The Key to Quality is Keyword Intent

Keywords have always been at the heart of search engine optimization (SEO). And a common SEO goal is, in part, to abide by webmaster guidelines and best practices, and to leverage our experience and industry knowledge to best optimize our pages with keyword intent (preferably keywords related to the content on those pages). In fact, it’s your selection of keywords that literally speaks volumes about the quality of your various webpages, and your site as a whole.

Correct Keyword Placement Helps Crawlers

Correct keyword placement allows search engine crawlers to pick up on what each page of your website is about. This is important because there are more than 40,000 search queries performed every single second via Google – that’s more than a trillion per year!

Obviously, the search engine giant wants to make it as easy as possible for anyone performing one of those searches to find exactly what they want. In order to achieve this goal, crawlers take a look at things such as:

• Your actual text (copy)
• Images on each page
• Video content (which is searched for more than text)

Keyword Intent Based On Webpage Intent

You may have heard a lot lately about keyword intent. It’s actually the intent of a webpage or site that should complement the keyword you are targeting so that users who search for that keyword are captivated by the material you are publishing. In order to make this type of keyword intent work for you, you need to have specific purposes for each of your webpages.

For instance, you would likely use keywords suggesting some type of incentive if your intent was to drive sales. But if you wanted to introduce people to your brand, you might use keywords that give searchers a clue about what your business is and what you offer.

Quality Keywords + Persuasive Content = Conversions

You can trigger users’ interest by providing supporting information toward the keyword you selected to optimize for. In some cases the goal is to lure the user in with information that interests them, and provide them with information that is surprising in nature.

Let’s say you have an HVAC service company. So, you might use include keywords like “Los Angeles HVAC maintenance” in your content to generate interest from searchers in your target area.

When searchers who found the link to your site after typing in one of those keywords gets to cosponsoring webpage associated with the link, they might discover a list of surprising reasons why HVAC maintenance is so important (the content that’s supporting your keywords). This may be enough of an added incentive to boost your conversions (e.g., people scheduling maintenance service or taking advantage of one of your service plans).

This is an example of giving searchers information they wouldn’t have otherwise thought of if it wasn’t for the quality driven content provided! In other words, you answered the user’s question (“Why is HVAC maintenance important?”) and sold them on a product or service (your HVAC maintenance plan) they wouldn’t have otherwise considered.

These keywords are designed to capture an audience that is unfamiliar or unaware of a product or service. This can also work if you have new or unique products that need some supporting information to convince people why they need what you happen to be offering.

Keywords Driven by Customer Data

Another tactic to consider with keywords is what your customers actually expect when they visit your website. This is another type of keyword intent that’s based on a solid understanding of who your target audience is. In other words, you’ll use your knowledge of what you know matters most to your target customers so you can catch their attention with the right keywords.

Keywords Based On Search Queries

In order to factor intent into your keyword selection, it helps to know the possible reasons why somebody might be searching for something online. Search queries can be broken down in three ways:

  • Informational queries: These are the searchers performed to answer a specific question or gather information.
  • Navigational queries: Someone performing a navigational search is looking for a specific website.
  • Transactional queries: Searches like this are the ones done when someone is looking to purchase something. These are the queries that tend to lead to conversions – as long as you have the right match with keywords and relevant, compelling content.

High Intent Keywords

High intent keywords are the ones that tend to be used on ecommerce sites because they have a high commercial intent. These are keywords you use if you want your various pages to inspire conversions or similar actions, which means they are associated with transaction queries.

Not surprisingly, it’s high intent keywords that tend to be most lucrative in terms of the ability to generate clicks and revenue. High commercial intent keywords can be categorized as “buy now” and “product” keywords.

‘Buy Now’ Keywords

With “buy now” keywords, the typical searcher’s intent is to make a purchase or take advantage of a specific service. Sometimes, they need a little nudge or an added incentive to take the desired action. “Buy now” keywords include:

• Buy (should be put into context with surrounding content)
• Free shipping
• Discount (can be linked to something specific like “10% discount for first-time customers!”)
• Deal(s), save now, coupon(s)

Product Keywords

Product keywords are different than “buy now” keywords in that searchers intent to actually make a purchase for a specific type of product. They’re either at the point where they’re looking for the best deal from any manufacturer or the best deal for a specific brand. These are high intent keywords that tend to convert well.

But they can also be really competitive. This is why you really need to make sure you have some convincing content to back up these keywords if you want to convince a searcher to buy the desired product from you instead of one of your competitors. Product keywords include:

• Brand-name searches (e.g., Keurig, Apple)
• Specific products (e.g., Keurig coffee maker, Apple iPhone X)
• General product categories (bathmats, diapers, fall jackets)
• Affordable, best, cheap, lowest price, review, or top

Realize that lead keywords aren’t the same as product keywords. Businesses that offer services often want website visitors to call or contact them by email, so you wouldn’t use words like “buy,” although “best” could work. Websites with product keywords usually allow visitors to complete the purchase entirely online; so this is when it makes more sense to use keywords that provide an incentive to wrap up a purchase.

Low Intent Keywords

Navigational or informational search queries are the ones likely to involve low intent keywords. The reason these keywords are “low intent” is because searchers are usually in the information gathering stage; so they’re not ready to take action yet.

But low intent keywords aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, if you have relevant keywords naturally sprinkled within informative website, blog, or social media content, you might be able to provide the information searchers need to shift to the decision phase of the purchase/buying cycle.

Intent Based on Buying Cycle

Ideally, you want to pepper your various webpages with a balanced mix of high intent and low intent keywords. This is because searchers coming to your site are likely to be in different stages of the consumer buying cycle. The solution is to create target content with keywords likely to appeal to searchers within the various stages of the buying cycle:

• Awareness
• Consideration
• Preference or intent towards one solution/product
• Ready to purchase
• Repeat purchase(s)

However, there are some instances when you’ll actually want to focus on one type of intent with your keywords. This usually applies to landing pages with very specific purposes.

As for your selected keywords, if you’re not sure which ones to use, take a step back and do some keyword research. This can also be helpful if you’re not seeing the results you expect with your current keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner is an excellent tool to use for this purpose.

Keyword planner can also give you give you info about keyword popularity and competitiveness in nice, neat charts. Lastly, remember that your keyword choices will be primarily based on two things:

  • the intent of searchers looking for what you have to offer
  • and, the purpose or intent of your website.

Are you successfully capturing the attention of search engines and, more importantly, searchers with your keyword choices? Feel free to share your thoughts and comments on this article.