XOVI Experts

Keyword Research – Extracting User Intent from Search Queries

Kevin Jackowski | October 24, 2018

Include the user intent in your keyword research

If you want to be successful on the Internet today, you need to recognize the needs of your different target groups and satisfy them in the best possible way. For this important process, many different tools and possibilities are available to webmasters in Online Marketing (such as the XOVI Keyword Tool). However, an essential, downstream process of content creation can only be perfected with the help of emotions, empathy, experience and know-how: We are talking about the “intention-oriented keyword analysis”. In this article, I will show that relevant search queries must not only be clustered and analyzed, but that they must also be treated differently in the content creation process. This strategy enables you to ensure that the corresponding content can also be perfected according to one’s own ideas in the search engines and in user behaviour.

The Special Process of Creating Content

High-quality landing pages, helpful content and, for example, conversion-promoting texts are no longer foreign words for many webmasters with an affinity for online marketing. Nevertheless, they often lack the important experience when it comes to researching and creating these elementary contents. Those experiences play in some Online Marketing disciplines a supporting role. Therefore, webmasters, online shop operators and also niche site operators need to be aware of the different keyword intentions. Only those who correctly interpret the intentions within the queries are in a position to create content that is truly relevant to the target group and thus promotes the goal.

Before you think about the type of content that fascinates, binds and converts your target groups, you want to carry out a detailed and extensive keyword research. After all, you should usually first determine the demand or the concrete needs in order to then satisfy those needs with your content. As a rule, “at the end” of a keyword research, webmasters or SEOs compile an extensive list including search queries (keywords), the corresponding search volumes in the respective country / city of their choice and an assessment of the possible competition and assumed Cost Per Click price. This process is particularly essential for planned online projects, as keyword research not only helps to better assess “prospects of success”, but also to plan and strategically implement the website architecture (SEO and usability).

Since a simple list of search queries is usually not target-oriented, webmasters often cluster the queries according to topics, context and possibly also according to possible synonyms in order to subsequently create the content, e.g. for landing page texts, blog articles or also for their home page texts. But the keyword research should not be finished now under any circumstances, finally it becomes only now really exciting:

Intention-oriented keyword research

Even if the process of keyword research has been implemented correctly up to this point, “errors” usually occur during content creation, which in turn can have a negative impact on success in search engines and on the purchasing behavior of target groups. Even if relevant SEO onpage factors are taken into account during content creation, e.g.

  • Relevant keyword in the title
  • Subheadings containing keywords
  • Relevant keyword in the description
  • Keyword-containing anchor texts (internal linking)
  • Keyword in the URL (speaking URLs)
  • Keywords, synonyms and even WDF*IDF terms in the text

it is possible that the content may not perform as desired despite comprehensive SEO measures. What could be the reason for this?

Keywords and their intentions

Experienced webmasters and Online Marketing experts know that a keyword, especially a longtail keyword, reflects more than just a user’s search query. A keyword usually reveals more information about the searcher’s possible intentions, which must be taken into account when creating the content. In the course of time, the following “keyword types” have established themselves:

  • Informationa search query
  • Navigational search query
  • Transactional search query
  • Commercial search query
  • Company related search query (Brand)

Short explanation: Informational search query

An informational search query is a query that reflects a concrete need, for example, in the form of a problem. The users who make an informational search query are, for example, looking for helpful solutions in the form of advisor texts or looking for answers to a question.

Short explanation: Navigational search query

A navigational search query is clearly more precise in terms of content, as it usually already implies a concrete Internet presence. For example, concrete company names are searched for in conjunction with, for example, a headline that has remained in the user’s memory. In this case, the search engine is used find a specific subpage.

Short explanation: Transactional keywords

With transactional search queries, the user already plans to carry out a concrete action. This can be a subscription to a newsletter, or a download of instructions from a furniture manufacturer (e.g. to set up a cabinet). These keywords usually imply a subsequent action.

Short explanation: Commercial search query

As the name already suggests, a commercial search query is the query of a user that has a concrete commercial reference. Longtail keywords that contain words such as “buy”, “order”, “pre-order”, for example, already provide important information about the user’s intention.

Short explanation: Brand-oriented search query

These search queries should always be handled separately. After all, brand-oriented search queries offer considerable potential. For example, users who are looking for a specific product in connection with your brand are already very advanced in the Customer Journey, which means that these search queries can be optimally used to increase your conversion rates.

Extracting intentions from search queries

Webmasters or SEOs who have conducted a comprehensive keyword research should take the time and cluster the various intentions within the search queries. This process is particularly important if the planned content is aimed at generating organic search engine traffic. Since the search engines identify and rank the most relevant documents for the user and want to satisfy the needs of the user in the same process, it is essential that the search engine factors are also included.

Tip: In order to get a better feeling for the intentions search engines interpret in relation to a concrete search query, webmasters should carry out a search with the corresponding keyword and then check the top positions (page one of the search engine results). Nowadays, search engines are very good at extracting intentions from search queries in order to generate even better search results.

A few examples:

Search query: blender
Possible intent: The user is looking for a shop to purchase a blender (for individual product queries, shops and price comparisons are often displayed on the first page of the search results). It could therefore be a commercial search query.

Search query: Cleaning bleander
Possible intent: With this search query the user presumably looks for an instruction or tutorial about how to clean a blender. It is highly likely that this is an informational search query.

Search query: (Brand) Cleaning blender
Possible intent: In this case it could be a navigational search query. Perhaps the user has already found instructions on the manufacturer’s website in the past and would now like to return to this article.

Search query: Standmixer (product name) Instructions
Possible intent: In this case it could be a transaction-oriented search query, as the user is looking for a guide which he would probably like to download directly from the manufacturer.

Search query: Buy blender
Possible intent: This query will be a commercial search query. Search engines also usually recognize this type of query and therefore tend to offer users online shops in the top search results.

Search query: blender (brand)
Possible intent: In this case the user probably wants to buy a blender from a certain manufacturer. This could be a commercial query as well as a brand query.

Conclusion: Keyword intentions can make the difference

Webmasters and SEOs should always check the user intent before creating the content and, above all, which intentions the search engines derive from the corresponding search queries. For example, blog articles and guidebooks are more suitable for informational search queries, whereas online shop operators should prefer to treat brand queries and commercial search queries as well. Only those who can correctly extract the intentions from search queries will be able to profit in the long run from both organic SEO traffic and satisfied user needs.