Get Found Online: The Importance of Keyword Research and Search Intent in SEO

Alexandre Hoffmann 29/04/2024 7 minutes

In the competitive world of SEO, ranking better in search results requires a strategic approach. As an SEO agency, we understand the importance of keyword research and search intent as the foundation of this strategy. By prioritising these elements, we ensure your content is placed in front of the right audience at the right stage of the funnel and drives traffic that converts.

What Is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of finding out what terms people type into search engines, allowing you to tailor your content or marketing to those specific phrases to better attract and engage your target audience. By utilising keyword research tools and analysing search trends, you can uncover valuable insights such as:

Search volume

This metric reveals how many people are searching for a specific keyword each month. High-volume keywords can drive significant traffic, but they can also be fiercely competitive. Targeting keywords with a healthy balance of search volume (sv) and competition is ideal.


Understanding how many other websites are targeting a particular keyword allows you to gauge the difficulty of ranking for it. If hundreds of high-authority websites are competing for a keyword, it might be more strategic to focus on alternatives with lower competition.

If you’re an e-commerce brand a good way of using keyword research to understand your competition is to target your audience by creating categories for your products. For a fashion brand selling T-shirts, instead of using “t-shirts” which has 74,000 sv, break them down into more niched categories like “black t-shirts”, “floral t-shirts” and “white t-shirts” will improve conversions across your online store.

Long-tail keywords

These are more specific keyword phrases containing three or four words (e.g., “best walking shoes for plantar fasciitis”). While they might have lower search volume compared to broad keywords, they attract users with a clearer buying intent – people who are further along the customer journey and more likely to convert. Long-tail keywords are a goldmine for attracting targeted traffic.

Why Is Keyword Research Important?

In the ever-evolving SEO landscape, keyword research stands as a cornerstone practice. It is more than just identifying popular search terms; it’s about understanding the language your target audience uses to navigate the digital world. By prioritising keyword research, you unlock a treasure trove of benefits that can propel your website towards SEO success. Here’s a deeper dive into why keyword research is essential:

Finding the right keywords

Imagine creating high-quality content that nobody sees because it doesn’t resonate with what users are searching for. Keyword research eliminates this pitfall. By understanding the specific keywords your target audience uses, you can craft content that directly addresses their needs and questions. This ensures your website surfaces for relevant search queries, attracting the right kind of visitors – those genuinely interested in what you offer.

For instance, a bakery owner might discover that a significant portion of their target audience searches for “vegan cake recipes” or “gluten-free cupcakes near me.” This valuable insight allows them to tailor content specifically catering to these dietary needs, increasing the website’s relevance for those search queries.

How keywords work in content

Keyword research acts as the foundation for a data-driven content strategy. By identifying relevant keywords and analysing search volume and competition level, you can prioritise topics that resonate with your audience and have the potential to drive organic traffic. This eliminates guesswork and ensures your content creation efforts are strategically aligned with user search behaviour.

Let’s revisit the bakery example. Keyword research might reveal that “best birthday cake ideas for kids” has high search volume but faces fierce competition.  On the other hand, “fun and easy cupcake decorating ideas” might have a healthy balance of search volume and lower competition. This insight empowers the bakery owner to prioritise creating engaging content around the latter topic, attracting a relevant audience and establishing themself as a valuable resource.

How keywords will help your customers find you

Search engines like Google prioritise websites that demonstrate topical relevance. By strategically incorporating relevant keywords throughout your website, you increase your chances of appearing higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This essentially means more organic traffic, improved brand visibility and ultimately, the potential for more leads and sales.

It’s important to make sure that you’re using keywords that explain what your page is about. Using keywords randomly because it has search volume won’t help your customer find you.

Here’s how it works: When you target relevant keywords throughout your website content, page titles and meta descriptions, search engines can better understand the topics your website covers. This signals topical relevance, potentially boosting your ranking for those specific keywords and related search queries. The higher you rank in SERPs, the more likely users are to discover your website, leading to organic growth and increased brand awareness.

How to Find Keywords

Keyword research might seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be an empowering process. Here’s the keyword research journey broken down into four simple steps:

1. Finding seed keywords:

The first step is to kick things off by generating a list of broad keywords related to your niche. Think about the core services or products you offer and the problems you solve for your customers.

