Content marketing is a business function, which means it needs to drive business. So you need to validate topics in many ways; Whether your audience is interested, whether it solves a pain point, and (most importantly for your business) search intent.
You want to target keywords that have high purchase intent. This means that the person looking up a topic or phrase is almost ready to make a purchase, and just needs a little nudge to get them to convert.
Targeting high purchase intent keywords is meant to impact the bottom line of your business. By creating content that focuses on high intent keywords, your website will appeal to website visitors who are at the buying stage of their customer journey.
In this article we’ll take a deep dive into how you can use data to identify high purchase intent keywords for your content marketing.
What are high purchase intent keywords?
There are three basic types of user intent keywords: Informational, navigational, and transactional. Typically, 99% of all search queries will fall under these 3 different intent categories, with 50-80% of all queries usually being top-funnel informational search queries.
You should be able to work out the intent of a search query based on the keywords it uses. Examples of keywords under each of these intent categories are:
- Informational – how, what is, best way to, alternatives to, guide, tutorial
- Navigational – [brand name] + website, [product name], locations near me, Twitter, reviews
- Transactional – buy, top, order, discount, price, coupon
Informational keywords are considered to be low intent keywords. People using informational keywords are looking for more knowledge on a particular topic and trying to educate themselves, without an intention to purchase anything.
Navigational keywords have a clear intent, but not necessarily high purchase intent. Searchers are usually looking for specific information about a brand, website, or social media page. Even though these may not directly lead to a purchase, it’s still good to have search result dominance for your own brand.
Transactional keywords usually lead to purchase options with highly branded SERPs. These keywords typically signify a searcher is likely ready to purchase, and is looking for a way to do so. Therefore, transactional keywords show high purchase intent, whereas informational keywords show low purchase intent.
Note: There’s also a 4th type that some SEOs separate out called commercial investigation, that includes keywords like best, top, review, comparison, [brand] vs [competitor], and the like.
By understanding the different types of keyword intentions, you can help improve the SEO performance of your content marketing efforts based on business objectives.
Why to use high intent keywords in content marketing
Google recognizes that users are no longer following a linear path from awareness to purchase. Instead, users are searching by intent and looking to get immediate answers. As a result, keyword intent shouldn’t be ignored when planning your content marketing strategy.
1) Find your customers where you need to reach them
Keyword intent can be used to target potential customers at various stages of the buyer journey. Informational keywords should be incorporated into informative and helpful content pieces aimed at consumers who are still in the awareness stage of the buyer journey. Meanwhile, using high intent keywords will enable you to reach consumers in the consideration and conversion stages of the marketing funnel.
By creating content that reaches people at all stages of the buyer journey, you can nurture those leads and, in turn, increase conversions. Therefore, aligning your marketing strategy with your desired business outcomes.
2) Boost conversions and cost efficiency
There are many advantages to including high intent keywords in your content marketing and PPC campaigns. For PPC campaigns, creating campaigns that target high buyer intent keywords are significantly more cost-effective than campaigns using informational, or low intent, keywords.
In content marketing, the advantages of high intent keywords include increasing reach to consumers in the buying stage, boosting your conversion rate and nurturing leads by supporting awareness and informational marketing campaigns.
How to identify high buyer intent keywords
Maximizing your visibility and generating high website traffic with informational blog posts is great. But if those people aren’t converting, you may need to consider incorporating high intent keywords into your content marketing strategy. From analyzing your existing keyword to using data to identify new keyword opportunities, there are a few steps you can follow to identify high buyer intent keywords.
1) Analyze the performance of your current keywords
Analyzing your existing keyword performance is a great starting point when looking to optimize your content for user intent. Through keyword analysis you can test whether your content is currently optimized for search intent, find missed opportunities and make amendments to optimize your existing content.
By understanding what search queries qualified visitors are using when they land on your website, you can customize your content marketing to further increase traffic and conversion rates for your business.
Use Google Analytics to see how visitors are interacting with your site
One of the first places you can go to analyze the keyword performance of your existing website copy is Google Analytics. In Google Analytics, you can use the Acquisitions table to explore your organic search data. This will show a selection of keywords that have driven traffic to your website over a chosen time period.
By setting the secondary dimension to Landing Page you can see which page of your website they landed on when using each of these queries. From here, you can then analyze various performance metrics to gauge the success of your content and whether you need to improve the keywords used in these articles.
The Behavior Flow report in Google Analytics allows you to understand the behavior of your website visitors by analyzing how they land on, traverse, and interact with your website.
By improving your understanding of how users interact with your website, you can make informed decisions on which areas of search intent need improvement.
For instance, if, when examining the Behavior Flow report, you may find a lot of users are interacting with informational content on your website, but not converting. In this case, you could create complementary content that uses high buyer intent keywords to further warm these leads and encourage them to make a purchase.
Tip: If you want to dive deeper, you can use a tool like FullStory to see exactly how users are navigating around your website.
