Search Intent: What Is It and Why Does It Matter in SEO?

Search Intent: What Is It and Why Does It Matter in SEO?

Posted on May 04, 2020 Mary Merritt

Search intent is an important factor to consider.

If you consider search intent in your keyword research process, you are constantly asking yourself: "What is the searcher REALLY looking for with this key phrase?" There have been many scenarios over the years where we have designated a phrase as "mixed intent" in our keyword research. Mixed search intent simply means that the searchers could have a lot of different intentions with regard to what they are looking for with that key phrase. An example will help illustrate this concept nicely!

Here's an example of mixed search intent.

A great example of a key phrase with mixed search intent would be the term "digital marketing." If you think about it, there are a few different reasons someone might enter this keyword into the search box. They could be looking for a digital marketing partner for their business. They could be researching digital marketing tactics for their own business. They could be a marketing employee at a business and they are looking for digital marketing blogs and courses. If you dive deep, you can dream up a lot of different intentions behind a Google search.

So how do you avoid attacking key phrases that have a lot of mixed intent?

As Neil Patel has told us in the past, the inventory (content) on the web now heavily outweighs the search volume for many research categories. Because of this, we think that adopting a longer key phrase (or "longtail") strategy is a smart decision.

Let's take our previous example (digital marketing). If someone types in "digital marketing services," we have a much better understanding of what they are looking for. Yes, the search phrase is longer, but that's usually the case. The longer the phrase that we are targeting, the lower the search volume. However, as the search volume dips, the relevance and the search intent becomes much more clear. It's a classic indirect relationship that is important to acknowledge. Just for you NERDS out there, the word "services" would be considered a "keyword modifier." This simply means that by adding the word "services" to the initial key phrase, we have greatly modified our targeting.

How do I use this information?

We just love mind puzzles, and that's what keyword research can be (especially when you throw a strong search intent filter into the mix). The cool thing about search intent is that it is easy to implement into your keyword research process. For example you can:

  • Create another column in your keyword research spreadsheet for intent and put your notes there for others to see your thoughts and deliberations.
  • Color code your keywords with green, yellow, and red to denote good, medium, and bad search intent (to help visualize which keywords you believe should be targeted).
  • Create a "search intent score" that you can use in a simple calculation for keywords with strong intent AND decent search volume (mix in competition scores and you can get yourself a good list of keywords and phrases to target).

This is all super nerdy stuff.

If you ever have any questions, you know where to find us! If you are curious about our SEO services at NerdyMind, don't hesitate to reach out. Good luck!