What is Keyword Intent?
Keyword intent represents the user’s purpose for the search.
It’s what the user is likely to do when searching for a
particular phrase. Or, to be more precise, it’s what we think the
user is likely to do since we cannot always be sure.
Keyword intent is undoubtedly the most important
concept when it comes to keyword research. It helps you meet the
users’ needs better and match your content and landing pages to
their intentions. Analyzing keywords by intent is thus your first
step when diagnosing conversion issues when it comes to search
Analyzing keywords by intent should be your first step when
diagnosing conversion issues.
Click To Tweet
The 4 Types of Keyword Intent
There are four types of keyword intent:
- Commercial “high intent” intent
- Informational intent
- Transactional intent
- Navigational intent
Let’s quickly see what each of these means.
1. Commercial, or High, Intent
This type can also be referred to as “buy now” intent. It
signifies a strong intention on the part of the searcher to act (to
buy, join, subscribe, etc.). Usually, these will be keyword phrases
containing the following modifiers:
- Buy (online)
- Coupon (code)
- Free shipping, etc.
People are most likely to commit to purchase as a result of
these types of searches.
2. Informational Intent
Informational intent, on the other hand, means that the searcher
is willing to find out more about the concept. It’s probably not
a good idea to try selling anything to them outright, but these
could be good for developing
“gated” content and collecting emails. Queries with purely
informational intent could contain the following modifiers:
- How to . . .
- Why . . .
- Best way to . . .
- History of . . .
- Anatomy of . . .
- What . . . means
3. Transactional Intent
Transactional intent lies somewhere in the middle of commercial
and informational intent. Simply put, these queries can represent
both the purpose to buy and to read more about the concept. With
the right content and setup, these searchers may buy things or be
convinced to buy somewhere further into the conversion funnel.
These queries can contain words like:
- . . . Reviews
- . . . vs . . .
- Best . . .
- Top 10 . . .
4. Navigational Intent
Keywords that contain brand names signal navigational intent,
meaning a searcher knows exactly where they’re headed. Brand
name searches are your assets. If a person types in your brand name
when searching, they already know exactly what they want; you just
need to give that to them.
What you need to do here is to make sure:
- Those searchers will land on your site, so your assets rank in
top three for those queries.
- Your website will satisfy their need in the best possible way:
The landing page will offer them all the answers and/or let them
perform the intended action
Pay close attention to search queries that contain your brand
name, and monitor your site rankings for all of them.
How to Identify Keyword Intent
In most cases, you’ll be able to use your common sense when
determining the search query intent. In many cases, it’s pretty
obvious whether a user intends to buy, research, or navigate to a
Google has been working on identifying user search intent in the
best possible way for at least a decade now, so you’ll be able to
pick up some cues by simply searching Google. Namely, Google’s
so-called “Universal” search is the search giant’s attempt to
meet the searcher’s needs and give them what they need right
within the search results. In most cases, these types of
search results will signal the user’s intent (as Google perceives
- “Quick-answer” search boxes (those giving you a short
answer on top of search results) signal information intent.
- “People Also Ask” boxes also signal informational
- Google’s shopping results signal “high-intent” search
- Google’s local results and knowledge graph tend to signal
- So does the “Search in Search” feature.
You can use Serpstat to see
which types of “universal” search results from any given query
You can also use Serpstat filters to restrict your search
to queries triggering a particular search type (and hence a
This is a very useful trick when you are working on a specific
marketing strategy. For example, when creating an editorial
calendar, you can use Serpstat to research keywords triggering
“People also ask” results, revealing obvious informational
How to Organize Keywords for Better Conversions
Being an integral part of keyword research, intent helps you
create a more organized content strategy aiming at happier
customers and better conversions. The first step is to
organize keyword phrases by intent:
- Keywords with informational intent are straightforward content
ideas to send to your content development team.
- Keywords with transactional intent, which could include content
ideas (product lists, product comparison, product FAQ, product
manuals, etc.) that smoothly walk the reader down the conversion
- Keywords with commercial intent: If you have a product to
match, refer to your SEO team to figure out how to better optimize
product pages for them to rank for these queries. Alternatively,
these can be product bundles (product lists) or other types of
“buy now” landing pages that could match the exact high intent
- Keywords with navigational intent may be further organized by
intent: Some of these queries will have “buy now” intent, while
others may signal transactional intent (e.g. potential customers
researching your product reviews). Some of these should be sent to
your reputation management team, while some of these will help your
sales or customer teams to better meet your clients’
expectations. Most of these queries will be useful for more than
Next, organize your keyword lists further by a required
- Some keywords may be good ideas for new content or new landing
- Some keywords may be used to optimize or update old pages.
Finally, organize those keywords by landing page
type. Informational and transactional queries may call for
different types of content and landing page to better satisfy the
users’ needs. For example, you can decide to create:
- Blog posts (lists of products for an upcoming holiday, gift
- FAQ pages (especially if these are navigational queries)
- On-site glossaries (if you are in an industry full of
- Various types of
cornerstone content (also referred to as “content
You can use Excel or Google Spreadsheets to organize your
keywords using multiple labels. You can go through your keyword
lists and organize them by intent, required action, and the type of
the landing page you plan to create.
View and copy this template
Working with keywords takes time, but it defines your
future marketing strategy on many levels, so don’t rush things
up! Targeting user intent when planning and optimizing your content
makes your whole digital strategy much better organized and more
conversion-oriented. With the above analysis, suddenly each of your
web pages has a purpose.