Intent-Based Keywords – The Basics

We all know that keywords are the foundation of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and search in general. However, many of us fail to realize that search engines care more about the keyword’s actual intent, even more than the exact keyword being used. So, let’s look at the basics of an intent-based keyword and how to do intent-based keyword research using tools like Google’s keyword planner.

How to Find Keywords

Finding keywords for your website is as easy as using the Google Keyword Research Tool. The tool can help you to discover high-volume keywords for your company and is extremely easy to use. Visit the website for the tool and follow the on-screen prompts to get started. Please note, however, that before using the tool, you must set up a Google AdWords campaign (you don’t have to pay for it or use any ads, but you will have to sign up for the service).

The Google Keyword Research Tool is also not the only keyword research tool available to online marketers and site owners. Some other popular tools to use to discover high-volume keywords include:

What is an Intent-Based Keyword?

Let’s pretend that we’re doing keyword research for a plumbing company. Let’s also pretend that while doing our keyword research, we found that “pumps” is a high search volume and popular keyword. The word “pumps” even seems like an excellent fit for our fictional plumbing company’s services.

However, after a quick preliminary Google search for the word “pumps,” we can see that shoe stores seem to make up most of the results. Why is that? It’s because Google has decided (through algorithms and data analysis) that when a searcher uses the word “pumps” as part of their query, they generally look for a specific style of shoes and not for plumbing companies to work on/with pumps.

This is the general idea behind intent-based keywords. If the keyword in question is generally used for queries that don’t relate to your service or that don’t generate clicks and sales, then you’re less likely to have success using said keyword.

If You’re Ranking #1, Should Intent-Based Keywords Even Matter?

The short answer here is YES ABSOLUTELY. Even if you can get your page to rank #1 on Google for a particular keyword, it is useless to you as a business owner if that rank position doesn’t translate into clicks and conversions. In short, the type of traffic your business receives is more important than the raw amount of it. Ten thousand site visitors don’t mean anything if none of those visitors decide to hire your company for your services!

Google (and other search engines) are dedicated to matching and understanding searcher intent. From the search engine’s perspective, if an article/post/page is getting clicks for “pumps,” their site is related to shoes. They are less likely to want to show a result related to plumbing. Intent matters!

How Do You Figure Out the Intent of a Keyword?

When figuring out precisely what the intent of a particular keyword is, do a quick Google search for the keyword in question. Like with our “pumps” example earlier, when we did a quick Google search for just the word “pumps,” we found that the majority of the top results (including ads and the local three-pack) were for women’s shoe stores and styles. When searchers use the keyword “pumps” in their queries, they most often look for women’s shoes and not plumbing companies. You don’t have to do much to determine a keyword’s intent because Google has already done most of the heavy lifting for you!

Does Intent Matter More for SEO or SEM Keywords?

There is a difference between SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) keywords.

SEO keywords don’t cost you anything to use. So, you can be a little lazier with your intent-based keyword selections. With SEO keywords, you’re generally pretty safe selecting any keyword related to your business and have a relatively high search volume (many people search for that keyword monthly). Just be careful with how many SEO keywords you try to optimize for. Spam is generally considered worse for your SEO than poorly selected intent-based keywords.

SEM keywords, on the other hand, are expensive. Since SEM relates almost exclusively to paid advertisements on search engines, you will wind up paying for every click your keyword brings to your site through search. Since you’re paying for each click, it’s ensuring SEM keywords are carefully selected. Thi is wises is where the intent behind the keyword is essential. If the clicks you bring to your site don’t convert, you’re just throwing money away. Again, intent matters!


Intent-based keywords are essential for both SEO and SEM. The more accurately your keyword conveys the proper intent of the searcher, the more likely clicks to your site will convert.

If you want to help optimize your keyword lists for searcher intent, please contact the SEO and SEM professionals at Contractor Advertising. When it comes to intent, we have you covered!

Looking for help in California? Check out our Friends over at Ace Pelizon Plumbing! For more information, click the link below!