Search Engine Optimization

Smash your keywords with customer intent

Keywords, customer intent? Oh, Jesus, no! This screams ‘technical’ and ‘really fucking hard’. Not so, at least, not the way I’m going to show you. You understand keywords – those tasty terms that get you found on the interwebs. You’ve probably made some piss-poor attempt to ‘research’ your industry keywords in the vain hope you’ll … Continued

Keywords, customer intent? Oh, Jesus, no!

This screams ‘technical’ and ‘really fucking hard’. Not so, at least, not the way I’m going to show you.

You understand keywords – those tasty terms that get you found on the interwebs. You’ve probably made some piss-poor attempt to ‘research’ your industry keywords in the vain hope you’ll be found.

Bless you.

But what is customer intent?

Be prepared to read the word ‘intent’ for some time yet. And I’m actively against keyword cramming. I’m such an arse. Also, when I hear the word ‘intent’ I always think, ‘intent to harm’ or something similar. My mind always ends up thinking of violence.

Intent (how many times is that already?) is something we all have when we’re typing terms into Google. As users, we’re falling into one of these three categories:

  • 1. Navigational: looking for a specific website
  • 2. Informational: looking for knowledge on a subject
  • 3. Transactional: Looking to buy a product or service

That’s all well and good but what has it got to do with keywords? Well, if you just hold your bloody horses, I’ll tell you!

You’re not a mind reader (unless you are, if so, this probably won’t be of any benefit to you) so how are you going to know the intent of your potentials? But before we get to that, I’m going to take you on a journey…

The customer journey

These segues are so smooth, right? They glide in like Torvill and Dean.

Hold up. Don’t roll your eyes at me. I know there are decidedly too many marketing jargony phrases in this post but what the hell am I suppose to do? Invent some new ones? That will do absolutely no bloody good for my SEO.

When a customer comes to buy something from you, they’re guided through your process. They’re taking a little trip from start to finish through your business journey. But all that comes AFTER they make the decision to contact you.

Before they ‘reach out’, ‘touch base’, ‘check in’, they’re moving through another customer journey (how exhausting):

  • Awareness: finding the right brands
  • Consideration: tentatively looking at the choices
  • Active evaluation: choosing the one they want
  • Purchase decision: acting on their final choice

And once they make their choice (depending on how well you did) they’ll go on to these stages:

  • Experience: they’ll be spreading the good word
  • Loyalty: they’ll come back for more

On a side note: you should probably map out your customer journey. It’s brimming with insight into how well you’re servicing your clients

That sounds sexual. You might be sexually servicing your customers, and that’s between you, your client, and the good lord.

Where do keywords come in?

Well, you’ll find better keywords once you understand different search queries.

Say, what?

Google a keyword you already target and take a look at the results. For example, when I google ‘content writer‘ most pages are explaining how to be a content writer. That keyword yields mostly informational results. So the user intent is to seek knowledge on that subject.

Mind blown.

Well, my mind was blown. I was so excited by this but then I am very easily pleased.

Your job is to figure out the user intent of your keywords. That’s gonna take some time but yeah, that’s SEO, bitches.

Your keyword choices feed into the customer journey. Each stage will influence what terms and phrases you want to target:

  • Consideration: broad keywords
  • Active evaluation: specific keywords
  • Purchase decision: very specific phrases

Is your content matching the query type?

The great thing about the internet is that you have prospects already wanting your product or service. You need to figure out how to get all up in their grill, so to speak. If you’re struggling to convert visitors to your site, it could be that your content isn’t geared towards the people actively wanting to buy.

Get back to basics.

Think about why you’re doing all this keyword research. How does it marry with who you are as a business, and what words and phrases (long-tail keywords) are directly linked to your offering?

If your broad keyword yields mostly informational search results, provide a great, value-packed blog on the subject. Tailor the content to helping the user out. Take a look at my post on how to write an SEO friendly blog people want to read for more info.

My blog is dedicated to helping business owners with SEO content writing tips. It showcases my knowledge and that makes people think:

“She seems to know a bit about this SEO content writing lark. That makes me trust her, so much so, I want to hire her to write my content.”

However, if you want more direct conversions, you’ll need to find the long-tail keywords that fall into transactional intent. Remember, very specific phrases attract people who are ready to buy. You want to team up your keywords with words like, ‘hire’, ‘book’, ’employ’, ‘buy’, ‘discount’, ‘money off’, ‘free shipping’ and many more besides.

(But don’t just throw those about, they have to be relevant. Don’t pop in ‘free shipping’ if that isn’t what you offer!)

Revise your content and meta tags

After you’ve done all that hard graft on keywords, use them to create targeted content. But you know what I’m a-gonna say, don’t pack them in like Showaddywaddy do their genitals into gaudy coloured trousers:

Image courtesy of Top of the Pops

Make the right choice when it comes to your meta tags and descriptions. Again, what do you want the user to do when they happen upon your page snippets in the search results? If it’s a static website page, you’ll probably be selling something (transactional intent). If it’s a blog post page, you’re probably helping (informational intent). But figure it out, yeah!


If you yearn for data-driven knowledge, if you want to get into the meat and spuds of your buying intent, go and ‘deep dive’ into your sites Google Analytics, and use tools like SEMRUSH to help. For more detail on how to do that, check out this brilliant post by Neil Patel.

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