Search Intent: The Secret to an Effective Keyword Research

Keyword Research is easily one of the trickiest elements of SEO.

Why Tricky?

Simply because it can make or break any purpose it may serve in any SEO campaign and effort.

And search intent is the Key to that trickiness.

What is a Search Intent?

Search intent is how a user’s search query demonstrates what the user is looking for. Keywords are used to determine the search intent, and they should be chosen based on that intent.

Search intent cannot be determined by just using keyword research tools like SEMrush and Ahref. These tools will only show you which keywords have high search volumes and low competition, as well as keywords with high search volumes but higher competition.

The common misconception of search intent is that most keyword researchers would use certain keywords based on their relevancy from the focus keyword.

Say, I conduct keyword research for my focus keyword: “HVAC sales“, when you use a keyword research tool, one will be tempted to directly use the related keywords suggested by these tools. The related keywords could be: hvac sales jobs, hvac sales training, hvac salesman, and the list goes on and on.

However, you forgot that these keywords are being searched in SERP by different people with different intentions.

How it differs from each other if a student of Sales and Marketing wanted to research something about HVAC?
Or somebody who wants to learn about average sales on HVAC replacement parts in his area?

Where you actually wanted to conduct keyword research on the HVAC companies looking for an agency that generates leads on HVAC.

You see, you might bump into the same or similar keywords having different search intents.

Search intent is easily an underrated element in SEO as well.

4 types of search intent

According to Yoast SEO there are 4 types of search intent.

1. Informational Search Intent

Informational searches are typically used by people who want to know about something and not buy anything. They are looking for facts or detailed information on a subject matter.

2. Navigational Search Intent

Navigational searches are used by people who want to take action and visit a website or location. They may be looking for the address of a store or restaurant they want to visit, or they may be looking up directions on how to get there from their current location. Navigational searches contain keywords such as ‘address of Target’ or ‘directions to Target’

3. Transactional Search Intent

Transactional searches are typically used by people who want to buy something online or offline from a company like Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc., but can also include booking airfare or hotels online with Expedia, booking concert tickets with Ticketmaster, etc., searching for deals on Groupon and searching for coupons and discounts on brands. Transactional searches can be either navigational or information searches. Conversion Searches are typically navigational, but not all information searches are conversions

4. Commercial Investigation

People often have the intention to purchase a product in the near future, but they need some more time to do their research. In cases like this, they may have transactional intent if faced with unsupported sites or software, but because of their wait-and-see attitude are not yet ready to take the next step. These intents are also called commercial investigating intent.

The questions for measuring consumer intent were built on the assumption that consumers’ intentions can be split into three categories:

a) Intention to purchase a product in the near future,

b) No intent to purchase and

c) Intention to purchase a product in the distant future.


Search intent is a keyword phrase that is usually used when someone is looking for something on the internet. It is an important factor in SEO and SEM.

Search intent plays a significant role in marketing campaigns as it can be used to understand the needs, interests, and intentions of your audience.

A keyword phrase can be defined as a word or group of words that represent what your target audience might be searching for when they are looking for something on the internet.

So next time you conduct Keyword Research, think first of the search intentions of the actual people who search on Google and other search engines.

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