Your Guide to Keyword Intent: What Is It & Why Does It Matter?

Dan Bates
SEM Lead
Close-up of a person using a Google search on a smartphone
Close-up of a person using a Google search on a smartphone

Keyword research is an integral part of PPC, SEO and Content Marketing and knowing what users are searching for is very important. However, why a user is searching can be just as important as what they are searching for. This is what we call keyword intent.


What is keyword intent?

As mentioned above, keyword intent (also known as search intent) is an indication of the reason why a user is searching based on the phrases searched. For example, the search “Types of TV” is more likely to be focused on research (informational intent), whereas with “OLED TVs” the user is most likely searching for products (commercial intent).


What are the common types of search intent?

Most SEO tools break search intent down into four categories, these are as follows.

1. Navigational

Terms where the user is looking for a specific website or a specific location on a website. These terms are often branded. For example, “BBC Sports News”

2. Informational

These tend to be long-tail terms, where a user is searching for information on a topic. Information keywords will more than likely be a question. For example, “How to clean PVC windows?”

3. Commercial

Keywords that a user might search for product research reasons are considered commercial. There is a degree of want to make a purchase, but it’s not the sole reason for the search. For example, “PVC window cleaning products”

4. Transactional

These are terms used by users to complete a specific transaction or on-site action. In most cases, transactional keywords are related to a specific product or brand. For example, “Shop PVC window cleaner” or “<Brand Name> Window Cleaner”

Person working on a laptop computer with a mobile phone on their desk
Person working on a laptop computer with a mobile phone on their desk

Why is keyword intent important?

Well, by understanding the intent of a keyword, you can optimise the relevant landing page for the expected user journey. An informational keyword would be more suited to a blog or FAQ page that answers the question and provides some additional information, whereas a commercial keyword is more suited to a product category page, where a range of product options and comparison tools are available.

By matching the page content with the intent, you increase the likelihood of a positive interaction with the site, through content signposting and calls to action relevant to the searches driving traffic to the pages. As on-page interaction is a search engine ranking factor, ensuring the visitor gets the right experience could help improve the keyword performance of the site.


What are high-intent and low-intent keywords?

High-intent keywords are those where there is an increased chance of a purchase or key event taking place on the site, this tends to be linked to commercial and transactional keywords. Low-intent keywords are the opposite, here there is a lower chance for a purchase or key event taking place, however, there tends to be more traffic associated with with these terms.


How to find keyword search intent?

Many SEO tools highlight the search intent associated with a keyword. However, if you don’t have access to these, put yourself in the mind of the searcher, what would you be looking for if you were googling this term? You can always Google the keyword and see what comes up. If you find that there are a lot of blogs and content pages appearing, the term is probably informational, if you are getting products, the search is commercial or transactional.


Keyword intent: the final word

As with all things marketing strategy-related, keyword intent should be part of your SEO toolkit. Understanding the search intent of your visitors can be used to inform SEO, CRO and Content Strategy decisions. If you are concentrating on a specific part of a marketing funnel or customer persona, you can select keywords that suit the entry point or browsing habits.

For more SEO advice check out our blogs on outdated SEO techniques and whether SEO should be targeting bots or users.

For more information on how Brave can help you match content to search intent, contact us today.

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