If you want to drive website traffic, you need to know what your target audience is searching for online.
That is the main purpose of keyword research.
But it’s not just traffic you need. If you have a business, you need to generate leads and drive sales.
You need to optimize your website for high-intent keywords.
High-intent keywords indicate that your audience is ready to buy, and targeting them should be part of your marketing strategy if you want to drive leads and sales with high positions in Google.
What are high-intent keywords?
High-intent keywords are terms that people search for online when they are close to purchasing a product or service.
These keywords, also called buying intent keywords, could include words like “buy,” “best,” and “discount;” indicating that someone is actively searching for something specific to purchase.
They could be wanting to compare products or looking for the highest discounts on a brand.
For example, someone searching for ‘buy shoes online’ is more likely to convert than someone searching for ‘types of shoes’. In other words, there is a high purchase intent behind high-intent keywords.
Identifying and using high-intent keywords can help you reach potential customers that lead to increased sales transactions.
High-intent keywords could also indicate a specific brand, product, or even an exact model number. For example, “best hand-held blenders and “Whirlpool 12-cup blender” are both high-intent keywords.
In this post, I will cover:
- Different types of search intent
- High-intent vs low-intent keywords
- The role of high-intent keywords in SEO
- How to find high-intent keywords
What is search intent?
Search intent refers to the user’s purpose for a certain search term when seeking information online.
So it is not enough to just know what words and phrases people are typing into Google when looking for specific content, you need to know why.
Once you understand this intent, you can use it to help drive traffic to your site.
The different types of search intent
Here are the four main types of search intent:
- Navigational: People searching for a specific website or brand (e.g., Yahoo, Yelp, Target)
- Transactional: People searching to buy a specific product (e.g., “Opal Nugget Ice Maker”)
- Commercial: People searching because they are researching or wanting to purchase a service or product(e.g., best digital camera 2022, best plastic surgeon near me)
- Informational: People searching to learn about a topic (e.g., how to cook a steak)
The informational keywords are more applicable at the beginning of the sales funnel when your users simply want information.
These keywords are followed by the commercial intent keywords to guide the product/ service research by the users and their decision-making.
By analyzing search intent, you can tailor your content to answer the exact questions people ask, making your website more valuable to them.
Different types of high-intent keywords
High-intent keywords can be of 4 different types based on the search intent we saw earlier:
1. Brand or product
Brand or product keywords are usually navigational keywords or commercial ones for stores or discounts.
For example, someone might want to explore the features of the latest Samsung Galaxy S22.
So they enter this keyword to visit the brand/ product website.
Or, they could be searching for ‘Samsung Galaxy S22 discount’ or ‘buy Samsung Galaxy S22’ or ‘Samsung Galaxy S22 coupon code’.
While it does not mean that the next step of searching for this keyword is purchase, it definitely indicates that there is awareness and interest regarding this brand/ product.
2. Comparisons and reviews
Another type of high-intent keyword is reviews of a product or comparisons between a few similar ones.
Comparisons enable potential consumers to get a look at how two product offerings stack up against each other. Remember that the users are looking for objective and honest reviews which will help them take a decision about which product is best suited for them.
These could be relevant if you are an affiliate marketer because people want to read unbiased reviews.
You could also write comparisons of your product vs others in the market and mention honestly what you think are the pros and cons of each.
3. Specific geographical region
There could be times that someone is traveling, but they want to make arrangements before.
So they look up places beforehand, like ‘hotels Amsterdam’, or ‘laundry services New York’.
It could even be a specific location for necessities like ‘pharmacy Times Square Centre’.
Then Google finds businesses accordingly by location. The user may bookmark the places on their maps and visit them when they travel.
4. User location
The phrase ‘near me’ is a very common search associated with any brand or service, especially the latter.
For example, ‘pizza near me’, ‘spa near me’, ‘Nike shoes near me’ etc.
This works similar to the geographical-region keywords where Google searches for the best answer by location.
Google identifies the location of the user. It then answers their search of the high-intent keyword ‘X near me’ by prompting businesses in the exact location of the user.
High-intent vs. low-intent keywords
Low-intent keywords (informational keywords) are terms that people use to get information about a subject, solve a problem and even read/ watch tutorials.
High-intent keywords lead to purchases and thus drive business sales.
Low-intent keywords lead to users finding information on your website, which in turn helps you build authority and credibility.
So instead of a search like ‘best blender ‘ a low-intent keyword could be ‘what can you do with a blender’ or ‘how to use a blender’.
