How to Top SERPs Using Search Intent: Beefing Up Your SEO & Content Strategy

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Knowing what search intent is is critical if you want your website to be on top of search rankings. Search intent is the purpose behind the search of a user. Your audience will search for several reasons.

Some users will key in simple questions on Google, while others will look for specific websites to purchase goods.

You must be on the search engine results pages (SERPs) at the best time for every search type.

How to Top SERPs Using Search Intent: Beefing Up Your SEO & Content Strategy 1

What are the four main types of search intent?

Knowing what people are searching for will enable you to develop the right type of content, giving you more chances of meeting your goals. Since people search for millions of queries with several goals in mind, it is easier to categorise searches into search intent.

To get a better sense of what people are searching for, keywords can be categorised into four main types:

  1. Informational keywords are searches that target an answer to a specific question or information to learn more about a topic.
  2. Navigational searches look for specific sites, web pages, or geographic locations.
  3. Commercial searches aim to investigate or compare brands, products, or services.
  4. Transactional searches are all about indicating the intent to complete a purchase or take action on a specific website.

By understanding the purpose of these categories paired with other metrics for keywords such as search volume, CPC, and difficulty, you and your team will be able to craft better content launched at the right time.

How to identify the intent of a keyword

To get a full view of a keyword’s intent, you can look for several clues.

These clues can be found in the following:

  • SERPs
  • In the keyword phrase
  • By utilising a keyword intent tool

How to identify keyword intent via SERP clues

Google is becoming sophisticated and sharp at recognising intent. It serves up SERPs to fit what it judges to be the intent behind every keyword.

Therefore, you only need to look at what Google provides on the SRP to decode the keyword intent.

For example, if you see “shopping ads,” the intention is transactional. On the other hand, when you see the term “reviews,” the intent is commercial. When it comes to informational searches, Google provides info cards and related questions to explore this topic.

The intention is navigational if you see side links on the top branded results. Also, if the search is a brand and the top organic result on the SERP has listed that brand with many site links, this indicates a navigational intent.

How to identify intention with keyword clues

The next area you can examine to identify intent manually is within the keyword phrase itself. If certain words are incorporated in a query, you can guess the intent.

Keyword clue samples for each search intent type are the following:

For transactional intent, you will often see terms such as “buy,” “cheap,” or “sale online.”

You will often see terms such as “best,” “review,” and “comparison” for commercial intent.

For navigational intent, brand names will often come up.

When it comes to informational intent, you will often see phrases that have the terms “how,” “why,” “what,” and “tutorial.”

How to determine intent with the keyword intent tool by SEMrush

The last and quickest way to determine a keyword intent is by utilising a tool designed to analyse SERPs and the language of keywords.

SEMrush performs this automatically.

Every time you research a keyword in SEMrush’s suite, you will see the intent label.

Once you could identify the intent of a keyword, you might be wondering what your next step should be.

You must decide on the type of content to create for your site to best target the keyword.

Take note of the following goals:

  • Creating content using keywords intent
  • Ranking well for informational keywords

For both these purposes, provide in-depth information that answers questions and provides facts, data, and help.

  • Creating content for commercial keywords

Steer clear of just crafting product pages. Instead, be more creative such as writing comparison articles.

For example, suppose your keyword phrase is about the “best laptops for college students”. In that case, you can target this organic traffic via a comparison article that provides information about options for people considering laptops for college.

  • Creating content for transactional keywords

When it comes to transactional searches, you should design your product pages to be as clean and direct as possible.

The information on your product or service site must make it easy for your audience to decide to purchase or take action from the page.

5 ways to find and choose keywords for your website

Once you have determined the keywords you want to rank for, it is time to refine your list based on those that can best serve your strategy.

  1. Relevance

    Google ranks content for meaning and relevance. At this point, the concept of search intent will come in. Your content will only rank for a keyword if it matches the searcher’s needs. Moreover, your content must be the best resource out there for the query. Google will only rank your content higher if it provides more value than other content on the web.

  2. Authority

    Google will reward sources it deems more authoritative. Therefore, you must do all you can to become an authority in your niche by enriching your site with helpful informational content and promoting that content via social media and backlinks. If you are not yet considered as an authority in your industry, or if a keyword’s SERPs has too many sources, you cannot compete with, such as Entrepreneur or Healthline, you will have a lesser chance of ranking unless your content is outstanding.

  3. Volume

    Although you may end up ranking on the first page for a particular keyword, it cannot bring traffic to your website if no one ever searches for it. It is similar to opening a shop in a ghost town.

    Volume can be measured by monthly search volume (MSV). This is the number of times a keyword is searched every month across all audiences.

