When you’re thinking about which keywords you’d like to target on your business’s site, or pouring through Google Analytics reports to see out which terms have been bringing traffic, it’s important to consider the user intent that a particular keyword implies. A little common sense can go a long way when deciding if a particular keyword is valuable.

Numbers don’t lie, specifically conversions or sales, and a keyword that is driving conversions and/or sales is valuable no matter what. But, sometimes keywords can drive tons of visits that don’t lead to conversions. If you have search intent in mind, and use a little common sense, you can determine which keywords imply that someone is coming to your site to buy something and make those your main focus. Three Types of Searches Before you start analyzing the search intent of your visitors, it can be helpful to have a framework for thinking about searches. Searches are generally thought of as being in one of three categories: informational, navigational, and transactional.

  • Informational searches – These searches are made by users looking for information, rather than seeking to buy a specific product or service. For example: ‘How do DSLR cameras work?’
  • Navigational searches – These searches are made by users who are looking for a particular website, but use a search engine to get there. For example: ‘camerainformationsite.com.’
  • Transactional searches – These are searches made by people looking to buy! For example: ‘Buy Canon Rebel T2i online.'

Incidentally, a study done in 2008 (reported on here) found that 80% of all searches are informational, 10% are navigational, and 10% are transactional. If the main objective of your site is to sell something, you will want to be focused on the 10% of people that are performing transactional searches.

Focus on Transactional Searches Now that you’re thinking of searches in terms of user intent, it becomes fairly obvious which types of keywords indicate that a searcher is looking to buy. Let’s say you own a company that provides phone service to small businesses. A phrase like ‘how to install a phone system’ may bring in lots of visits, especially if you have informational content about the topic on your site to your informational pages. But, those visits are much less likely to buy your service than a visitor who lands on your page after searching for a phrase like ‘phone service for small businesses.’ I’m not saying that visits from informational searches are worthless. It’s completely possible that a person who lands on your site to find information on how to install a phone system may realize that suddenly they are interested in having you install their phone system, rather than learning to do it themselves. And, having good informational content on your site is a necessity. It can help build brand awareness, attract links, and lots of other great things. But, since you’re going to be spending a lot of time (and money) on ranking for the keywords that you decide are valuable, it makes sense to concentrate on keywords will have the best chances of converting. Negative Keywords-blog-CTA