2) Use keyword analysis tools
Although it may not be the most exhaustive tool, the Google Keyword Planner is a great starting point when conducting keyword research. When using the Google Keyword Planner, sort results by Top of Page Bid to see which keywords have the highest cost. This is a great indicator of commercial intent. Results with a high Top of Page Bid will likely be high buyer intent keywords. You can test this by typing those queries into Google and analyzing the search results.
To get the best results from your keyword analysis, you can use paid tools such Ahrefs and Moz to conduct more in-depth keyword research.
SEMrush is great for finding good keywords with high intent. Look at the keywords that your company ranks for and review how well you’re doing when it comes to high purchase intent keywords.
You should also look at your competitors’ profiles and see what content they’re driving the most traffic from, analyze how high the purchase intent is for their keywords, and work on improving upon it for your own blog.
If you are using the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer tool, you can use keyword modifiers (ie. buy, how to, top) to filter for keywords with specific intent. You can then analyze these results based on Competition and Search Volume to determine which ones you want to include in your content marketing.
Another way to use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to find keywords that align with the conversion stage of the customer journey is to filter keyword search results to only include results that contain shopping SERP features. Search queries that generate shopping ads in Google are an indicator of keywords with high commercial or transactional intent.
Tip: Ahrefs is also great for backlink analysis, so you can take a look at your competitors’ backlink profile and reach out to the same companies to see if they’d like a guest post from you as well.
Similarly, the Keyword Explorer tool by Moz is also a great way to gather data for intent-focused keyword research. With the Moz Keyword Explorer tool, you can stay ahead of the curve by researching long-tail keywords with high relevance. Long-tail keywords with lower search volume are most likely to be used by consumers in the transactional stage of the buyer journey. By using Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool to identify long-tail keywords with low search volume, you can yield positive results for your website’s conversion rate.
The Moz Keyword Explorer Tool also allows you to conduct keyword research by analyzing your competitors’ keywords. This enables you to see what keywords your competitors are ranking for. If your competitor is ranking for high buyer intent keywords, you can analyze their content to inform your content marketing strategy. The Keyword Difficulty score will give you a good idea of which keywords phrases you have the best chance at ranking for.
You can also look at other paid tools Wordstream if you need other options.
Once you have gathered your list of high buyer intent keywords, along with the search volume, keyword difficulty and competition data for these keywords, you can now start creating relevant content to target users based on transactional intent.
Bonus tool: Surfer SEO
Similar to Google Documents, this tool allows you to write and edit articles and web copy online, updating changes live and allowing you to collaborate with writers and editors in real time.
However, it also comes with SEO advice, such as suggested keywords and formatting tips. These suggestions are based on search data and analysis of what has done best historically, and it makes following SEO best practices easy.
Tip: Be careful to write for readers instead of just following suggestions blindly. Since the suggestions are based on search history, there could be things like typos in the suggested keywords, especially if a keyword is commonly misspelled by searchers.
Incorporate high intent keywords into your content marketing strategy
1) Use different types, formats, and angles
When incorporating search intent in your content marketing strategy, you need to consider:
- Content type
- Content format
- Content angle
Different types of user intent keywords will lend themselves better to different content types, formats and angles.
For high buyer intent keywords, you may want to focus on optimizing your product category pages, creating a blog article that acts as a buyer guide or showcasing product reviews on your website.
This will ensure the content you produce aligns with what the user expects to find when conducting their search.
2) Capture attention with high emotion headlines
The Advanced Marketing Institute has a headline analyzer that measures the emotional marketing value of your titles.
Use your keywords in a way that will grab attention, paired with words that make it obvious what your article is about. Some examples that you may have seen include “ultimate guide” and “actionable tips.”
You can also put your keyphrases in list format by adding a number count for tips or the different options you list.
3) Focus on answering questions
Your content needs to answer whatever question or pain point that searchers are dealing with.
Google understands and prioritizes search intent when determining which pages to show in search engine results. Therefore, creating content that is optimized for high buyer intent keywords and fulfills the needs of these searchers will increase your chance of securing high Google rankings for these search terms.
4) Serve high-purchase intent, support the rest
To ensure you are reaching customers at every stage of their buyer journey, we recommend you create a content marketing strategy that includes content for all types of search intent. This will then allow you to create a well-rounded content strategy and improve customer retention by continually reaching them as they transition from the awareness stage to the conversion stage of the funnel.
5) Share on multiple channels
Once you have published your high buyer intent-focused content, you can further expand its reach through social media, paid advertising and email marketing. Using multiple touchpoints can increase positive brand affinity and ensure you remain in front of your audience. In turn, integrating multiple touchpoints into your content marketing distribution strategy can increase your chances of being selected over competitors.
6) Monitor performance
Remember to monitor and analyze the performance of your content overtime to ensure it does fulfill user needs, rank for the high buyer intent keywords it intends to and generate the desired business outcomes. If your content is not performing as expected, you may need to conduct further keyword research to determine how best to optimize your content.