Smash your keywords with customer intent

Smash your keywords with customer intent

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.

What is customer intent?

Customer intent is the motivation behind the search behaviours of potential customers. Intent 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: seeking knowledge
  3. Transactional/commercial: wanting to buy

That’s all well and good but what has this 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 supposed 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 their first customer journey (how exhausting):

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

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.

Here’s where keywords come in.

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 become a content writer. That keyword gives mostly informational results. So the user intent is to seek knowledge on that subject.

Mind blown.

Your job is to figure out the user intent of all 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:

Matching content with the search query.

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 help the user out. Take a look at my post write an SEO-friendly blog people yearn 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. 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 does their genitals into gaudy coloured trousers.

Top of the Pops
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 you’re selling something you want transactional intent. If you’re teaching something you want 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 site’s 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.

Freelance SEO writer

Sarah Wilson-Blackwell

I’m a freelance business content writer at The Sarky Type®. My thang is SEO-informed blurb that sets your words on fire (ablaze with LOLs and engagement not to be confused with real fire that destroys everything in sight. Metaphors are better when they don’t require explanation. Note to self).

2 responses to “Smash your keywords with customer intent”

  1. […] best and the rudest explanation of search intent I’ve read, check out Sarah Wilson-Blackwell, AKA The Sarky Type. Subscribe to her email list while you’re there because she never fails to make me […]

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