These types of keywords are useful for people who have not used a blender before and want to know it works. They are not ready to buy yet.
Pages that target low-intent keywords aim to only give general information and do not drive sales.
High-intent keywords can be further divided into very high intent and medium-high intent too.
For example, ‘buy Samsung Galaxy S22’ is very high intent, where the next step is a purchase.
‘Samsung Galaxy S22 review’ is medium-high intent where there is an intent of purchase, but the user is still in the consideration stage of the marketing funnel and hasn’t completely decided yet.
Here is a graphic that explains it well.
Image source: Inchoo
Examples of high-intent keywords
You can get an idea of high intent keywords simply by thinking what kind of searches you do when you are considering buying something.
Here are some examples of words that can simply be used with a product or service to make a high intent keyword.
- Compare prices
- Discount codes
- Free shipping
- Order now
- Price match
- Shipping options
- Fastest delivery
- Next day delivery
- Special Offer
- Exclusive Offer
- Where to buy
- Best price
- X (product/ service) near me
- Best X (product/ service) in Y (location)
Examples of low-intent keywords
Low-intent keywords focus on users’ wants and needs, rather than what they might have already decided that they want.
Some examples of low-intent keywords could include:
- How to X (do something)
- What is X (definition)
- Why does X (something happen)
- Guide to X (learning something)
Tools to find high-intent keywords
When it comes to finding high-intent keywords, you have many options to choose from.
1. Google search
A simple search on Google is a great place to start, as it allows you to gain insight into what people are actually searching for.
The People Also Ask and Related Searches sections also provide gold nuggets of insights into the search intent of keywords.
Looking for insights on trending high-intent keywords?
Google Trends is a fantastic tool that helps you determine factors such as rising or falling interests related to certain topics or keywords.
While it is great to find new keywords to target, another great way to optimize your content for conversions is to double down on the keywords you already rank for.
So you need to find the content that already ranks and update it to give it a boost.
If you have already had a website for some time, Google Search Console will show you the clicks and impressions of each search query.
Go to Performance -> Queries and check your impressions and clicks.
You can also compare your ranking keywords across countries and devices.
4. SEO tools
There is plenty of SEO software that are very effective in helping you find high-intent keywords quite easily.
While Semrush is the best keyword research tool because of its 22B+ database of keywords and best accuracy of search volumes, not to mention its filters, there are plenty of other affordable tools which are also good for keyword research.
Some of them are:
For more details, check out my post on the best SEO software for small businesses.
How to find high-intent keywords for your business
The best way to find high-intent keywords is to start with the topic of your brand, just like you would do in a keyword research process.
There are three kinds of research you can do to find high-intent keywords:
- Filter by intent in Semrush
- Topic research
- Competition Research
Let’s see these processes with an example.
Let’s say you are an accountant for small businesses.
1. Filter by intent in Semrush
Go to your SEO dashboard and go to the Keyword Magic Tool.
If you don’t have a Semrush account, you can get a 30-day free access to try it out (you will need a credit card).
Enter your topic and country, and search!
Now that you have an initial list of terms, just click on the ‘Intent’ filter and choose Navigational, Commercial, and Transactional.
You can also go to the ‘Exclude Keywords’ and exclude words like ‘software’ and ‘bank’ as you provide a service, not a software.
And just like that, you have a list of high-intent keywords you could target.
Remember to narrow down your keyword list to high-volume and low-difficulty keywords.
For example, just set the volume filter to Min 80, and Keyword Difficulty filter to Max 20 or 30.
You might also want to consider the trend of each keyword both in Semrush and on Google Trends to evaluate their current relevance.
2. Topic Research
You can also do your high-intent keyword research by simply researching the topic, like directly on Google.
So for example, I enter ‘small business accountant’.
The first results I get all seem to be low-intent keywords, as they explain how to do accounting.
But the Related Searches section shows more high-intent searches.
For example: ‘near me’, ‘cost’, ‘list of services’.
You can write down all these keywords and then run them through any SEO tool, to understand their difficulty level and demand.
If a keyword has too much competition and is too difficult to rank for, it is best not to target it.
Again, narrow down your keyword list with volume and difficulty filters.
Another way to do Topic Research is with the Semrush Topic Research tool. You will need the Semrush Guru subscription to access it.
You can get the full details on how to do topic research in my post on content marketing optimization.
Essentially, you can enter your topic in the tool, and you will get various sub-topics or ideas that you could target.
