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July 16 2020

Utilizing High Intent Keywords to Drive High-Quality Users

Consider how you use the internet when searching for a new vendor or supplier for your business. Or what search terms you use when you are ready to make a purchase versus when you are beginning the research process. You are searching based on your intention – education, research, purchasing decisions, etc. This will affect what search terms you use as you go through the buying process, just as it does for your future customers.

Factoring in intent is how you can create a competitive paid search program that doesn’t break the bank. After all, unless you have an unlimited amount of time (not to mention budget) why wouldn’t you want to focus your resources on the keywords that are most likely to drive sales?

Step One – Check the Search Landscape

The quickest way to identify a high intent keyword is to look at the search landscape. For instance, take a look at the two searches below. The one on the left is for “stainless steel”. Someone searching for “stainless steel” could have a variety of different intents, which is why the search results provide a broad range of information.

But what if you were searching for something more specific, like “A286 stainless round bar”? The first search results page wouldn’t likely yield much information that would help you, but the second set of search results would.

If you were ready to make a purchase, which search results would help you the most?

The first search term is broad and considered to be low intent, meaning that when a user enters that phrase into the search engine, they are probably not planning to purchase right then. They might be researching to find exactly what it is they need. A phrase like “A286 stainless round bar” is a high intent keyword that signals the user knows exactly what they want and are therefore more likely to be making a purchase.

General keywords are important and useful in your content but could end up costing you more money in ad spend with a reduced quality of leads. So, where can you find the keywords that can save money and bring in great leads?

Step Two – Search Queries

According to Google, 15% of search queries that are done each day are unique, meaning they have never been searched before. These unique search queries can often be the specific, high intent phrases that give you the most bang for your buck.

You can find these high intent, low search volume keywords in the Search Query report, found in Google Analytics. (From Google Analytics, you click on Acquisition > Google Ads > Search Queries).  It’s best to set a wide date range so you can see a larger number of the lower volume search terms. This report defaults to show you the search terms clicked on most often. To find the keywords you want, sort the information by the number of goal completions instead. Now you can see which keywords specifically brought in leads.

The example search query report below is for a business that sells rare earth, alnico and ceramic magnets for industrial applications. Notice the queries with goal completions (or form submissions) are also highly specific. Many include unique sizes, specifications or grades related to the magnets the user is looking for.

identifying high intent search queries

When looking at these reports, it’s relatively easy to see which search terms are the most cost-effective. For example, users who are searching “magnet manufacturers” could be looking for a variety of different things, and are probably not requesting information as often as the users searching for “15mm neodymium rod”. Because of this, the more specific term has a lower cost-per-click but is likely generating a higher quality lead.

Step Three – Site Search Data

The visitors to your site are already showing an intent to purchase. They know what they are looking for and now want to see if you can provide it. By looking at your internal site searches, you can learn a lot about user intent and the search phrases tied to it. You can find this data in your Google Analytics account by going to the Behavior report, then Site Search.

using internal site search for keyword research

When looking at these search terms, use the B-SMART Method® to identify the high intent keywords. Are there specific brand names mentioned? Do they include specifications, materials or certifications?

Once you have identified these specific, highly intentional keyword modifiers, it’s a good idea to start including them in your paid search keyword strategy. In fact, if you compare your internal site searches with the search queries found in Step Two, you will see a lot of similarities.

Step Four – Form Data

When a customer fills out a request for a quote or another form on your site, the questions they ask can tell you a lot.

using lead data for keyword research

This form analytics data above was captured using LOOP Analytics

In the example above, the potential customer mentions a number of attributes including size, grade, quantity and the type of steel they are looking for. All of which are great modifiers for your paid search program that are now linked to intent. The user found the website after searching for “gr 80 steel” and then submitted an inquiry, demonstrating how high intent search queries drive qualified leads.

(Analyzing your incoming phone calls is helpful, too, which is part of why we recommend call tracking.)

High Intent Keywords Help Optimize Your Budget

While user behaviors will always be evolving, the fact remains that the best keywords are the ones your target customers are using. Learning to identify high intent keywords can decrease paid search costs while increasing the opportunity to drive quality leads.


Let us help your business!

Interested in learning more about how our Team can create a digital strategy fit to your business goals? Whether you are a service provider, a wholesale distributor, or a small business, we can craft a keyword strategy that fits your budget & helps your business grow!