Do you understand why your customers perform specific search queries?
Can you look at certain keywords they use, and recognize what it is they want to learn or do?
Is your content geared toward these individual needs, or user intent?
If you’re scratching your head right about now, don’t worry.
This blog will help you answer these questions. It covers everything you need to know about what intent research is, why you should be doing intent research for SEO, and what you can expect as a result.
Let’s jump in.
What is intent research?
Intent research, in terms of SEO, is the discovery and identification of the intent behind a user’s search query. Businesses can use intent research to inform their keyword choices and map it to their content, ultimately connecting users with the most relevant information for their query and their stage in the buyer’s journey.
For example, a user who types in “project management software” has a different intent than a user who types “best project management software” or “buy project management software.”
What are those differences?
- “Project management software” is a broad keyword. The user is looking to learn more about this type of software to see what is available. They are at the beginning of their search – the beginning of their path to conversion – because they are in the learning phase of the buyer journey.
- “Best project management software” is a bit more specific. This search query indicates the user wants to find reviews or compare different software; they are doing further research to narrow down their choices. And, they are getting closer to conversion.
- “Buy project management software” indicates the user is ready to make a purchase. At this point, they have done their research and have made a decision. They are about to convert.
Do you see how someone using each of these keywords has a different intent in mind? You can recognize what it is they want to learn or do by their choice in search queries.
This is how you can start your intent research, by starting with your core keywords and building on to it with modifiers like “best” or “buy.”
How is intent research different from keyword research?
You’ve probably been hearing about keyword research for a long time, especially if you have dabbled at all in SEO.
It’s not that keyword research is on the way out, but intent research is becoming increasing important as search engines better understand intent, language, and the buyer journey (what Google calls search journeys.)
Instead of researching what keywords people are searching for, and using the ones that have search volume and relevance (as we have traditionally done in keyword research), intent research goes a step further to reveal why users do those searches and helps you think about whether those searches are actually relevant to what is on your page content: Is it answering their question, giving them appropriate information, and moving them along toward conversion?
Why is intent-based keyword research good for SEO?
Intent research is good for SEO because it identifies what types of searches your customers are doing when they are in different stages of the buyer journey. By doing this type of research, we can create content that specifically addresses that phase of the buyer journey, making sure we are keeping customers engaged at every step.
Are you struggling to come up with the intent behind your customers’ search queries?
Let us help. We work intimately with search marketing, and we can help you identify the best keyword choices based on user intent.