How To Find Keywords With The Right Buyer Intent

how to find keywords with the right intentThe title of the subheading is kind of deceptive because it is loaded with two assumptions. First, you need to find keywords and second, you need to find the right keywords. This assumes that there are such things as the right keywords.

Unfortunately, this part of the keyword research analysis is just completely ignored by most people looking to build more search engine traffic to their websites. Not surprisingly, they end up failing with SEO.

See also: How To Find Keywords Without Google Keyword Planner

You can fail with SEO in one of two ways

First, the most common way to fail is that you do not get any traffic at all.

You pick keywords that are just so competitive that your bigger and more established competitors simply eat your lunch, as far as search engine traffic is concerned.

Many people fall into this trap because they think that the only keywords that are related to their niche are necessarily the same keywords that everybody and his dog are targeting. Not surprisingly, they end up fighting a losing game.

  • You have to remember that regardless of whatever your niche you are targeting, there are already people there.
  • There are already people who have a lot more money, a lot more experience and simply know how the game is played.

This is a very hostile territory and you are essentially just digging your own grave if you try to gun for the same keywords that they are targeting.

The second way that people fail with keyword selection is actually a tricky situation.

On its face, they are actually succeeding. Why? They pick keywords that actually draw quite a bit of traffic. The problem is these keywords are not really related to their niche, or they are related but they do not convert. The bottom line is you get all this traffic, but you do not make any money.

Neither of these situations is good.

Unfortunately, people do not intentionally and purposely look for the right keywords from the very beginning of their SEO campaign.

  • They are simply setting themselves up to fail.
  • It is really crucial to wrap your mind around the concept of finding the right keywords.
  • This begs the question, what are the right keywords?

Keep in mind the following considerations…

Keyword Intent Determines the Right Keyword for You

keyword intentWhen was the last time you did a search on Google? Nine times out of ten, when you did the search you probably were operating on autopilot. You think that you know what you are looking for and you just type in a keyword, and all of a sudden a result pops up. Usually you are happy with the result and you go on your merry way.

However, if you slow down that process, you would realize that you actually had a certain intent when you put in a certain keyword. Otherwise, you would not have picked that key phrase or keyword.  You would have chosen other options.

It is very important to pay attention to the intent people have when they enter certain keywords because some keywords refer to one type of intent and other keywords within the same niche refer to other intent.

What kind of intents are we talking about?

It all boils down to objectives. As I mentioned earlier, when you last used Google, you had a certain intent. Maybe you are looking to learn more about a particular subject, or you are looking for reviews regarding a particular product.

These two situations are actually very different from each other as far as intent is concerned.

In the first situation, you are simply looking for information. In the other example, you already have a solution in mind, but you need to get more information so you can be convinced whether that solution is the appropriate solution for you.

These are two distinct intents that you have to be clear of and, unfortunately, a lot of people who try search engine optimization are completely clueless regarding the intent behind keywords. Not surprisingly, they end up optimizing for keywords that have the wrong intent.

Common examples of this is that their website actually caters to people who are already looking for a specific situation.

  • Put simply, this website exists primarily to convert people who already know of a particular solution.

This is going to be a hard website to sell if the keywords the website owner picked are for people looking for general solutions. In other words, they are not looking for the specific solution that the website is focused on, but are looking at a broader set of solutions.

Do you see how this all works out? Intent is crucial.

It can make or break your online business.

The bottom line in selling anything online is:

  • you need to get the right product in front of the right person at the right time,
  • and the right action has to take place.

This might seem like a tall order and it is, but the good news is armed with the right keywords, this actually takes place pretty much automatically.  It all boils down to keyword intent.

Intent Disparity Equals Low Conversions

The further away the intent of the keyword set that you are targeting is from the actual conversion intent that you need, the harder it is for you to convert your search engine traffic.

That is the bottom line.

  • Sadly, most marketers are very oblivious to this.
  • They often overlook it.
  • They neglect how this works together.

keyword intent disparity equals low conversionNot surprisingly, they often put themselves in a situation where they are putting a square peg into a round hole.

Sure, you might get some conversions that way from time to time, but that is no way to run your online business. If you want to succeed on a more predictable basis, you need to be more systematic and methodical.

  • You need to pay attention to the different intents out there.
  • You also need to pay attention to the intent timeline.

Once you have a clear command of these two concepts, you would then be able to filter your keyword options more effectively.

Again, keywords are the building blocks of your business.

Target the wrong keywords and you are, at best, going to be settling for cents on the dollar, or at worst you are not going to be making money at all. That is the harsh reality that picking the wrong keywords brings to the table.  The workaround to this is to nail the concept of keyword intent and its timeline.

Four Major Categories of Consumer Intent

On the internet and in a large measure in the offline world, there are four consumer intents.

For our present purposes, these general groupings provide enough guidance so you can take action on them. This is actually more complicated, but just to simplify things there are four categories that you need to be mindful of.

