If you have been interested in or working on SEO, you know how important it is to understand the search intent of keywords for creating an effective content strategy.
But that process could take hours of your time, not to mention a lot of spreadsheets.
Besides, how do you know how your website SEO matches those intents?
Enter the Semrush intent column.
In just a few minutes, you can use this powerful tool to uncover valuable insights about your searchers’ needs, and also track your performance.
Let’s see how it works.
What is search intent?
Search engine refers to the reason why someone is performing a search in search engines, based on the kind of information they need. The goal of search intent is to help users find exactly what they need quickly and efficiently.
What are the different search intent types?
There are four main keyword intent types:
- Navigational intent: Someone wants to find a specific website or webpage
- Informational intent: The user is looking for information about a topic or ways to solve a problem.
- Transactional intent: The user is ready to buy a product a service
- Commercial intent: The user wants to buy a product or service, but is looking for more information
This infographic from Semrush on intent types explains it well.
Why do you need to understand search intent?
Search intent is essential for understanding your audience’s needs so that you can create an effective custom SEO strategy, and better target your content marketing to ensure that your content is relevant to your audience.
Basically, if you want to create content that is valuable to your audience, you need to know what they want to know.
Optimizing your content can have a lot of benefits:
1. Get more traffic
Understanding search intent can help get your website noticed on Google.
Your audience will find you on search engines while looking for information, and that will drive them to your blog post or landing page.
2. Improve your ranking
Google and other search engines take into account the relevance of a website’s content to a user’s query.
When you create valuable content for your audience that meets their search query, you can improve your search engine positions and the chances of appearing in the top results for relevant searches.
3. Drive more website engagement
When you know the user intent behind different keywords, you can choose the relevant format of content for each query that will answer their questions, which makes them engage more with you.
For example, if your audience is looking for a tutorial, you can create a video or long-form blog post that gives them exactly the training they need.
That will make them stay longer on your website, check out more content, and even share your content.
What is the Semrush Intent Column?
The Semrush intent feature is an analysis tool that helps you to instantly determine the search intent behind keyword phrases, and also analyze your SEO performance by keyword intent types.
You can use the Semrush intent feature and column to conduct keyword research, competitor research, and analyze your SEO performance based on user intent.
At the time of writing this post, no other SEO software provides a similar feature to understand search intent instantly.
Related: SEO software for small businesses
How does the Semrush intent column work?
Semrush offers multiple tools for keyword and SEO analysis, and the Semrush intent column is available on all of them.
- Keyword Magic Tool
- Position Tracking
- Organic Research
- Keyword Gap
- Keyword Overview
- Keyword Manager
On any of these tools, you can filter keywords by search intent to find the perfect keywords for your content creation.
The Semrush intent column is one of the many filters that Semrush offers to sort and filter keywords with specific conditions.
Like Volume, Keyword Difficulty, SERP features, etc., you can use the ‘Intent’ filter to get the exact SEO and keyword data you need.
How to use the Semrush Intent Column to conduct search intent and SEO analysis in 5 min?
With the Semrush intent feature, you can get 4 types of ideas to analyze SEO metrics and power up your SEO strategy.
Here’s what you can do with the Semrush intent column within different keyword tools:
1. Keyword Research: Filter thousands of keywords to find targeted keywords that match your digital content strategy
2. Position tracking: Analyze your website performance for tracked keywords
3. Keyword Gap: Identify content opportunities for specific search intents
4. Organic Research: Analyze your own website or your competitor’s website performance by search intent
Let’s get started!
First of all, obviously, you need a Semrush account.
If you don’t have a Semrush account, get a 30-day free trial now. Remember you need to enter your credit card details, otherwise, you will only get a free account, not a free trial.
1. Find targeted keywords to match your content strategy
Semrush is one of the best keyword research tools, and you can find lots of low-competition keywords.
Enter any keyword in the Keyword Magic Tool.
Let’s say I enter ‘Semrush’, and the Magic Tool shows me around 8000 keywords.
Now I want to find informational keywords for the topic Semrush.
I simply choose the ‘Informational ‘filter in my Semrush intent column and click Apply.
And that’s it! From 8000 keywords, I filtered my keywords down to 334.
On any other tool, this would take hours!
However, you should still double-check the intent.
Review the SERP
Choose a keyword and click on it to get to the Keyword Overview.
I chose ‘Semrush stock’.
Right on the top you will see the intent again.
Scroll down to the SERP Analysis section and check out the top few pages in the SERP.
These indeed look like informational content.
Click on these pages and quickly glance through their content to confirm that their content indeed matches the search intent.
And now you are really done!
90% work from the Semrush Intent Column and 10% your brain work, and you have found keywords that could be potential blog topics for you.
If you are looking for SEO content ideas , you can also filter the results further by high volume and low keyword difficulty.
You can also choose to filter keywords by multiple search intents, like Informational + Commercial or Commercial + Navigational, etc.
2. Analyze your website performance for tracked keywords
The Semrush intent column is very helpful to analyze your website’s performance for the keyword positions you are specifically targeting.
You can conduct an analysis of your tracked keywords by search intent in 3 ways:
- Measure your website performance
- Measure your performance against your competitors
- Measure the performance of your pages
1. Measure your website performance
First, you need to enter all the keywords of a domain you want to track in the Position Tracking tool. The keywords could be and usually are, a mix of all types of keywords.