  • Put yourself in your audience’s shoes: What words or phrases would they use to search for your offerings?
  • Consider common questions: What are some frequently asked questions related to your industry?

For example, if you run a website dedicated to mountain biking, some seed keywords might be “mountain bikes,” “best mountain bike trails,” or “mountain bike maintenance tips.”

2. Leveraging keyword research tools:

These tools are your allies in the research phase. They can help you discover a treasure trove of related keywords, search volume data (how many people search for a specific keyword each month) and competition level (how many other websites are targeting that keyword).

There are several free and paid keyword research tools available. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Free keyword tools:
    • Google Keyword Planner (integrated with Google Ads): While primarily designed for paid advertising campaigns, it offers valuable keyword research features
    • Answer the Public: This free tool helps uncover interesting long-tail keyword variations based on user queries
    • Free keyword list generators from SEO review tools
  • Paid keyword tools (offer more advanced features):
    • Ahrefs
    • SEMrush
    • Moz

3. Utilising long-tail keywords:

Don’t underestimate the power of long-tail keywords! These are more specific keyword phrases containing more than three words (e.g. “best mountain bikes for beginners under $500”). While they might have lower search volume compared to broad keywords, they attract users with a clearer buying intent – people who are further along the customer journey and more likely to convert.

By incorporating long-tail keywords into your content strategy, you can attract highly targeted traffic and potentially boost your conversion rates.

4. Analysing the competition:

Take some time to understand what your competitors are doing. Use your keyword research tools to see what type of content they’re creating for their target keywords. This competitive analysis can reveal valuable insights and opportunities to differentiate your content and stand out in the search results.

For instance, if all your competitors are creating basic blog posts targeting “mountain bikes,” you might consider creating a comprehensive guide on “how to choose the perfect mountain bike for your riding style and terrain”.

By following these steps and continuously refining your keyword research strategy, you can gain a deeper understanding of your target audience and the language they use to search for information online. This empowers you to create high-quality, relevant content that resonates with users and propels your website towards SEO success.

What Is Search Intent and Its Components?

Keyword research unveils the “what” of user searches – the specific terms people use. But SEO goes beyond just keywords; it’s about understanding the “why” behind those searches. This is where search intent comes in.

Search intent refers to the underlying goal or motivation behind a user’s search query. By understanding the different components of search intent, you can tailor your content to perfectly match what users are actively seeking, leading to a significantly improved user experience and greater SEO success. Here’s a breakdown of the key components of search intent:

Informational intent – People who are looking for general or high-level information would be considered to be using informational search intent.

Navigational intent – Someone who knows what to look for from a specific place would be someone using navigational intent.

Transactional intent – When someone has found something they’re looking for and is ready to act (purchasing/downloading) then we say they have a transactional intent.

Commercial intent  – Someone who is interested in a particular item or service or knows what they want and are looking for more information we say that they have commercial intent.

By understanding these core components of search intent, you can create content that caters to each user’s specific goals. Imagine finding an in-depth review of different mountain bike models after searching for “best mountain bikes for beginners”. This not only fulfils the user’s intent but also positions your website as a valuable resource, potentially influencing their purchase decision.

Why Is Search Intent Important?

In the competitive world of SEO, understanding search intent is the difference between throwing spaghetti at a wall and serving up a perfectly portioned plate of user satisfaction. Just like you wouldn’t bring a birthday cake to a pizza party, crafting content without considering search intent misses the mark entirely. By deciphering the “why” behind a user’s search query (informational, navigational, transactional, etc.), you can tailor your content to perfectly match their needs. This translates to a user experience that feels like finding a hidden gem – exactly what they were searching for. Happy users not only stay on your website longer (boosting dwell time) but are also more likely to convert, whether it’s a purchase, signup or simply becoming a loyal reader. 

In a crowded digital space, prioritising search intent ensures your content isn’t just seen – it’s also relevant and engaging. Feeling inspired? We’d love to chat and explore ways we can help you elevate your SEO strategy. Get in touch with us today and one of our experts can get you started.