The Know Intent

Consumers with this intent are simply people looking for general information.

For example:

If somebody found out that they have cancer of a certain type, their first inclination would be to go on to Google and dig up any kind of article and any kind of blog that deal with that particular type of cancer.

  • Their intent is to simply wrap their minds around the concept.
  • They are not looking for a specific solution.
  • They are not looking to weigh different solutions against each other.
  • They are not thinking about any of that.
  • They just want to immerse themselves in the body of knowledge regarding their condition.

I hope it is clear to you now how expansive and broad this intent is.

I am sorry to break this to you, but this type of intent is very hard to convert.


People with this very broad intent are not necessarily looking for specific products. In fact, at this stage there might be so many different solutions and so many different directions that you are just wasting your time trying to shepherd them into one specific direction. They have not filtered themselves enough.

Not surprisingly, keywords with this type of intent tend to be very cheap on pay per click platforms.

The Like Intent

Once a person has had a basic enough understanding of a particular category, they would then segment their options or they would go in a certain direction as far as what they do with that information.

In this stage, they are looking for a specific set of solutions.

The like stage is easier to work with because at least, at this level, there are several groupings of options that are possible and you only need to pit them against each other. You need to basically get some sort of comparative advantage.

In the mind of the consumer, the question is which course of action makes most sense in my particular situation?

  • Which costs less money?
  • Which is more effective?
  • Which is more efficient?

Those are the kinds of questions people usually ask in the like stage. Put simply, they are looking for a specific category of solutions that they would like.

The Trust Intent

Once a person makes it through the like stage, they would basically have zeroed in on a particular way of meeting a need. They have arrived at a particular set of solutions. If you are trying to sell a product or service within that set, then you might think you have an easier time.

Well, not so fast.

You still have to remember that your product is just one option and there are still some other options in the set.

You still have to differentiate yourself.

You still have to get the consumer to choose your solution instead of the others.

  • The like stage goes a long way in filtering all competing options, but it does not go far enough.
  • The consumer might decide that the particular category of solutions that your product or service falls under is the way to go.
  • That does not do you any favors because you still have to get the consumer to pick your specific product or service.

Do you get it?

This is where the trust stage is crucial. You basically have to give the prospect enough information that they would filter out competing solutions and go with yours. This is very tricky because, at this stage, the alternatives might actually be stronger candidates. Maybe they have a lot more things going for them.

However, the consumer would be more willing to override such factual advantages and prefer yours if you get them to trust you. This is where credibility building and authority building comes in.

  • In the know stage, you are giving the consumer information.
  • In the like stage, you are helping the consumer make comparisons.
  • In the trust stage, you are focusing on credibility and trust.

In other words, you are collecting on all the goodwill that you have established prior to this stage.

Trust keywords are very tricky because:

  • they can be very expensive
  • there are certain types of keywords that are often overlooked and ignored by the competition

You can snap them up for dirt cheap at Google AdWords.

In terms of organic SEO, they are the sweet spot because you have a higher chance of ranking them because you have less competition. Ideally, you should focus on trust keywords. Why? They are less competitive and they require less effort than buy intent.

The final stage in the consumer buying cycle is the buy stage

This is the stage where they actually have already decided on a product and they are ready to buy.

  • They simply just go on a search engine like Google or Bing to find the right vendor.
  • They have already made up their minds that they are going to buy that product.

It is not a surprise then that a lot of search engine specialists and marketers target these types of keywords because it is the lazy man’s keyword.  Seriously.  It is like the low-hanging fruit. It is about to fall and all you need to do is just put your hand underneath the fruit to catch the fruit.

Since there is less effort in converting that person, you can well imagine how expensive these keywords are in the PPC marketplace.

  • Similarly, they are also very competitive in organic search.
  • Your competitors are sure to be targeting these keywords.

In fact, there might be so much competition for these keywords that it really is not worth your time as far as return on effort and return on investment are concerned.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is you need to pay attention which category of keywords you are going to be targeting. As appealing as know keywords may be, they are so diffuse and they often lack definition that you probably will not get much use out of them.

  • You probably will not benefit tremendously from cornering these keywords.
  • Your best bet will be to focus on the like and trust stage keywords.

If you play your cards right, you will be able to identify keywords that would enable you to push the consumer from the like stage, to the trust stage, all the way to the buy stage. I do not recommend targeting keywords at the buy stage.

Why? There is simply too much competition.

Unless you are in a newly emerging niche that does not have much competition, I would stay away from targeting buy intent keywords.

  • It is crucial to understand how all these keywords relate to each other.
  • They all map out the typical online buying experience.

The experience can be broken down like this

  • If somebody wants to buy anything from you, they must first trust you.
  • However, to trust you, they must first like you.
  • To make matters worse, for them to like you, they must first feel that they know you.

All these stages are interrelated and depending on the keywords you target, you might end up wasting a lot of time, effort and money, or you might be hitting your consumers precisely at the right time and converting them further down the buying process.


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