The Importance of Keyword Intent for SEO

Keyword research intent
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Not so long ago, keywords could legitimately be used to excess on a website, featuring ludicrous repetition designed for search engines rather than human readers.

In recent years, though, Google has evolved their search algorithms significantly to penalize websites employing black-hat techniques – particularly those overwhelming their users with keywords.

With this in mind, keywords still play a vital role in a website’s search performance. Keyword research is fundamental to an effective SEO strategy, and without this, businesses may well struggle to reach their audience as well as they otherwise could.

One area of keyword research that should never be overlooked is keyword intent.

What is Keyword Intent?

This covers the link between a specific search term and the user’s intention after finding the right result. There are three types of keyword intent: informational keywords, which suggest the user wants to find a certain piece of information; commercial keywords, which suggest the user is prepared to make a purchase; and branded keywords, which are employed to locate a specific site or brand.

For example, if someone were searching for cheesecakes, the three variations could be:

Informational – delicious cheesecake recipes

Commercial – buy cheesecakes in Orange County

Branded – The Big Cheesecake Company Ltd.

Informational keywords are likely to come at the start of a user’s search process, when they are trying to learn more about a specific item or service. If we continue with our example, a user looking for ‘delicious cheesecake recipes’ may be planning to bake their own, either for a special occasion or as part of a hobby.

The commercial keyword could then apply to either a buyer who has decided to simply purchase a cheesecake from a local supplier. The branded keywords will be used by someone trying to find a specific type of product, from a company they have experience with or know of.

Why is Keyword Intent Important?

A searcher’s intent dictates their activities upon landing on a business’s website. Creating specific keywords which target the three types of intent may improve conversion rates, by leading users to the page they need more immediately.

One way to approach keyword intent is to consider what you yourself would type into a search engine to reach a certain goal. For example, if you wanted instructions on installing a specific piece of software, what would you type?

“How do I install XXXX?”, “XXXX installation tips”, or perhaps “how does XXX work”? Users are only human, so considering your own approach to finding specific information and products is a strong starting point.

Another way to identify effective keywords is to study those used by high-ranking competitors: how do their terms target different types of intent?

Once you have a clearer idea of how keyword intent works, you should amend your current search strategy to make the most of its advantages. We are an Orange Country SEO agency with vast experience helping companies across all sectors boost their online visibility, and are happy to discuss your keyword strategy at any stage.