Using Keywords to Define User Intent Online

Keywords are the basic foundation of any SEO strategy, and they are typically used as topical concepts to cover throughout your content. All too often, they’re simply used as guideposts that can help you outline your content’s topics of discussion.

To use keywords in such a way, is to waste their true potential. Instead, content creators and SEO professionals should be looking at the intent behind the keyword. What was the searcher’s purpose when they entered that phrase or topic into Google? Join us as we discuss finding intent and applying it to your strategies.

Understanding User Intent

Every single person that uses a search engine has some kind of intent behind their inquiry. They don’t just type in something because they feel like it. They have a reason behind their search. Google seeks to understand this intent and provide results in the SERPs that meet the needs of that search.

MOZ founder Rand Fishkin once described the main categories of search intent as such:

  • Navigational – The searcher is looking for a specific website, but they don’t know the URL, or they’d rather do it this way.
  • Informational – These are searches that result when people are looking for information or answers about a specific topic. A search like top 10 hosts, for example, would be informational in nature.
  • Transactional – This is when someone is ready to purchase a product, find a local company, sign up for a subscription, etc. They have a specific product or type of product in mind, and they’re ready to buy.

Knowing this, you can use your analytics, your keyword research, and various queries around your brand or industry to better understand which type of intent your keywords have behind them.

Applying User Intent to your Keyword Strategy

Doing your own research into specific keywords or intent begins with understanding the meaning behind the concepts your customers are searching for. You should also target long-tail keyword variations, which reveal intent far more than a single word or concept.

For example, if I were to search for “roaches,” then most of the searches will incorporate something about extermination. From this, you could infer than people searching for “roaches” are most likely looking for a solution on how to get rid of them.

It’s also worth noting that searchers tend to go through these categories, one-by-one, when they are on the journey towards making a purchase. Knowing their intent can also give you an idea of where they stand in your sales funnel.

You can use this as an opportunity to modify your calls to action (CTAs),, and cater your pitch to the intent of the users on that page. This also extends to the language you use on your pages. Remember, you’ll get further by honing in on intent than you will by trying to just broadly target keywords.

Understanding your user’s search intent will give you power over your content in a way that simple metrics like search volume never could for your keywords. It will also apply to other aspects of your business, like social media. Remember to look for detailed and long phrases (long-tail keywords) as these will offer more insight into where the customer stands in their buyer journey.

Final Thoughts

User intent is the true power of keywords in today’s SEO world. You should look beyond things like search volume and instead seek to understand the meaning behind what your users are searching. This will give you the knowledge you need to create targeted content that fits their needs.

This article was originally written by Amy Winer for the Heyo Blog


9 Tips for Promoting Your Contest or Sweepstakes

Building an awesome promotion is half the strategy when it comes to launching a successful campaign. The other half depends on how well the contest or sweepstakes is promoted because the only way people will engage with your campaign is if they KNOW about it first! To help you out as you plan your next campaign, here are 9 tips for promoting your contest or sweepstakes.


Tip 1: If you’re running a Facebook promotion, make sure it’s prominently exposed on your timeline.

In order to draw attention to your Facebook promotion, you need to make sure your application is visible on your Facebook Timeline. For example, make sure it’s one of your top four application tabs, alongside “Posts” “Photos” “Videos” etc…

Tip 2: And, make sure it’s called out in your Cover Photo.

Customize your Cover Photo with a strong visual and headline, but make sure you leave out a call-to-action, since that violates Facebook’s policies. Essentially, you want to use this real estate to draw attention to your campaign, but not as a way to participate.

Tip 3: Post about it frequently.

Announce (and repeatedly talk about) the campaign on all of your usual social media channels. Your audience is already hanging out there, so grab their attention by announcing the promotion and keeping them informed.

Tip 4: Use your other standard communication channels to communicate information about the promotion.

In addition to posting about your campaign on social media, be sure to also rely on your other communication channels to convey this information as well. An example might be to send an email newsletter out about it, or leverage some real estate on your website’s home page to spread the word.

Tip 5: Leverage in-store signage.

If you have a physical brick-and-mortar location, in-store signage or announcements are a great way to get the word out about your promotion.

Tip 6: Use catalogs or packing slips.

For retailers, consider promoting your campaign in your catalog or with a simple message on all packing slips.

Tip 7: Leverage your influencer network.

Ask your network of influencers to talk about and promote your campaign on their communication channels. Offer to point to their content from your blog (if relevant) as a thank-you for their help.

Tip 8: Draft a press release.

A press release is a great way to reach a large audience and obtain coverage for your promotion.

Tip 9: Advertise.

Search advertising, display ads and Facebook ads are all great way to spread the word about your promotion.