  4. Mix head terms and long-tail keywords

    It’s important to check if you have an ideal mix of head and long-tail terms. This will give you a great keyword strategy in the long run. Head terms are searched more frequently and thus much more competitive and harder to rank.

    For example, without examining search volume or difficulty level, which of the two terms below will be harder to rank for?

    How to write a great article

    Article writing

    If you answered the second one, you are correct. But it would be best if you were not discouraged. Although head terms have more search volume and will provide greater potential to send you traffic, the traffic you will get from the long-tail keyword “how to write a great article” is usually more desirable.

  5. Check how your competitors are ranking for keywords

    Bear in mind that if your competitor is doing something, it doesn’t mean that you need to follow suit. The same applies to keywords. Simply because a keyword is essential to your competitor doesn’t mean it must be important to you. But knowing what keywords your competitors are trying to rank for is a terrific way to help you evaluate your keyword list.

    If your competition is ranking for certain keywords on your list, it is reasonable to work on boosting your ranking for those. But never ignore the ones your competitors don’t seem to care about. This could be an excellent opportunity for you to dominate a market share or important terms.

Two ways to build your keyword plan with search intent in mind

Knowing how to develop your content with search intent in mind will boost your website to a whole new level of wins. You will experience higher rankings on SERPs and find your content on the first page.

You can take it further and rise above your competition by researching their intent.

Perhaps your competitors rank for many informational keywords while your site only targets navigational and commercial searches.

But if you want to outrank your competitors, you will need to position your content strategy to target informational queries as well.

Tip 1: Add search intent to your competitor research

Utilise an SEO tool that gathers organic keyword information:

Examine your competitor’s list of keywords.

Cross-reference every individual keyword, utilising the keyword intent clues mentioned previously.

Manually note what type of intent every keyword is.

Map every keyword to each of your competitors’ high-ranking pages.

Examine the data. Analyse if their homepage is ranking for navigational searches. Are their posts ranking for informational or commercial queries? How are your pages performing in comparison?

After gaining insight into your competition, you can strategise a keyword plan.

For example, if the competition in your niche is getting most of their traffic from informational keywords, you may want to consider doing the same. It would help if you looked for low competition informational searches your site can target.

Another example is if your competition has high rankings for many commercial terms that no one else targets, you can try competing for those.

Tip 2: Research keywords and long-tail phrases with the right intent

By discovering and incorporating a combination of appropriate intent words and phrases into your keyword strategy, you can provide Google with a better understanding of your intent.

When discovering and implementing informational phrases, you can Google your target keyword and look for the “People Also Ask” segments within the SERP. Incorporate these related questions into your informational content strategy.

When it comes to discovering and implementing transactional phrases, you can experiment by incorporating modifiers such as “buy,” “cheap,” or “for sale online” to find your target keywords.

To discover and implement commercial phrases, you can experiment by adding modifiers such as “best” or “comparison” to your target keywords and look at the results page.

If the SERP reveals ads and the signs of commercial intent mentioned in this article, you will know that the keyword phrase has commercial intention.

Another free way to manually for research intent is via

First, you must enter a target keyword.

Afterwards, analyse the mind map of expanded search queries based on common question terms such as “where,” “how,” and “why.”

Next, you must cross-reference these questions and check their SERPs in Google.

An easy and effective strategy is utilising SEMrush to find keywords by intent instantly.

If you have an account with SEMrush, this entire process will be a lot easier.

Go to the keyword magic tool and type in your target keyword. Everything that appears in the result table will be labeled with the intent.

You also have the option of filtering this report to hone in on an individual or multiple types of intent in an instant. Look into the keyword difficulty column as well to keep an eye out for keywords with low competition.

This process can be repeated as many times as needed to build your perfect keyword list. You can take all of the keywords you are interested in and save them on your list.


Your content is one of your best digital assets since it will drive traffic to your website. But it is not enough to come up with relevant and meaningful content. You must also establish your authority via backlinks and show your uniqueness among your competitors and more prominent websites.

Moreover, you must position your content in a way that satisfies Google’s algorithm and your human readers. You must enhance your content strategy and keywords by fulfilling search intent to climb the SERPs. The four categories of search intent are informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial. Specific terms must be incorporated into your content and keywords to satisfy these categories so Google will pull you up in searches about your niche or industry.


Gideon has over a decade of experience in internet marketing, working with globally recognised brands as well as small local business. With his knowledge of both worlds, it brings a competitive edge to the table, ensuring even the smallest business is taken care of like it was his own. Gideon's technical background ensures that each and every campaign has a strong foundation and key elements are in place for the success of whatever the goals are.
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