Marketing you can measure™

Blog
James Carr

Keyword research is a vital part of any SEO strategy, which should eventually help drive traffic to your website and encourage sales of your product or service. However, not all keywords are created equal.

While it can be tempting to target simple keywords with a large search volume, you may be left in a position where none of your traffic converts, or no traffic reaches your site due to high competition for your chosen term.

How can you ensure that your chosen search queries will deliver value then? That’s where keyword search intent comes into play…

What is Search Intent?

Search intent is the practice of determining why a user may use a certain keyword/phrase when performing a search, and how well your product or service matches this intent. The final goal of search intent research is to help you to drive specific search engine traffic to your landing pages (such as category pages or product pages) that is more likely to convert.

There are generally four types of intent to consider when narrowing down your keyword research:

Navigational intent

Navigational intent is usually found in keywords that signify that a person is trying to reach a certain site. For instance: People who want to visit the Amazon website are quite likely to search for the term “Amazon” and then click the search result, rather than type in the web address.

That particular search term would therefore be inappropriate to use if you own a business that sells rainforest holidays, regardless of the fact that it is relevant to your service, as the intent behind the majority of the searches is likely to be reaching the Amazon website.

Informational intent

Informational queries are usually performed by people who are looking for information about a subject. At this level, these types of searches can be fairly broad, or very specific depending on the query. For example:

  • “Weather” – This search term suggests that the person is looking for information about the weather. Search engines will often further interpret this type of search to refer to a particular location, so the user will receive results related to the local weather.
  • “What is weather?” – This search term could have two meanings, but is most likely to indicate a search that is being performed to find out more information about the subject of weather. However, search engines will generally also include a local weather result, just in case the search term has been mistyped.
  • “What is the weather like in the Amazon Rainforest?” – This search term could also have two meanings, but the addition of the location shows that the searcher is interested in weather in a specific place. This could mean that this is a purely informational search (i.e for a project of some kind), or could be an early search in the process of researching a holiday destination.

Based on the information above, it’s easy to tell that the most relevant keyword/phrase for your rainforest holiday business would be “What is the weather like in the Amazon Rainforest?”. These examples could be further expanded to include keyphrases such as:

  • How long does it take to trek the Amazon River?
  • What is there to see in the Amazon Rainforest?
  • Where to fly to when travelling to the Amazon Rainforest

These types of search are likely to be valuable to your rainforest holiday business, as they may represent an early stage of research in a user journey. Creating content around these themes is therefore likely to help position your business as an authority in this area, which in turn may help to develop trust when searchers later choose to convert.

Commercial investigation

When people are researching a product or service that they might buy in the near future, they will often perform searches to help them narrow down options. This type of intent is called commercial investigation.

If we consider your rainforest holiday business, examples of commercial intent searches could be:

  • Safest Amazon Rainforest tour provider
  • Best Amazon Rainforest travel agents
  • Best value for money Amazon Rainforest trip

People performing this kind of search are probably looking for third-party recommendations, such as reviews. It is therefore vital to nurture social proof from your customers, through the acquisition of testimonials, Google reviews and forum posts.

Transactional intent

Transactional queries are probably the most valuable form of user intent in relation to your rainforest holiday business, as they signify that a searcher is looking to purchase.

In this type of keyword, people may start to use words like the following when searching:

  • Buy
  • Deal
  • Discount

However, depending on your industry, these words may not need to appear, as search engines are getting better at working out intent based on how searchers generally behave after a search.

Transactional intent is most likely to be seen when a business is selling products rather than services, but it would be a shame to have come this far with the rainforest holiday business and not give a few examples!

  • Buy specialist rainforest health insurance
  • Best Amazon Rainforest deals
  • [Insert business name here] discount code

Summary

As you can see, determining searcher intent when performing keyword research is a great way to drive quality traffic to your website. While the example we used would probably benefit most from keywords with informational and commercial intent, this can vary depending on the specific website.

If you would like help optimising your keyword research or strategy to better leverage search intent, why not get in touch with us.

More on this subject