• Keyword Research

Search Intent Tips for Your Keyword Research

SEO is constantly changing and evolving to keep up with changes in search engine algorithms and marketing trends. It used to be enough to make a list of some relevant words, sprinkle them through your article and call it a day. But no longer. Over the past year, Google has made some notable adjustments to the both its search algorithm and the way it displays results, two things which every SEO professional needs to take into account. Another major development in keyword research is the evolution of intent based search optimization.

What is search intent?

This essentially means digging one layer deeper than simply trying to match the words that users are likely to search. Predicting the most popular searches allows you to use keywords to match those searches. This increases your chances of a high ranking as search engines are increasingly taking this into account. They want to provide results that correspond to the user’s end goal, not just match up the words themselves. There are three main categories:


These are searches where people are looking for answers. At this point, keywords can be more targeted to provide education and information.


These are mainly people searching for a specific site or business but these types of searches are unlikely to provide any end benefit for businesses besides that one.


This is where most businesses want to focus because it is where users are ready to make a commitment of some sort. Making a purchase or setting up an account, for example.

As one might expect, the keywords used to target these three areas are going to be notably different. Therefore, it is essential for every business to establish the intent of their target audience for every genre of content they produce, then use that as a guideline to choose keyword content.

Keyword Examples by Category

Knowing your audience and determining which category of search intent they fall into should shape the majority of your keyword choices. Here are just some of the typical keywords that match up with each category:



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Whatever specific words you choose for your keyword content, always pay attention to how closely they will match up with the search intent of the users in your target audience.

What type of words should you be focusing on?

Keywords can be roughly grouped into six different categories, each falling at a different point along the process from first contact to customer conversion.

  • Audience


This group includes most of the traditional keyword choices because it is broad and tries to hit on the most common search terms. Here the hope is to generate traffic that will eventually progress into something more.

  • Complementary


These are search terms that are related to your focus but slightly different. The goal here is to reach people looking for a similar product who may also find your content intriguing.

  • Substitute


Here you are targeting people who are looking for something different than your product. However, they may be convinced to change their mind if they come across your site.

  • Competitor


This method attempts to use the keyword terms of your competition to drive traffic to your site instead. It can increase your exposure, especially if the competitor is quite popular. However, it won’t necessarily be useful in getting you a good result ranking.

  • Product


Here you start to get very specific. Depending on the product, this category could produce a large list or be very exclusive. Either way, this is the time to target exactly what your company offers. If you get hits at this point there is a good chance of converting to business.

  • Brand


Finally, you have narrowed down to exactly where you want to be. You are using your own brand name and specific products as keywords. People who search using this kind of information are typically very close to their purchasing point.



As always, the exact choices to fit your marketing strategy need to be carefully chosen. You need to match your product, services, and content to the stage of intent of your target audience. This may mean several different styles of content and keywords in order to maximize your SEO results.

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