Now in your Position Tracking ‘Overview’, you can filter your keywords by the Semrush intent column.
You can check the performance of all your informational keywords, commercial keywords, and others.
Here you see that there is more visibility and estimated traffic for commercial keywords than for informational keywords.
Remember that in the Position Tracking tool, the data is specific to only the keywords you want to track.
So if you have entered more commercial intent keywords than informational keywords, your overall performance can show to be better for these high intent keywords.
If you want to analyze and compare the performance of all the keywords of a domain based on search intent, you need to use the Organic Research tool, which you will see below.
2. Measure your performance against your competitors
You can also use the Semrush intent column to analyze how well you are performing compared to your competition for focus and tracked keywords.
For example, in the screenshot below, you can see that for my tracked keywords which have a commercial intent, my performance is slightly better than that of a competing website.
You can scroll down below to dig deeper into the performance of every keyword and check which keywords you can optimize further to improve your traffic by search intent.
3. Measure the performance of your pages
The Semrush intent column in the Position Tracking tool is also helpful to understand the performance of every page.
Go to the ‘Pages’ tab in Position Tracking.
You can see the composition of pages by search intent, and how many new keywords you rank for.
You can also click on the arrow to the left of the URL to check the performance of each page by search intent.
These insights can help you tweak your content if necessary.
For example, if you see that for a page you are ranking for commercial keywords when you actually want to rank better for informational ones, then you need to adjust your content accordingly.
3. Identify content opportunities for specific search intents
You can use the Keyword Gap tool to get ideas on keywords you can optimize further or add to your content strategy.
For example, I take 2 close competitors in the blogging space.
They are very close in terms of the total number of keywords they rank for.
I zoom in by intent with the Semrush intent column, and I see that authroityhacker.com performs slightly better than bloggerspassion.com for commercial keywords, whereas for informational keywords they are the same.
Now let’s say I am bloggerpsassion.com and I want to find opportunities for commercial keywords.
Then keeping the intent filter as Commercial, I scroll down to the ‘Keyword Details’ and click on Weak, Missing, or Untapped, to find more keywords to rank for.
4. Analyze competitor website performance by search intent
You can analyze your competitor’s website performance or even your own by search intent, to adjust your content strategy, if needed.
Go to Organic Research and enter a domain.
In the ‘Overview’ tab, you will see a summary of the types of keywords the domain ranks for.
You can click on ‘View Details’, and it will take you to the ‘Positions’ tab.
You can then compare the differences in performance between all keywords on one website.
For example, in the screenshot, you see that informational keywords drive much more traffic than commercial keywords, and the performance of commercial keywords is also declining.
You can then decide to amplify your work on informational keywords further as its’ performing well, or adjust the content and SEO tactics for your commercial keywords.
You can also choose to do both, as per your SEO strategy.
Another way you can analyze the website’s performance is by checking the performance of every page.
Remember, unlike Position Tracking where you can check the page performance for your tracked keywords only, in Organic Research you can see the page performance for all keywords.
You can also use the Semrush intent column filter to check the performance of different pages by search intent.
You can also get a summary of the type of keywords a website ranks for from the Domain Overview.
Enter a domain in the Domain Overview, and scroll down to the section ‘Keywords by Intent’.
Multiple intents in the Semrush intent column
Some keywords can have multiple intents, as you saw in the screenshots above.
For example, a keyword can have both an informational and commercial intent.
This indicates that people want to get information on this topic, and some people also want to sign up for this tool or product.
For example, let’s take the keyword ‘semrush competitor analysis’.
This keyword shows as both informational and navigational, so people search for this query to either access Semrush’s competitor analysis tool, or get information about it.
This is where your own analysis becomes so important.
Enter this keyword in Keyword Overview, and analyze the SERP.
You see the first few results are all Semrush, and the ranking pages are both blog posts and product (feature) pages.
This is quite an ambiguous scenario, and you need to take a few content decisions:
- Should you target this keyword at all?
- If yes, which kind of content should you create for this keyword?
Given that the results are all Semrush and the intent is mixed, I would recommend not targeting this keyword at all.
But there can be other situations like this occasionally, and then you will have to do your own research and digging.
For example, you can also enter the keyword in Google and check the People Also Ask and Related Searches to really understand the intent.
There is an exception to multiple intents.
The Semrush intent feature will never indicate a keyword to have both a navigational and commercial feature.
Pros and cons of the Semrush Intent Column
The Semrush Intent Column speeds up your keyword research and content marketing instantly, but you also add a bit of your own analysis to confirm the reports you get from the tool.
Semrush Intent Column Pros
The biggest pro of the Semrush intent column is that it helps in getting content ideas and optimizing your content marketing very quickly, saving you time and effort.
I love the Semrush intent feature as I save hours on keyword research and SEO analysis.
It also helps me identify opportunities for optimizing my website and creating content that meets my audience’s needs more effectively.
Semrush Intent Column Cons
The Semrush intent column is great, but it is far from a standalone tool.
Its biggest drawbacks are that the data can be ambiguous, offering you multiple search intents for the same keyword, and that you still need to double-check the data.
Having said that, it is still a great tool to save time. I can’t imagine doing keyword research without it and analyzing keyword data or performance manually.
Semrush Intent Column – Conclusion
The Semrush intent column is one of the best features an SEO tool can have, in my experience and opinion.
It truly makes my SEO work so much easier.
Did you already try this feature? What did you think of it? Share in the comments!