Published by Simon Brooks on 17th February 2014 | SEO

The Importance Of Outlining Searcher Intent During Keyword Research

Any SEO campaign should always start with in-depth and thorough keyword research in order to outline the most suitable search terms for a marketing campaign to focus upon. It is absolutely vital, however, that searcher intent is kept at the forefront of all keyword research, however, to ensure that the terms being targeted are going to convert and that a campaign isn’t solely being run on ‘research’ terms. In order to assess in a little more depth what ‘searcher intent’ means, this can be summarised as:

Searcher intent refers to the reason behind someone searching in the way in which they do. Searcher intent could be for research purposes, for decision making purposes or for purchase (or enquiry) purposes. Research search terms are unlikely to have a high conversion rate but are likely to drive high volumes of traffic. Purchase intent search terms, on the other hand, are likely to drive lower traffic volumes but have a much higher conversion rate. Decision making terms will usually sit somewhere in bewteen.

With this in mind, keyword research must go beyond simply looking at the estimated monthly search volumes as provided by Google and look to identify the searcher intent of particular keyphrases. To offer a deeper understanding into the different types of search term, below is a more in-depth look at the three main areas:

  • Research KeywordsThis category of search terms are typically used by those in the very early stages of making a purchase. As an example, someone searching for ‘digital cameras’ is potentially looking to buy, however have no idea what they want to buy. They know they want to buy a new digital camera but they have no idea in terms of what brand or model they want. As such, they’re not at the stage to buy just yet and are simply researching at this stage. Visits to a website from this search are unlikely to convert as the searcher is simply researching.
  • Decision Making KeywordsThe searcher now has a better idea as to what they want following their research keyword search but are likely to only know a particular brand at this stage. Keeping with the ‘digital cameras’ example, the searcher is likely to be searching along the lines of  ‘Canon Digital Camera’ or ‘Canon DSLR’ but do not know what model they want. These types of terms may convert however are often still research based to allow the searcher to know what they want and rough prices.
  • Purchase KeywordsAt the stage where a searcher is ready to purchase, the type of keywords which they search using is generally going to be a lot more specific and closely related to the end product. Examples using the ‘digital camera’ keyphrases could be the likes of ‘Canon EOS 60D’ or ‘Cheap Canon EOS 60D’. In short, those key phrases which are far more specific than the research and decision making search terms and those which indicate a specific product knowledge and intent to buy.

When it comes to carrying out keyword research for an SEO campaign, understanding the intent of particular keywords is absolutely vital to ensure that traffic is going to convert (so long as things such as pricing is right) and that an campaign isn’t simply aiding the research of searchers.

About the Author: Simon Brooks

Simon has over 30 years’ experience in all aspects of strategic and digital marketing. He is a director and joint founder of C4B Media and has led numerous successful marketing projects for clients across diverse industries.

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