Choosing SEO Keywords Based on Intent

November 21, 2016

To maximize your SEO, keywords and key phrases should reflect the goals of your prospects and potential customers.


The sophisticated algorithms used by Google and the other search engines are designed to ensure searchers get the information they need. Voice and mobile search have been instrumental in driving this change, but even traditional searches have become queries, rather than a brief collection of words.

To maximize your website’s search engine result placement — and to successfully increase click-throughs and conversions — it’s important to understand the intent of the search.

Why Intent Is Important for Effective SEO Keywords

As Google continues to improve upon its search engine algorithms, keywords and key phrases have taken on a new focus. Today, Google’s sophisticated artificial intelligence platform analyzes the words carefully to identify the searcher’s goals and intent.

A given keyword or key phrase can mean different things to different users. When one of your prospects conducts a search, Google tries hard to figure out the intent behind it, to determine what information this user really wants.

If you want your site to rank higher than your competitors, you should too.

Identifying the Searcher’s Goals

Let’s imagine a Google user from West Jordan, Utah, searches “car repair.” We might assume that this person needs to find a car repair shop near their location. Because the query isn’t very specific, the results may not provide what they need. And that means a follow-up search.

If the person in our example is like most search engine users, the follow-up search will contain more information about the desired repair and maybe the type of car. For example, “Mercedes brake repair.” Or our searcher might be looking for a deal, searching for “oil change coupon,” or for a shop that will accommodate his or her schedule, like “transmission repair on Saturday.”


Or maybe our searcher doesn’t need an auto mechanic at all. He or she may want to purchase (or view) auto repair manuals or find online video tutorials. Either way, a more specific search is required. And that leads us to the subject of the search query and long-tailed key phrases.

The Keywords versus the Query

To ensure success in today’s digital environment, businesses owners and marketing managers must understand the importance of online marketing and keyword research to ensure they reach the largest segment of prospects and potential customers.

But we can’t stop with simple SEO keywords and short key phrases, at least not without further context.

To leverage the most current Google algorithms, it’s important to understand the concept of the query. The growth of virtual assistants like Siri and voice search have changed the way users interact with the search engines. How do you ask your virtual assistant a question? A query is the phrase or series of words that your prospects and potential customers use to conduct a search.


Traditional (typed) searches have also taken on the characteristics of the query. Instead of searching with simple key phrases such as, “car repair,” we search for “Mercedes oil change coupon for Saturday in West Jordan.”

This doesn’t mean you should eliminate “car repair” from your primary key phrases. But realize how much competition you will likely have for this common search phrase. If you specialize in a specific market, offer coupons or serve customers on a schedule that appeals to their convenience, leverage these benefits by using them in long-tailed key phrases.

You may reach fewer prospects with these targeted, long-tailed SEO key phrases, but the ones you do reach are more likely to become your customers.

Purchase-Intent Keywords and SEO

An interesting dimension is the identification of purchase-intent or commercial-intent SEO keywords or phrases.

If someone searches for “pizza delivery Tooele,” it’s probably a safe assumption that they would like to have a pizza delivered to a location in Tooele, Utah. That phrase has high commercial intent.

purchase intent

Most internet searches have one of three purposes: to obtain information, find a desired online artifact (website, image, video), or to conduct a transaction. In other words, searchers either want to learn something, find something or buy something.

So the money question becomes this: When your prospects seek the product or service you offer, which SEO keywords and key phrases do they use?

Consider Local SEO Factors

In the past, a Google search for “athletic shoes” would have provided very different results than the same search would today.

Before Google evolved into the sophisticated and complex processes we know and love, your results would have included all the websites and pages that used the SEO keywords “athletic shoes” most frequently. Today, Google assumes that you want to purchase athletic shoes, either at a local store or an online e-commerce site.

For most search terms, paid local results will be displayed first, followed by the “snack pack” of local listings. Next comes organic local results mixed with ranking or review sites like Yelp or Home Advisor.


If you are a local business serving the public in your area, this is good news for you. That is, as long as you make sure to capitalize on local SEO!

Translating Keyword Intent with Improved SEO and Page Rankings

One consideration that online marketing and SEO experts use to improve search engine rankings is competition level. In other words, how many other sites rank for (or try to rank for) a given SEO keyword or key phrase? The greater the competition, the harder it becomes to rank well for that word or phrase.

Instead, we look for those SEO keywords and phrases that are highly relevant but that aren’t as widely used. This is one of the most challenging tasks of online marketing, because it requires a sophisticated suite of tools and an insider’s perspective on Google’s algorithms.

This is one of our main areas of expertise at Be Locally SEO. Our research team has developed exclusive strategies for identifying those SEO key phrases that will ensure your highest possible ranking in the search engines. We don’t stop there, however, because ranking well is only a part of the puzzle. Our internet search experts make sure your site ranks well for the ideal customer base for your business.

Be Locally SEO provides a full suite of expert online marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click internet advertising services. Contact us today and let Utah's SEO experts show you how to grow your business with the right SEO keywords and key phrases.

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