.

    After the search, I have the information I need. It’s up to me to decide if that is the right solution for me.

    Google's results for keyword search results
    Google's results for the term "best microwave oven Australia 2022."

    3. Transactional intent

    It is known as transactional intent when a person conducts online research “with the specific intention of making a purchase“. For example, I need a new pair of headphones, and my attitude is to purchase one. I know what I require from my headphones, and I am searching for a good, convenient supplier. The search terms will include words like “buy”, “cheap”, “premium price”, “for sale”, “where to buy”, etc., as I am seeking to execute a specific action: buy.

    4. Navigational intent

    In this case, the searcher is looking for a particular website. They are already aware of the destination but need to be directed to a specific page, domain, address, etc. Users normally search for the brand name plus the info they need. The keyword will not need to sell the product because the searcher has already decided to purchase it, but they may require more information to find the location or working hours, for instance.

    For instance, if you’re craving pizza tonight but are unsure of the location, you might Google “Pizza Hut Toowoomba” to find the nearest restaurant.

    Warning: Ensure your client finds you and not your competitors.

    Google's results for keyword search intent
    Google's results for the term "pizza hut Toowoomba."

    How to determine intent

    Ahrefs offers a practical list of keywords “modifiers” that typically reflect a certain search intent:

    Why is search intent important?

    In simple words: to answer the user’s question. Google’s primary goal is to deliver results that satisfy the user’s intent. Therefore, today’s SEO and content marketing strategies must incorporate search intent. Google is obsessed with search intent. 

    In other words, if your high-quality content page does not cater to search intent, it won’t rise in Google’s ranks. Google gives more weight to search intent than to backlinks and other traditional SEO ranking factors (which are still important, though!).

    How intent affects keyword research

    You’ll need to leverage keyword research and intent research if you want to rank high for keywords to get traffic and leads from your website. It would help if you built a content strategy to attract prospects and customers and keep them.

    Only gathering the root keywords relevant to your business cannot be the main objective of your SEO strategy as it once was. You need to find out why someone is searching for your product.

    Applying search intent to keyword research

    Your search result needs to be found with the proper keyword that correlates with the type of result the searcher wants to see.

    To deliver relevant content to your visitors, your keywords need to help them reach the most compelling results in the quickest way possible. Your search result needs to be found with the proper keyword that correlates with the type of result the searcher wants to see. This correlation will allow you to reach potential clients who are interested in your content.

    Your keywords need to align with your prospective clients' search terms. Otherwise, your prospective clients will not find you. That damages your conversion rate and your level of control.

    Keep your keywords to search terms as near as 1:1 as possible to avoid using keywords that will not attract clients and, if they do, won’t lead to conversions.

    The closer you are to the search terms used by your audience, the higher the conversion potential.

    Why do you need to understand your target audience's behaviour clearly?

    While keywords are still important, knowing your target audience is paramount. As Neil Patel says,

    If you don't know who your audience is, then you don't know which keywords to target."

    Neil Patel

    However, you must first understand your target market to choose which search terms to prioritise their questions and goals.

    I hope you noticed that I didn’t say “identify” your target audience but rather “understand” them. Understand the intent behind their search terms (informational, transactional, commercial, navigational) and build a search funnel (or an intent-driven funnel) to help you align the keywords and content you use to their queries. 

    Aligning to the user’s expectations is essential to lead them further down the funnel, transforming your keywords into “key questions” within the search journey and allowing you to help them in their decision-making process along the path to conversion. 

    Overcoming the search intent barrier

    By understanding your target audience better, you will be empowered to:

    • Decipher the questions they ask.
    • Create refined, relevant, directed keywords.
    • Develop more efficient content.
    • Improve resonance with users.
    • Promote increased performance.

    Key takeaways

    Understanding your audience’s search intents will help you correctly deliver a solution to their questions. Become more personalised, encouraging user journeys to satisfy the needs of your audience and create opportunities for content improvement.

    Clearly targeted, message-specific audiences are less likely to skip or disregard your message. Search intent keywords are crucial to creating the best SEO strategy for your website. Using these different user intent forms and reefing them to your audience’s queries, you can boost your rankings, traffic, sales, and qualified leads.

    By understanding the intent of your audience, you can develop relevant and useful keywords and content that offer the best answers your target audience wants to view, visit, and purchase.

    Need a little help? Contact me, and I will help you choose the most effective keywords for content writing possible, and your website’s search engine rankings will soar. Good luck!

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    Cidinha Moss

    Cidinha Moss

    Cidinha Moss is the founder of Moss51 Art & Design, an SEO Content Writing and Web design studio. She is a content writer and web builder with a background in languages, education, and entrepreneurship with years of writing, teaching, and providing effective text, images, and web designs to her clients. You can find her on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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