How Search Intent is Demanding New Approach to Keyword Research

November 20, 2016

2016 has been a big year for change in Google search results. We waved goodbye to the right rail ads and the local map results went from 7 results down to just three (the local 3-pack). Nowadays, organic search results aren't necessarily above the fold anymore, suggesting we are moving towards a 'pay to play' model within search results. There are, however, some patterns forming in the type of search results served for different types of search intent, a concept we will explore in this blog.

Keyword Research

At the beginning of any engagement with an agency or client, it is expected that part of the onboarding process will include a keyword research document. This document is used to uncover words and phrases used by people searching for the themes and topics relating to the client's brand. Included in this discovery document will be information on how competitive each keyword is and how expensive it will be to rank on page 1 for this term. This helps to estimate the ROI and expected competition surrounding the SEO portion of the campaign.

Often times, a keyword research document will be used to create ad groups for a paid search campaign to help client's connect with prospective customers as well as existing customers. An effective keyword research document will help you to create specific and relevant ad groups surrounding certain themes that will help improve your CPC and quality score.

Search Intent

As mentioned above, people have key habits when they are conducting a search online which impacts how results are displayed within search results. The main things that users online are searching for relate to either a research intent or a purchase intent. Typically purchase intent queries will generate results packed with ads and 3-pack locations if it is a local search whereas research intent queries will serve results with Quick Answers and Rich Cards. Immediately it is clear that a strategy can be developed between SEO and PPC colleagues regarding those keywords ideal for use in SEO and those required for a successful paid campaign.

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Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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