I entered ‘small business accountant’ as a topic in the Topic Research tool, and see lots of subtopics on accounting firms and accounting services.
You can take the ideas from Topic Research and do keyword research on them, to get low-competition high-intent keywords.
3. Competition Research
Analyzing your competitors is one way to find high-intent keywords.
It may be difficult to do this manually, but some online tools can help.
Just go to any SEO tool and analyze the domain. You will get a clear picture of which keywords the domain is ranking for and how competitive the keyword is.
I will do this on Semrush because it is the easiest to filter with the Semrush intent column.
From our Google search before, I found one company which seems to provide accounting services for small businesses.
Let’s say they are your competitor.
In the Semrush dashboard, go to SEO -> Organic Research, and enter the domain.
Now filter the intent to Navigational, Commercial, and Transactional.
You will see all the high-intent keywords your competitor ranks for, in which position, how much traffic each of those keywords drives to the site, and to which URL.
You will see their volume and difficulty levels too, so you can decide if you want to target these keywords.
To try out this feature in Semrush, get a 30-day free trial if you haven’t used the software before.
If you are using a different SEO tool, you will not have the intent filter.
Then you will have to analyze all the keywords your competition is ranking for manually.
You can search the list with some of the examples of high-intent keywords that I mentioned above.
In this case, I entered ‘services’, ‘near me’, and ‘cheap’ and I saw a list of the high-intent keywords.
You can do this with any SEO software.
But then you would have to manually input all the kinds of high-intent keywords you know.
Or go through the list of your competitor’s keywords one by one and choose the ones you need.
How to use high-intent keywords to drive conversions
Using high-intent keywords in your website and marketing campaigns is a great way to give your business a boost.
This way, you target audiences who are already interested in what you have to offer, rather than generating mass interest but low-conversion rates.
There are 5 ways that you can use high-intent keywords to drive conversions
1. Optimize your money pages for high-intent keywords
if you creating a money page for a high-intent keyword and want to drive organic traffic to it, you have to optimize it.
Ensure that you optimize the content and on-page SEO of the page with the keyword.
Use related and semantic keywords, add internal links, and add the focus keyword in the key sections like the title, URL, meta descriptions, and alt texts of images.
Here are some examples of money pages:
- Service pages
- Product pages
- One-off landing pages (for books, etc)
2. Build topical authority for your website with low-intent keywords
You will be found on Google more easily and have a better search engine position for your high-intent keywords if Google already considers you an authority on the topic.
So for example, if you want to get traffic for keywords like ‘discount code for product x’, you need to create lots of content targeting low-intent (informational keywords) related to product x.
3. Use high-intent keywords in ads
If you have the budget, you can also invest in ads that include high-intent keywords to drive targeted traffic to your site.
By focusing on high-intent keywords in your ads will ensure that the ads are displayed to users who are actively searching for more offers, and are more likely to click and take action on them.
This will result in higher conversions and a much better return on ad spend.
4. Implement sales strategies on your website
You need to create some sales methods to convert your visitors to customers.
These methods don’t have to be very complicated.
Here are some simple sales techniques that are easy and quick to implement:
1. Offer a lead magnet to website visitors related to the high-intent keyword they searched for.
For example, a free demo or tutorial for the product.
2. Use a lead magnet to capture email addresses and email them with feature/ price updates of the product they are interested in.
3. Use popup offers to urge the visitor who is already interested in the product to go ahead and buy it.
It could be an exclusive offer.
For example, I am an affiliate of Semrush. And I have plenty of blog posts that target high-intent keywords related to Semrush.
On these pages, I use a popup offering discounts or an exclusive 30-day free trial.
5. Implement local SEO strategies
Remember those location-type high-intent keywords like ‘X near me’?
Since Google provides answers to the users by aligning the user and the business location, it is very important that you create a Google My Business profile that includes your address and contact details.
Also include the same details on your website and try to get listed in local directories as well.
Get more tips in my full post on local SEO for small businesses.
High-intent keywords to drive conversions – Conclusion
High-intent keywords play a big role in the growth of any online business, big or small.
They are what your content marketing strategy and on-page setup are based on. They also give Google a good understanding of what your site is about.
But there’s one thing you need to keep in mind: it’s all about knowing your audience.
You need to research them well and understand their needs.
Knowing the needs behind the search terms they use will make your conversions more effective, and save you money, time, and effort while driving the growth of your business.
Which methods do you follow to find and use high-intent keywords to drive conversions? Share in the comments!