Keyword research. I’m sure you’ve done it before. You probably know what it’s like to use keyword research tools and come up with lists of keywords to track and rank for. But search engines today aren’t looking only for keywords! Search engines are looking at hundreds of different factors. And keywords? They are only a small part of the big picture. Keyword research isn’t the only aspect you need to be researching when optimizing a website or planning your content marketing. There is a deeper level— a level where users are searching for and search engines are indexing for.

  • User intent

One of the biggest mistakes online entrepreneurs make is that they focus too much on the specific keywords in their research without focusing enough on user intent behind those keywords. User intent refers to the user’s ultimate goal in typing a search query.

  • Keywords: A targeted phrase you’re trying to rank for. You do keyword research. You use this phrase in your content, making sure it appears in all the right places.
  • Query: The phrase or words that a user types into Google. This could be a short phrase, a question, or just a string of words the user is typing.

As SEO experts, we tend to focus on keywords, right? That’s what we want to rank for, obviously. But users don’t care about our keywords. They just want to get the best result for their query. Every query has an intent. Every time someone types something into Google, they are trying to accomplish something. They have a goal. For example, when you Google “Chinese food,” your user intent is to order some Chinese food. And guess what? Google knows this. And, voila, this is exactly what comes up!  understand the keyword research

However, if you change the wording ever so slightly, typing “great Chinese food” instead of “Chinese food,” what appears is quite different. By simply changing one word, you shifted the intent of the search from ordering Chinese food to finding great Chinese meals and restaurants in a given area.

See the difference? Sure, the difference involves a change in wording. But the deeper change was one of intent. Google gets it. The whole search engine is designed to deliver really good results based on the user’s intent.

  • Search query type

Another important element of diving deeper into keyword research is understanding search queries and search query type. As I explained above, a query is what a user types into Google. A keyword is what you’re trying to rank for. The keyword is a relatively straightforward term. The query, however, is more specific because the user wants to accomplish something (user intent—as discussed above). But there’s another remarkable thing about those queries. Whenever you are doing keyword research, try to understand what kind of queries lend themselves to people hitting the “buy now” button. It’s really important because if you could figure out the types of queries that lead people to purchase immediately, you would be able to get more sales.

  • Demographic research

The third and final part of keyword research is demographic keyword research. Demographic research is a powerful marketing tool. You can use the information you gain in your demographic research to target specific types of people. Thankfully, there are several excellent tools you can use for keyword demographic research, including Microsoft’s AdCenter Labs, Keyword Discovery, and, of course, the AdWords’ Keyword Planner. Some of these tools, such as Keyword Discovery, are particularly structured to enable demographic keyword research. The more you can segment and analyze your data, the better you will become at identifying demographic keyword trends. We would all like to think that our product is good for everybody. However, if you can identify your ideal client and demographic and really capitalize on this, making sure every keyword you rank for is something that demographic is searching for, you’ll have a higher conversion rate than if you went too broad with your keywords. Specific, long-tail queries will draw in the specific and eager customers you want to attract.

  • Conclusion

Here is what you need to know: Keyword research still matters. It is an integral part of any successful online business. But basic keyword research on its own will not get your as far as you need to go with your online marketing! Your standard practice of typing a few phrases into Google Keyword Planner and exporting the list into your tracking software isn’t how it’s done anymore. You have to be willing to dive deeper into your research to uncover the who, what, and why of each of your keywords. If you can go beyond the basics, you will improve your marketing success.