top of page
  • Writer's pictureWendy Danko

Searcher Intent and SEO Keywords

Updated: Jun 21, 2021

When you are working on your keyword research, you need to be thinking about the purpose of your web page and the searchers' intent. Why is your potential customer searching? What do they want? When you figure out the intention of your searcher, you will be able to focus on those words and attract the right people to your content for the stage they are in the sales funnel.

When you focus on customer intent your perspective changes.
Focusing on customer intent when choosing keywords will help you supply the right content at the right time.

But before you start organizing your keywords for intent, you should ask yourself two questions.

1. Is ranking for this keyword something you should be doing?

When you answer this question honestly, you will keep your focus on the web pages' purpose, and you will find the right intent. Just because a keyword has high numbers does not mean it fits in with your page’s goals.

2. What are you trying to accomplish with the choices on your keyword list?

Are you trying to inform your customer about a product, solve a customer's problem, direct them to a specific page, or make a sale? Your message on each webpage should lead to your goals and what you're trying to accomplish.

You're trying to figure out the intent your customer is expressing through their query. You need to think about intention research before you settle on any keywords. You will be analyzing your audience and searcher behaviors to determine if these are the right keywords.

Searcher's intention comes in a few forms. You are trying to figure out the "why" for what the searcher is doing.

Inform – people who are looking for information. You will see the most substantial search volume for these keywords because you are trying to reach a broader audience. This audience is at the top of the sales funnel. The top of the sales funnel is the awareness phase. These searchers want in-depth content that provides a clear answer to their questions.

Navigate – These searchers have read the information in the inform stage and are now familiar with your company or brand — they need more information to help with their buying decision. More information is their next step in the sale funnel or the interest phase. They want to be able to easily find product pages, brand information, key company people, specs, testimonials, white papers, the next step information.

Commercial – The next step is the searcher is looking to make a purchase but want to see more information first, very similar to the navigation phase. Information that will help the search understand the product, company, warranties, right down to delivery. In the sales funnel, this step is the decision phase.

Transaction – The last step the searcher has id deciding to buy a product or service; typical keywords might include “price” or “sale.” In the sales funnel, this would be the action phase.

Organizing your keywords based on intent will help you organize your content for the searchers’ intent. Searchers' intent matches the sales funnel. Each of the steps above has a purpose in making a conversion.

What is a conversion?

A simple description of conversion for marketing online is: When a site visitor does something on your website that you wanted them to do. For example, file out a form, call your business, click on a video to watch, download a paper, the list goes one. Next, you need to be ready to do whatever you promised to you would do. If you said you're are going to do something, like send a PDF, make sure you follow through. Never let your potential customer down with not following through.

Make sure your analytics are keeping track of all these conversions. Doing this will help you make better decisions in the future.

Optimize for intent

Now that you understand the four different phases of intent and what a conversion looks like, let's optimize for intent. You need to think about the intention of the searcher and also what the search engine believes the intention might be.

People-focused keywords are what you want to identify. Where are your customers in the sales funnel? Doing this research will help you understand the right words for the right content and the right intent.

Research what keywords and phrases have been working?

  1. Look into your data to see these results for keywords and phrases that are working right now.

  2. Match the intent to the keywords and phrases.

  3. Start a new keyword research project to pinpoint other ideas that might work even better.

Answer these questions to narrow down or expand your list by intent.

  1. The searcher wants something, what is it?

  2. Your customers looking for what?

  3. How do you plan on making a conversion based on intent?

  4. What action do you want your searcher to take on each page?

  5. What is it you need to do to keep the searcher interested and moving along in the sales funnel?

Examine each page of your website to see what answers you get to the question listed above. You will soon find the right intent and can more forward from there.


The research is in and it is confirming that consumers want content and that content is still king. The research is also confirming searchers dislike ads, and want more web privacy. Read the SEO & Intent 2020 to see for yourself.


When you understand the searchers' intent and apply that intent to your keyword research, you will see a difference in how you create content for each web page. Search intent does change the way you think about the content you supply.

Learn more:

About the Author

Wendy Danko is an SEO and Web Design Consultant at WenKo LLC. Having a design background has its perks, especially when it comes to website design and SEO. Wendy is determined to help every one of her clients improve their website and SEO. With website improvements, her clients have uncovered new leads to grow their client base.


bottom of page