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What is Keyword Intent? Search Intent Explained

By Bryce Boyle Hoban
Updated November 17, 2020
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what is keyword intent

Bryce Boyle Hoban

Bryce is a Copywriter and Content Strategist with Hook Agency – focused on creating content that attracts ideal customers for our clients' websites.

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So, you’ve found the perfect keyword to target for your content marketing plan. It has a very low difficulty, with a very high search volume. You can already envision all the new traffic your website will get—and eventually, all the new leads as well.

Fast forward 10 months down the road, and your content with that keyword has yielded little to no results. Now, this could be for a number of reasons. But, one potential reason is that the keyword intent was off. But, what is keyword intent? And why is it so important?

What is Keyword Intent?

Perhaps the best way to describe keyword intent is to look at two examples.

Let’s say a dentist wants to rank for the keyword “best toothpaste for sensitive teeth.” They know that if they can rank for that term, it can position them as an authoritative source on toothcare, as well as bring in a lot of traffic and potential patients. That keyword has a very straightforward intent as well. When someone searches for that, they are looking to find resources that list the best toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

But, what about when a keyword’s intent is a little more confusing or could be interpreted in a couple of different ways.

Let’s say a solar roof company wants to rank for the term “solar systems,” as that keyword has a low difficulty and high search volume. Within their industry bubble, that term makes plenty of sense as “solar systems” is how they describe their services internally. However, a quick Google search shows that the first 4 organic results for that term all involve solar systems through a space lense. It isn’t until you scroll further down that content for solar systems for homes start to pop up.

For this reason, it may be wise for that solar roof company to look for other keywords to try and rank for.

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Why is Keyword Intent Important?

But why should you be wary of keywords that may not match the intent that you’re using it for? Well, writing and creating content takes a lot of time and effort. Spending months and months trying to rank for a keyword that doesn’t even match your intent could mean a lot of time wasted.

Essentially, you want your content to produce results, and matching keyword intent gives your content the best chance at ranking on the first page of Google.

How to Make Sure You’re Matching Keyword Intent

The best way to ensure that the content you’re creating matches the intent of what the average user is looking for when they Google that phrase is to do just that—Google it! Whenever you’re not sure what type of content or what answers someone is looking for with a specific keyword, check out the top three results on Google. Does that content match the direction you were taking? If not, adjust your angle.

Let’s go back to the toothpaste example. Let’s say the dentist just wanted to rank for “sensitive teeth toothpaste.” Initially, their plan was to create an in-depth guide on how toothpaste of this variety works and what makes it effective. However, when they Googled that keyword, the top three results were all listicles that listed the best sensitive teeth toothpaste. So, if the dentist wants to rank for that keyword, they should follow suit. Except make their listicle bigger and better than the others.


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Bryce Boyle Hoban

Bryce is a Copywriter and Content Strategist with Hook Agency – focused on creating content that attracts ideal customers for our clients' websites.

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